You Can Be Both Pro-Black And Pro-Police

You Can Be Both Pro-Black And Pro-Police

The two are not mutually exclusive.
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In the wake of the tragic recent events that have taken place in the United States, I have seen extreme uproar on social media in regards to both the Black Lives Matter and the Blue Lives Matter movements. For those who do not know, Black Lives Matter is in reference to the lives of African American individuals or those who identify themselves to be culturally in line with them. Blue Lives Matter is in reference to the lives of policemen and policewomen in the United States.

I have always seen posts about Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, but the increase in social media presence occurred this week after two black men and five police officers were killed over a series of deadly events. On Thursday, July 7, 2016, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by an officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While the exact details of what went on remain largely unknown, a graphic video of the shooting surfaced on the Internet just after it occurred. For reasons self-explanatory, this sparked uproar within the black community and Black Lives Matter movement. The next day, a man named Philando Castile was shot to death by a police officer in Minnesota. After being pulled over, Castile was shot while sitting in the driver’s seat of his car in front of his girlfriend and her daughter. His girlfriend videotaped the aftermath of the shooting, which made its way to the Internet as well. After these tragic incidents, many peaceful protests began to occur around the United States. At a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas, an African American man shot and killed five police officers. The uproar from both of the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protests continued.

These incidents are devastating and the loss of innocent lives due to corrupt and misguided intentions is tragic. People have lost their lives, children have lost fathers, wives have lost husbands, mothers have lost sons, friends have lost friends. These are sad facts that cannot be easily forgotten or simply moved past. However, the thing that really stuck out to me during these tragic few days was the clear divide in peoples minds that you could only support one side or the other. That you could only support Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter. That you could only be pro-black or pro-police, either-or. No in-between.

Personally, I believe this to be completely wrong. I do not see why it is wholly impossible to some people that others can respect and value the lives of African Americans and respect and value the lives of policemen and policewomen. I am unsure as to why mourning the lives lost for one demographic means that you celebrate the lives lost for the other. I understand that there are some corrupt cops. I also know that there are corrupt people all over the country, of various races, social status and occupation. I do not condone the actions of any. I understand there is uproar in the Black Lives Matter movement because of the many lives lost at the hands of police, for whatever reason. I understand the uproar in the Blue Lives Matter community. They fight to protect American citizens and put their lives on the line every single day.

Both sides fight for justice on very valid terms. However, I do not believe the actions of few should encompass the characteristics of many. The issue I am discussing is not that of the reasoning behind why Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed. It is not that of the motivation behind the murder of the five Dallas police officers. It is that many American citizens wholeheartedly believe that you need to pick a side in this battle or else your feelings are invalid and your support is unnecessary. The strong voices heard from either movement are usually those of the most passionately driven for one side or the other. But, what about the people who sympathize for the lives lost on both sides? How can some be expected to choose a side when it is part of human nature to feel compassionate towards an individual who has died, or to a family and/or community who have lost loved ones? How does a person who may not have been directly impacted by the events of the last week choose who deserves their support more? What about people who have friends and family where some happen to be African American and some happen to be policemen/policewomen for a living? How can they be told that they cannot support and value the lives of both?

Corruption aside, it is disheartening to think that there are people that believe a person cannot support and value the lives of both African Americans and men and women in uniform. It is human nature to believe that a life has value, not matter the color of your skin nor the job you do everyday. I do understand the circumstances behind a person being fully supportive of one side or the other. However, I do not believe it to be true that you cannot choose to support both. You can support police while also believing that there is corruption that needs to be addressed and stopped. You can support the African American community without condoning the retaliatory murder of the five Dallas cops. You can support Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives matter because you believe that lives matter. You can support one, or the other, or both. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Written with the utmost respect for the lives lost on both sides and as a supporter of both the #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter movements.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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