Racism has been a part of society since the beginning of time. People are not born with racist ideas or attitudes. Racism is something, an individual learns over time. Racism does not usually cause any harm to the person being racist. It is usually the receiver who ends up being hurt the most. It affects the community and our society just as equally as it hurts the individual (Connie). To face racism and police brutality the black community, started a movement known as the Black Lives Matter movement back in 2013. This movement started off as a hashtag movement back in 2013 when Alicia Garza responded on her Facebook page to the clearing of George Zimmerman, the man who gunned down Trayvon Martin (Carter).
Since then it has gained a lot of following through social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you were to log onto any of these platforms today and just type in #blacklivesmatter numerous results show up. This just shows how many people have partaken in this movement and how huge it has become over the past couple of years. With the help of social media, this movement has been able to get its word across to numerous individuals all around the globe. Even though this movement is empowering in many ways, there are individuals who tend to find the negative aspect of it. Some tend to believe that people who support this movement, do not mind other races getting affected. One of the major argument about this movement is that it only cares about black life when white people are the ones responsible for taking it, and ignoring it when African American people are responsible for certain events of violence in black communities (Smith).
I do not agree with this because, the Black Lives Matter movement, is centered around all events affecting the black community, no matter what the race of the individual who conducted the crime is. Even though race plays a significant part in this movement, so does police brutality. As Stephen states in the Get up, Stand up: Social Media Helps Black Lives Matter Fight the Power, The movement wins when there’s a broad understanding that we need a system that doesn’t kill people, when a critical mass of citizens can envision what that looks like, and when concrete steps are taken to make it happen. Stephen makes a good point about how developing a system that doesn’t kill people right at the spot of witnessing a crime being committed, but instead giving the individual an opportunity to state their side of the story, can be beneficial to our country as a whole. We would not lose any more innocent individuals to such brutality. Police brutality is usually known as using unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians. There are many different forms of police brutality. The most common form of police brutality is a physical form. Police officers can use guns, tasers, pepper spray, and batons, in order to physically terrorize or even intentionally hurt civilians (Danilina).
Infact, as Danilina mentioned, The history of police brutality dates all the way back to the Industrial Revolution in the 1870s when law enforcement would physically abuse and harm the workers that went on a strike (Danilina). Police brutality in the black community was the reason why the Black Lives Matter movement began in the first place. It began with the incident of Trayvon Martin was shot by his neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Martin was carrying iced tea and candy as he walked from a convenience store back to his father’s fiancee house when Zimmerman noticed him and believed him to be a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Zimmerman’s claim was that Martin hit him, and he took out his gun and shot it in self-defense. Later in 2013, Zimmerman was acquitted of a second-degree murder (Simon).
A similar incident occurred in July of 2014 in Staten Island, New York when Eric Garner was put into a chokehold by a police officer and ended up dying as he could not breathe because he suffered from asthma. Garner was a father of six, who the police tried to arrest, in front of a store for allegedly selling cigarettes. The jury, later on, declined to indict the police officer who put Garner in a chokehold, causing protests and die-ins (Simon). This is seen as a sign of police brutality because the New York Police Department prohibits the use of chokeholds to be used, and still, the police officer insisted on utilizing it. Even though, it was his fault and absolutely against the law, the court and the jury declined to indict him. I believe that this incident can be seen as both racism and police brutality, because as stated in the article Garner raised both of his hands in the air and asked the officers not to shoot him, (Simon) showing that he was willing to cooperate. But instead of letting Garner talk and say his side of the story the police officers put him in a chokehold. If this incident occurred where a white man was selling cigarettes, the police officers would have happily cooperated with him and let him tell his side of the story.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been one of the most controversial topics in recent years. Many African Americans experience verbal and physical abuse. The slogan All Lives Matter is explained to have equality across all races and religions, though this is not the case. In November 2015, President Donald Trump said the Blacks were responsible for more than 97% of murders of Blacks and 82% of murders of Whites. Both statistics are wrong, the latter monstrously so: African-Americans accounted for about 15% of murders of Whites, according to FBI data (Smith). Many White people are content to see when they are blaming the Blacks for deaths and calling to the end of the issue. During President Trump’s campaign, if he was elected he would make stricter laws and even enforce death penalty if a police officer is killed. Even though a president does not have the authority to do such, his primary goal was to attune backlash towards the Blacks.
This account changed the direction of the movement and obscures the critique of violence, inequality, and failings at all levels of the criminal justice system (Smith). In 2014 and 2016 there were three ambush murders in New York, Baton Rouge, and Dallas (Smith). These accidents were committed by a gunman that wanted to seek revenge against police force for the violence resisting to the Black communities (Smith). Nevertheless, the Black Lives Matter movement backlash has gone out of reach, and one of the examples is the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. He said Black Lives Matter never protests when every 14 hours someone is killed in Chicago, probably 70-80% of the time by a Black person. Where are they then? Where are they when a young Black child is killed?. This argument is a popular one because the blacks are being blamed when the White were responsible for taking their lives (Smith). Like the slogan All Lives Matter, it is a way of changing the subject (Smith).
For the Black Lives Matter Movement to make it to the point where there is a change in society there needs to be civil disobedience, legal challenges, and new laws. These things all contribute to change occurring in a society (Siscoe). The different chapters across the United States are staging protests that cause an interruption in people’s lives and bring attention to the movement in order to get more awareness in the society for the controversial problem (Siscoe). All this movement has to do is cause enough ruckus so it reaches the screens of thousands of individuals in various parts of the world. Once it does this, and individuals realize what has been happening is wrong they will come together and fight as a community to get new laws or even change the laws that preexist. As Siscoe mentions one of the analyses of the Black Lives Matter Movement is that it is troublesome and the protests cause a little discomfort in people’s lives. Though this is not the goal of the movement, in order to get more attention to the public, the problem needs to be heard by creating tension in the society.
The main goal of the Black Lives Matter Movement is to fight the colorblind racism and change mindset and system of the American citizens. The freedom that allows the Black communities to allow large social movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement to grow and bring change to the face of the society, and change the view for the better. As Siscoe mentions this movement works at many different levels, it understands how the general population’s beliefs about crime and racism work against any sort of reform to lower the racial disparities that are widespread throughout every level of the criminal justice system. Now the hashtag #blacklivesmatter has brought more attention to the communities and especially the government of America. In recent years, you can see how many people have understood the movement and have partaken in it.
Many people around the globe are now seeing the negative effects of the brutality that the Blacks are unfortunately going through. The Black Lives Matter Movement is a social movement seeing the different races and ethinicites and bringing awareness that everyone matters. This movement is a theory in a world where Black lives are intentionally targeted to make it seem as they’re the only ones responsible for any incident caused. And for this reason, I believe that Black Lives Matter movement is important and should be noticed worldwide.
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