Black Lives Matter Movement
Black Lives Matter Movement
African Americans have suffered racial discrimination and brutality for centuries due to white supremacy. Systemic racism has persisted despite the activists’ efforts to overcome the problem in the USA. The U.S. police officers arrest and show brutality against African Americans more than people from other races because society has stereotyped black people as criminals. Recently, the USA police officers have been involved in the brutal killing of African Americans despite them being unarmed. The persistent African Americans’ brutal killings sparked activists to form Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to fight for the rights of the black people.
After decades of fighting discrimination against black people through policies, laws, and the civil rights movements, black lives still don’t matter. White supremacists continue to dominate the United States, denying equal rights and representation of blacks despite their massive achievement and respectability in various fields including dressing, acting, and even serving in the military (Francis, 2019). Since black people were taken to America as slaves, they have always been considered as inferior people, whose religion, culture, opinions do not matter. As a result, black people have continued to be treated as second-class citizens, and are not accorded similar rights and privileges as whites despite being Americans by birth, and contributing to great lengths to the economy of the country. The United States is a country that stands for equality for all and this is rooted both in the Constitution and the American Dream which is a set of ideals that guarantees anyone, regardless of where they were born or class they were born into, can achieve their own version of success in a society in which upward mobility is possible through hard work (Griffen, 2019). However, the achievement of the American Dream has been difficult to achieve, especially in minority races in America, as they are not accorded the same opportunity as Whites to attain success. There are many barriers that have continued to hinder blacks to achieve success, but all these are rooted in racism and white privilege.
One of the barriers to blacks’ success is that black lives are physically in danger, and this has been a trend since the founding of the United States (Crusto, 2020). Africans were sourced from Africa to serve as slaves. During then, slave masters were accorded the right of ownership to slaves and could do with their slaves whatever they wished including rape and murder without consequences. Currently, black people have not found a safe haven as they continue to be threatened by the police brutality that has left thousands of black people dead. Based on this, blacks are treated as second-class citizens as their citizenship has been regularly questioned and belittled. There have been several instances where top politicians have been reported to talk about the deportation of Blacks to Africa, an indication of how black people are perceived in the United States. President Donald Trump has not only mentioned about deportation but also commented on how black people have destroyed the country as they are lazy and constantly rely on the government for help (Bobo, 2017). As a result of this belittling, Black people are not accorded equal protection under the law, which has led to mistreatments, mass incarceration, high numbers of death punishment, discriminatory housing policies, and few job opportunities compared to whites. Achieving justice as a black person is rare in the United States, and this explains why there has never been justice for Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls despite being renowned hip-hop artists and public figures in the United States.
Black people have been subjected to epistemic violence, in which Whites were involved in the purposeful destruction of African history (Larson-Schulze, 2019). Based on this, there is less about Black history in the United States, and it is thought as if Blacks made little or no contributions to the United States and/or world history. Due to racism and the state of Blacks as slaves, whites have been accredited with most of the success that Black people worked hard to attain. For example, Blacks made various great innovations but were denied rights to a patent. For example, Ned, a Black innovator invented an effective, innovative cotton scraper. Since he was a slave, he had no right to apply for a patent. His master, Oscar Stewart tried to apply for a patent but was rejected as he was not the actual inventor (Wills, 2019). Despite the rejection, Stewart sold the cotton scrappers, gaining financial benefit while Ned gained nothing. Also, Henry Boyd invented a corded bed created with wooden rails connected to the headboard and footboard, and since he could not apply for a patent, he partnered with a white craftsman and had him apply for a patent. Also, Katherine Goble Johnson, a great black mathematician who worked in NASA had her great mathematical inventions being credited to his boss Paul Stafford, just because she was a black woman (Hanson, 2020).
Black Lives Matter
Establishment and Mission
Black Lives Matter protests against black people’s racial discrimination and violence. BLM is a decentralized social and political movement that condemns racially propagated violence and police brutality incidents against black people (Tikkanen, 2021). The movement started in 2013 and has grown to fight for black people’s rights internationally, but it mainly operates from the USA (Tikkanen, 2021). The BLM movement raises concerns about various ways that society treats black people unfairly. The movement adds that policies, laws, and institutions have helped to perpetuate injustices against black people (Tikkanen, 2021). Moreover, the movement has fought racism against black people through non-violent protests, political actions, and letter-writing campaigns. Similarly, BLM has tried to stop violence against Africa Americans by advocating for better police training and greater responsibility for the police officers’ misconduct. BLM supporters have proposed to the federal government to reduce the police funding and redirect such funds to community social services’ development (Tikkanen, 2021). Therefore, the BLM movement focuses on reducing discrimination against black people by condemning police brutality and racism.
