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Video screen grab of Cecil The Lion

Move over, people of color. According to CBS, ABC, and NBC — the entire mainstream media cosmos — lion’s lives are the one’s that really matter, as the whole world is terribly distraught, outraged, appalled, and emotionally overwhelmed, over the senseless, unwarranted murder of big cat Cecil The Lion, of Zimbabwe, Africa.

Outpourings over this dastardly deed, from millions upon millions of concerned humans all over the globe, have seeped onto every branch of social media.

Walter Palmer, the Minnesotan dentist and big game hunter who pulled the trigger, was visited with a hatred and fury the likes of which George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, Michael Slager, Timothy Loehmann, Frank Garmback, Sean Williams, Daniel Pantaleo, Eric Casebolt, and other predators hunting that peculiar game otherwise called people of color, could never conjure.

People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have called for Palmer’s “execution.” Ouch!

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, during what is usually a joke-laced opening monologue, on NBC’s The Jimmy Kimmel Show, choked up and shed big fat tears for Cecil.

“Stop saying you took the animal. You take aspirin. You killed the lion. You didn’t take it,” Kimmel said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “I’m honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that.”

We hear you, Jimmy!

Cecil’s life, and lives of lions overall, matter, too. Like all the horsed voices behind the 237,000 plus tweets containing the hashtag honorarium #CecilTheLion, our feels were touched.

So much so, that Wear Your Voice has compiled this small, rather modest list of 10 reasons why the world is so deeply affected by Cecil and the culture of lions, that it would universally effuse, under the banner of #LionsLivesMatter.

*clearing throat* M’kay. Here we go:

1: Lions don’t “mouth off”, “talk back”, or disrespect hunters or professional hunting agencies. They stay in their place, bite their tongues, and do as they’re told.

2: Lions comply fully with the politics of respectability as it applies to big cats. Notice how neatly combed and trimmed Cecil kept his mane, and how his paws were crisply sharpened.

3: Lions are “perfect victims.” Research shows that Cecil had a spotless legal record.

4: Lions are responsible fathers to their cubs and do not abandon lionesses.

5: No matter what level of mistreatment, lions have responded to the history of anti-lionism and big game hunting with dignity and calls for peace and nonviolence.

6: Lions do not belong to a “culture of pathology.”

7: Lions victim-blame, i.e. they hold themselves, not humans, accountable for conditions and problems facing big cats.

8: Lions center “human tears” and “human fragility” in all their spaces, resistance strategies, and analyses of delionization at the hands of humans.

9: Forgiving big game hunters is central to the spiritual worldview of Lions. No amount of danger of extinction or social survival will provoke any Lion to retaliate with armed resistance.

And, finally …

10. Lions don’t play the “cat card” or make excuses for the failures of other lions. 

From our end, this list suggest that communities of color stand no damn chance in hell of EVER evoking the kind of massive response heaped on Cecil and lion culture.

C’est la vie. Maybe we’d be better off growing manes and painting our bodies orange.

*shrugs shoulders*

What do you think, readers? Is there anything else you would add to our list?

Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

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