Why Black Lives Matter Is Not An Attack On Police Officers

Why Black Lives Matter Is Not An Attack On Police Officers

It's about starting the conversation on race relations with law enforcement in the United States.
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A recent Blue Lives Matter display by Republican students for National Police Week at Dartmouth College was removed and replaced with Black Lives Matter posters, sparking a lot of discussion about the two movements. In reference to the removal of the display, one of the Black Lives Matter activists, Mikala Williams, stated, "It was taken down by students and replaced because it actively co-opted a movement that is supposed to comment on police brutality against black individuals in this country. It took that and by framing that as 'Blue Lives Matter,' it normalizes and naturalizes violence against people of color in this country. And that is not okay. That is in no way okay."

The College Republicans wrote the following e-mail to Dartmouth's president and Board of Trustees in response to the incident;

"All we ask is that the protections and freedoms of self-expression afforded to other student organizations be extended to us. We do not see the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements as mutually exclusive... It is possible to recognize the service and contributions of law enforcement officers while simultaneously pushing for reform to correct the grave mistakes of the small minority of officers. On National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, we just hoped to highlight the monumental sacrifices made by these officers to protect us everyday."

This incident at Dartmouth College has caused a re-emergence of misconceptions about Black Lives Matter. Contrary to what many Americans believe, Black Lives Matter is not an attack on police officers, but rather the growing police violence against black Americans and other minorities. Police brutality is an issue black Americans have faced for decades. Tensions with law enforcement even started long before the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s as a result of Jim Crow laws, the lasting effects of slavery, and racial profiling.

Even today, an unproportional number of blacks are targeted by police. In 2015, black men were nine times more likely to be killed by police than white men. In the same year, 1,134 young black men were killed by law enforcement officers (for more perspective, black men between the ages of 15-34 years make up 2 percent of the total U.S. population, but account for over 15 percent of all deaths logged in 2015).

Black Americans (and young black men especially) are increasingly more likely to be labeled as "thugs" or "criminals," labels that are used to justify deadly shootings and the deaths of black men. After the Baltimore riots (a response to the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody), NPR aired a discussion on the word "thug" between host Melissa Block and Columbia University English professor John McWhorter. Block says, "It is a sly way of saying there go those black people ruining things again. And so anybody who wonders whether thug is becoming the new N-word doesn't need to. It most certainly is." Block and McWhorter are not the first to notice the difference in terminology when covering white rioters and black "thugs."

As a result of this treatment by the police, there is a deep distrust of law enforcement among blacks, especially when compared to whites. The data collected below shows a substantial difference between the level of confidence blacks and whites have for the police.

A recent task force investigating racism within the Chicago Police Department, the second-largest metropolitan force in the U.S. behind the New York City Police Department, found the department plagued by systematic racism. For example, whites, blacks, and Hispanics each make up approximately 33 percent of Chicago's population, but 74 percent of the people shot by the CPD between 2008 and 2015 were black. There were significantly more blacks shot in Chicago during these years than whites, which indicates an underlying racial problem. The task force made over 100 specific recommendation to address the racial discrepancies within the police force.

Black Lives Matter was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors in response to the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. The movement quickly transformed into a platform for black Americans to respond to and combat racism within the U.S. law enforcement. The movement is not claiming all officers are racist, but rather aims to address the institutional racism still embedded in our criminal justice system from decades ago.

While police officers should be celebrated and thanked for their dedicated service, Blue Lives Matter (and All Lives Matter, another counter trend) appears to negate Black Lives Matter more than it supports the police. You can support the police while still recognizing its general mistreatment of minorities. Black Lives Matter isn't arguing that other lives don't matter, but right now the conversation is about black lives.

Cover Image Credit: Jalani Morgan

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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What Happened To My Country That I Love? The Radical Left Happened

They have made the young conservatives angry, and oh boy, will they regret that.
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What happened to the America I loved? What happened to the country that fought for liberties, not against them? What happened to my country? What happened?

I was terrified to enter the political world when I first began developing my own thoughts and opinions on many social and economic issues. I started to see this new side of the world that was boiling beneath the surface, ready to explode. I was unsure what to do with the information handed to me. But none-the-less, I fell in love with politics.

I found myself on the conservative side of the political spectrum. For anyone who knows me, this is not too much of a surprise. I was already incredibly pro-life and was one of the most outspoken people against the government being involved in my life. With a very conservative household, people tend to point at me and say that I have known no different. And maybe I haven’t.

What I have noticed in my time being incredibly active in politics is the increasing amount of worry and fear that has been radiating off the Right. They are afraid that they were the last generation of conservatives. They fear that free markets and our basic human rights are soon to head out the door.

But I am here to tell them, they are not the last wave of conservatism.

As I walked into the Midwest Regional Conference hosted by Turning Point USA (TPUSA) a couple weekends ago, I saw all I needed to see. One thousand college-aged conservatives, mingling around the room proud in their country and displaying their “Socialism Sucks” shirts.

One thousand does not sound like a lot, but each came from their college chapter representing another three or four students. Then, on top of that there are all the students on college campuses to afraid to say anything, and then there are those who simply are out of college or couldn’t come. This was only for the Midwest as well. There are numerous amounts of conferences hosted by TPUSA around the United States every year.

This was just one.

There is a new wave of conservatism that is coming, and I promise that we will not let our parents and grandparents down. We have already begun to speak out against the radical Left, that has left behind what our country was founded on.

We have grown tired of the ways of conservatives have always sat back and never spoken too loud. They have fought back in votes, petitions, and talk shows. This new wave is strong, and know that in order to fight back we have to be just as loud. It has begun already with organizations like Campus Reform, Lone Conservative, and Turning Point USA. All rooted in capitalism, free markets, and our civil liberties and rights.

We are here to fight for America, and to keep our lives and generations to come safe. We will not let the Left take away our defense, our speech, and the rest of what makes America, America. Because if we do, where else will we go?

What happened to the America I loved? It is still here and is here to stay.

What happened to the country that fought for liberties, not against them? It is still here and is here to stay.

What happened to my country? The radical Left happened.

What happened? They have made the young conservatives angry, and oh boy, will they regret that.

Cover Image Credit: aimeecustis / Flickr

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