On July 13, 2013, #BlackLivesMatter was established in response to how the murder of Trayvon Martin was handled. Throughout the years, #BlackLivesMatter has grown in relevance and the number of supporters. It's been 5 months into the new year (I'll give you a moment to let that sink in) and the nation has been confronted with a plethora of deaths due to police brutality and racial discrimination. Deaths include, but are not limited to the following: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
The nation is divided more than ever. We should not tolerate injustice. As depressing as the news has been for the past few weeks, it is crucial for us to participate in this discussion.
Here are common comments I've heard regarding #BlackLivesMatter and what I think about it:
EVERYONE KNOWS RACISM IS BAD. Do you think racism is bad? If so, congratulations: you have common sense. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. If everyone "knew" racism is bad, then we wouldn't be where we are now. We all have various upbringings that aid us in the beliefs and values we own today. Having differences is inevitable. Mistreating people based on their differences, especially on the color of their skin is preventable.
WHAT ABOUT #ALLLIVESMATTER? Oh, here we go again... I'll say it once more: #BlackLivesMatter is not disregarding other groups of people. No doubt, various groups of people do face discrimination and injustice at some point in time. No one should ever endure this experience but it happens. #BlackLivesMatters is a specific campaign that campaigns against violence and racism against Black people.
WHAT DOES POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA DO? Many argue that sharing posts on social media is ineffective. I beg to differ. We underestimate the power of social media. Posting on social media can be as effective as protesting. Social media does help in these situations because that's how content is circulated. People sharing posts on social media is a form of consciousness-raising, which means spreading awareness about #BlackLivesMatter. It's bad enough that all groups of people don't have equal, let alone ACCURATE, representation in the media. In media, Black people are under-represented as victims of crimes. Instead, there are over-represented as a criminal. EVERYTHING PRESENTED IN THE MEDIA IS NOT TRUE.
WHAT IS THE FIRST AMENDMENT? The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and right to petition. People can exercise the First Amendment whether it's sharing posts, protesting, engaging in conversations, and so much more! It's YOUR right. One can express their views however they want. As long as one expresses their views respectfully, I do not care how it's done. Unconventional forms of expressions can distract the audience from the initial message behind those actions (i.e. protesting can be a powerful way to make a statement-- nonetheless, if protestors are hurting innocent people while protesting can lead some to think protests are an excuse to act out).
Everyone wants everything to be back to "normal." The amount of content presented to us can be overwhelming and affect mental health. Therefore, one should limit their media consumption. However, do not ignore it. Take the time to educate yourself and show your support.