The BLM’s support is along ethnic or racial lines and political affiliation. For instance, the African Americans and other minority ethnic groups in the USA had great support for the movement while the white race demonstrated the least support. However, most Democrats supported BLM while the Republicans showed low support for the movement. Further, BLM critics argued that BLM promoted violence against police and supported law enforcement against crime suspects. The movement’s critics do not believe in systemic racism’s existence and argue that all people have equal opportunities in the USA (Campbell, 2021). Therefore, black people and the Democrats support BLM while the Republicans and white people in the USA mostly oppose it.
BLM has achieved in mobilizing society about the injustices against the black people. For instance, cities across the USA are reducing funds that they provide to police departments and reallocate them to other areas. The Los Angeles budget committees reduced its police department budget by US$ 133 million and reallocated the funds to municipal jobs to overcome COVID-19 related furloughs (Menjivar, 2020). Additionally, police departments in cities like Charlotte, Dallas, Buffalo, and Detroit have enacted and strengthened ‘duty-to-intervene’ policies that allow police officers to prevent their colleagues from using excessive power (Menjivar, 2020). Moreover, states like Virginia and Kentucky have removed several monuments that commemorate colonizers, enslavers, and confederate leaders since the BLM protests started (Clingham-David, 2020). To this end, BLM has made states remove monuments that reminded people about past African Americans’ discriminations and fund reduction in some police departments.
Past Impact and Relevance of Black Lives Matter
BLM started to fight for the African Americans’ rights that American society had overlooked. The movement was vital in addressing the past police brutalities that occurred in the USA. Before the movement started, the police force exercised excessive brutality against African Americans. The incidents were lower among other races depicting discrimination against the black people. The movement formed in 2013 after a United States court acquitted George Zimmerman, a White person from charges after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager in 2012 (Clingham-David, 2020). BLM claimed that the US justice system overlooked African Americans and criminalized race. Moreover, BLM voiced its concerns in 2014 after police officers killed two unarmed African Americans, Michael Brown and Eric Garner (Clingham-David, 2020). BLM led protests against the killings that brought attention to the national and international scenes. Indeed, BLM became relevant following the police brutality against unarmed black Americans.
BLM was important in changing the societal view of African Americans as criminals. The movement demonstrated how the U.S. policies, laws, and institutions violated black people’s rights. Moreover, BLM has grown internationally to reduce the white supremacy that undermined other races, particularly the African people (Clingham-David, 2020). The movement is a continuation of the 1960s civil rights movements that fought for the rights of African Americans (Clingham-David, 2020). Additionally, BLM helped people to change their perception of black people and embrace them. Similarly, the movement helped the U.S. authorities to be more vigilant on the police brutality and held accountable officers involved in excessive brutality against African Americans. For example, the U.S. authorities arrested and charged officials involved in George Floyd’s killing in 2020 following mass protests that the BLM movement organized (Menjivar, 2020). Therefore, BLM has fought for African American rights and has promoted awareness of the police brutality against black people.
Modern-day Implications of Black Lives Matter
The Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement supports BLM for its mission to fight for the rights of African Americans. The institute laments the lives of the black people that the police brutally killed. The Diopian institute believes that terrorizing and killing unarmed African Americans demonstrates white supremacy in America over the centuries. The institution strongly supports BLM in its mission to fight systemic racism that undermines black people’s rights. The learning institution supports BLM to stay determined to over cultural aggression by showing the truth that can promote social progress in the USA (DISA, 2021). To this end, the Diopian Institute supports BLM’s actions to fight for the rights of the African Americans who have unjustly suffered due to racial discrimination.
Mitt Romney, Utah’s Senator demonstrated his support for BLM to end racism in the United States. Romney tweeted that Americans should end racism by stopping brutal killings. The Senator joined BLM protests to the Whitehouse after police officers brutally killed George Floyd by choking him in 2020 (Smith et al., 2020). Romney stated that Americans should support the BLM’s mission to fight racism in the USA. The senator argued that black people were equally important as Americans from other races. Romney urged the U.S. government to look at the root of the problems that contributed to the African Americans’ discrimination to completely overcome the problem (Smith et al., 2020). To this end, Mitt Romney supported BLM’s fight against systemic racism and violence against African Americans.
However, former U.S. President Donald Trump criticized BLM because he believed that it supported violence. Trump ordered local officials in different states to crack down on BLM protestors. The former president called BLM protestors terrorists and thugs despite knowing their true intentions to stop racism in the USA (Beer, 2021). Besides, Trump argued that BLM promoted toxic political propaganda to destroy the United States’ sense of self. The former president defended his position to protect the country’s immortal principles against activists (Niedzwiadek, 2020). Indeed, Trump opposed BLM and argued that it spread toxic propaganda to the Americans.
