We all know what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about, right? Probably not. It seems there are those that are too eager to declare what they're all about, rather than allowing the movement to describe itself.
Now, if you're following a movement, there is still personal responsibility on the individual to share and uphold the same principles as the movement itself, but some people still seem a bit confused by this. According to the actual Black Lives Matter site: "Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression."
While there are those that believe that the movement itself and it's principles are based in a false premise, the subject of this piece will be the association between Black Lives Matter and unaffiliated black criminals.
There are two narratives being spun right now: The peaceful protests of Black Lives Matter, and the attacks by Black Lives Matter. Naturally, it would only take a Google search to figure out which story should be attributed to the movement and which one shouldn't, and yet the idea that Black Lives Matter is a hate group of some sort is still being pushed. There was always push-back against the Black Lives Matter movement due to opinions not based in reality, but people seemed a bit more vocal after the shootings in both Dallas and Baton Rouge.
There's where the problem lies: Neither of the shooters were affiliated with Black Lives Matter, and yet the opinion on Black Lives Matter still turned negative, for whatever reason, following those two events. Why should the Black Lives Matter movement be vilified when it wasn't what caused or enacted the events? The shooters in these events weren't affiliated with the movement, and yet somehow that put them into the crosshairs. I figure it's due to the association in skin color, ignoring the fact that Black person ≠ Black Lives Matter member as well as the eagerness to vilify the movement itself.
It'd be understandable to call out the movement if there were people doing bad actions in its name. However, if those actions aren't in line with the guiding principles, then that individual's allegiance should be called into question. If the heads of the movement were to not disavow the bad actions, then you could justifiably criticize the movement, otherwise, the criticism to them is undue.
That said, I implore you to check out what the movement is about. If it's something that sounds nice to you, then we can consider you an ally. Followers of the movement would love nothing more than to have you as an ally.