“For people of color it’s already scary enough to see masses of drunk white people roaming around town, but to see them intoxicated and making fun of a movement whose goal is to save our very lives? Well, that’s damn near terrifying,” the Baltimore radio 92Q Jams website posted. The radio station’s Twitter account has 53,000 followers.
The station added, “FYI: St. Patrick’s Day is this Friday, March 17. Be careful folks.”
One Twitter user declared that “mortal threats to Black life have always entertained wyt ppl.”
— capital B project (@Bcapitalized) March 13, 2017
Mic’s Melissa Kravitz was much more politic in denouncing the t-shirt. “This parody delegitimizes the Black Lives Matter slogan by altering it to encourage a day of debauchery and binge drinking, and the shirt also implies the main point of St. Patrick’s Day is to get drunk,” Kravitz noted. Not everyone thinks St. Patrick’s Day is about drunkenness and debauchery.
The Mic author explained that “the Christian holiday, which honors St. Patrick on the 17th of March each year, also falls during Lent, though Lenten abstentions from meat and alcohol are traditionally lifted on the holiday, meaning the day has become an opportunity for overindulgence.”
St. Patrick’s Day has involved drinking and overindulgence for hundreds of years, and the emphasis on drunkenness has inspired many silly things. This t-shirt is meant to celebrate alcohol, not insult the Black Lives Matter movement. If anything, it is a tribute to that movement’s visibility. Thanks to Black Lives Matter, “—- Lives Matter” has become a popular meme.
Nevertheless, even Kravitz said that “a swarm of drunken St. Patrick’s Day celebrators wearing a shirt that essentially denounces the BLM movement is a scary thing to imagine encountering, but PubCrawls.com has made it a possibility.”
PubCrawls.com is far from the only site selling “Drunk Lives Matter” shirts. Amazon.com has them, Spencer’s has them, and people have already started posting photos on social media wearing them.
Is it impossible for Americans to take a joke anymore? This t-shirt is not an attack on the movement, it’s a joke to celebrate a holiday about drinking. Maybe people should avoid the shirt because it might cause offense, but the message isn’t racist — it isn’t even political at all.
Yes, St. Patrick’s Day may be dangerous — more people drive drunk, for instance. But does anyone legitimately think that white people will wear “Drunk Lives Matter” t-shirts and go after black people on St. Patrick’s Day?