Personal Experiences with BLM
I support BLM’s actions to overcome systemic racism and police brutality against black people. I felt that police officers were targeting African Americans and criminalizing them after George Floyd’s unjust killing. After seeing how police officers brutally killed Floyd, I felt that the administration was promoting white supremacy. I decided to join BLM protests in my hometown to support the fight against African American rights. I wore red and black to show my solidarity with black people struggling to fight against police brutality. I shared my protest experience with my family and friends to encourage them to support the BLM’s mission. I believed that mass protests promoted awareness about the African Americans’ plight to fight for their rights. BLM activists who led mass protests encouraged us to take a knee to show our opposition to police brutality in the United States. Indeed, I showed my support for BLM by joining the movement’s organized protests against police brutality towards black people.
There is little known about Black history, and this has been greatly due to racism. Whites have tried to discredit Black innovations by taking credit or using them for monetary gains in cases that patents have been denied. As a Mexican, I have learned little about Blacks’ contributions in the United States, with the available information depicting Blacks as intellectual dwarfs, who needed to be colonized to civilize their culture and believes. Also, Blacks are perceived to be criminals and that is why they are subjected to mass incarcerations. It is because of this that Blacks have continued to be treated as second-class citizens, with no significant contribution to the country despite having lots of massive innovations and contributions. BLM has been fighting for the rights of African Americans since it started. Since 2013, the movement has raised awareness of police brutality towards black people in the USA. African Americans, Democrats, and other minority groups in the USA supported BLM while most white people and Republicans opposed it. BLM exposed brutal African American killings, but the U.S. administration overlooked the issue. Moreover, the movement triggered actions to end police brutality and discrimination against African Americans. The Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement and Mitt Romney showed their BLM support while Donald Trump criticized the movement. I participated in protests following Floyd’s killing to show solidarity to BLM. Indeed, BLM has played a crucial role in fighting against police brutality and systemic racism against African Americans.
Beer, T. (2020). Trump called BLM Protesters ‘thugs’ but Capitol-storming supporters ‘very special’. Forbes. HYPERLINK “https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2021/01/06/trump-called-blm-protesters-thugs-but-capitol-storming-supporters-very-special/?sh=3029c08a3465” https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2021/01/06/trump-called-blm-protesters-thugs-but-capitol-storming-supporters-very-special/?sh=3029c08a3465
Bobo, L. D. (2017). Racism in Trump’s America: reflections on culture, sociology, and the 2016 US presidential election. The British journal of sociology, 68, S85-S104.
Campbell, A. (2021). What is Black Lives Matter and what are the aims? BBC. HYPERLINK “https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53337780” https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53337780
Clingham-David, J. (2020). 5 Key Achievements of Black Lives Matter Movement in 2020, So Far. One Green Planet. HYPERLINK “https://www.onegreenplanet.org/human-interest/5-key-achievements-of-black-lives-matter-movement-in-2020-so-far/” https://www.onegreenplanet.org/human-interest/5-key-achievements-of-black-lives-matter-movement-in-2020-so-far/
Crusto, M. F. (2020). Black Lives Matter: Banning Police Lynchings. Hastings Const. LQ, 48, 3.
Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement. (2021). DISA’s commitment to African people globally. DISA. HYPERLINK “https://diopianinstitute.org/index.php/component/acymailing/listid-3/mailid-95-disa-commitment-to-africans” https://diopianinstitute.org/index.php/component/acymailing/listid-3/mailid-95-disa-commitment-to-africans
Francis, M. M. (2019). The price of civil rights: Black lives, white funding, and movement capture. Law & Society Review, 53(1), 275-309.
Griffen, A. J. (2019). When Black Rights Do Not Matter: A Historical Analysis of Civil Litigation and’Equal Protections Under Law’. Journal of Pan African Studies, 12(9).
Hanson, J. (2020). The power of artistic activism. Pepperdine University.
Larson-Schulze, E. (2019). Hate Speech and Epistemic Violence: A Prioritization Problem for the Atrocity Paradigm (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at San Antonio).
Menjivar, J. (2020). Black Lives Matter protests: what’s been achieved so far. Dosomething. HYPERLINK “https://www.dosomething.org/us/articles/black-lives-matter-protests-whats-been-achieved-so-far” https://www.dosomething.org/us/articles/black-lives-matter-protests-whats-been-achieved-so-far
Niedzwiadek, N. (2020). Trump goes after Black Lives Matter, ‘toxic propaganda’ in schools. Politico. HYPERLINK “https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/17/trump-black-lives-matter-1619-project-417162” https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/17/trump-black-lives-matter-1619-project-417162
Smith, A., Talbot, H., & Vitali, A. (2020). Mitt Romney takes part in protest supporting Black Lives Matter near White House. NBC. HYPERLINK “https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/mitt-romney-takes-part-protest-supporting-black-lives-matter-near-n1227086” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/mitt-romney-takes-part-protest-supporting-black-lives-matter-near-n1227086
Tikkanen, A. (2021). Black Lives Matter. Britannica. HYPERLINK “https://www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Lives-Matter” https://www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Lives-Matter
Wills, K. (2019). Patenting an Invention as a Free Black Man in the Nineteenth Century. JPTOS, Patenting in the 19th Century, 101(2).