Black Lives Matter
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Politics and Activism

Black Lives Matter

An understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black Lives Matter

In 2012, Black Lives Matter was created after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Since its creation, it has gained an enormous amount of support within the black community, amongst other POC, and some white supporters. However, it has also been met with some outrage and anger. Many of those fired back with the sentiment that All Lives Matter. To this, the BLM Movement says that “The statement “black lives matter” is not an anti-white proposition. Contained within the statement is an unspoken but implied “too,” as in “black lives matter, too,” which suggests that the statement is one of inclusion rather than exclusion. However, those white people who continue to mischaracterize the affirmation of the value of black life as being anti-white are suggesting that in order for white lives to matter, black lives cannot. That is a foundational premise of white supremacy. It is antithetical to what the Black Lives Matter movement stands for, which is the simple proposition that “black lives also matter.””

So why exactly do we need this movement? According to data reported by police departments as mandated by the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, unarmed blacks are killed by police five times more than unarmed whites are. Furthermore, “only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade's death received jail time. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends. Deputy Bates, who killed Eric Harris, will be sentenced May 31.” It is this unaccountability that is why the Black Lives Matter Movement started.

After the shooting in Dallas where a sniper gunned down five police, there was an uproar of people who blamed the BLM Movement for appearing to be “anti-cop”. However, as Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, so eloquently stated, “But with police shootings, it shouldn't have to work that way. For instance, if you're pro-Black Lives Matter, you're assumed to be anti-police, and if you're pro-police, then you surely hate black people. When in reality, you can be pro-cop and pro-black, which is what we should all be.”

Cops do need to be held at a higher accountability level, however. In the Alton Sterling shooting, both officers were wearing body cameras when they shot and killed Sterling. These recordings could have aided in the investigation of the shooting, however, the Baton Rouge Police Chief reported that both of the officer's cameras fell off during the shooting and did not capture the shooting. These body cameras were supposed to allow a non-biased third party to determine whether the shootings were justified or not. However, both officers who were wearing them in the Sterling shooting coincidentally did not record anything that occurred. Incidences like this have been reported before.

It is this unaccountability that stirs much of the anti-cop sentiment. Police are supposed to protect their own citizens, yet some are unjustifiably killing their own citizens. Holding them to a higher accountability level would undoubtedly help to stop these unjustified killings.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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