This special issue on Black Lives Matter provides insights on the choices activists and organizations are making to defend Black lives in light of various, often unsupportive, political contexts. This concluding essay takes a step back to consider how anti-blackness conditions and shapes the ongoing movement for Black lives. Whites’ refusal to see Black people as fully and irrevocably human facilitates their constant aggression against Black people, including treating Black people as socially dead and beyond the bounds of social regulation. Consequently, scholars should conceptualize the movement for Black lives as a fundamentally defensive movement for recognition as persons rather than an insurgent attempt to integrate into white society. Starting analyses with realization of global antiblackness as a fundamental context allows social movement scholars to better conceptualize race, understand relationships between competing parties, recognize the scope and goals of Black movements, understand organizations’ strategic choices, and opens new areas for inquiry and analysis.

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