Professor Adam Norman
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January 1, 2018
The Controversy of Black Lives Matter
The developing rise of the Black Lives Matter movement started from a hashtag through social media, essentially Twitter, with the death of Trayvon Martin who was an American African teen who was unarmed and fatally shot by law enforcement in a matter of seconds to abruptly becoming national news. Many unjustified deaths followed: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and the list goes on.
These cases of unarmed deaths bring the existence of racism. The Black Lives Matter movement is an organization not only to bring awareness to institutionalize racism and violence of police brutality against unarmed African Americans but to seek a solution for the issues. In depth of Black Lives Matter, defined as "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' humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression" (Black Lives Matter). Black Lives Matter, however, has been portrayed in the media as fake news. Some media wrongly think that BLM is racist, anti-white, or black-supremacist.
But instance Black Lives Matter is a voice for African Americans to be heard. BLM movement originated in 2013, with three organizers; Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, who created the black political will in the project of a hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. In response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
The night Zimmerman killed an unarmed African American 17-year-old male and has the right to stand free, was the night for a change in the nation. The dispute then raised with the fatal gunshot, fired by a white police officer, Darren Wilson that killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.
This recaptured a debate on race in the United States of America. In November 2014, the verdict left not only Ferguson speechless but the nation, as America took a turn for the worst. The grand jury made their decision not to prosecute Officer Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown as proclaimed excuse is to be in "self-defence", which impacted a movement to demand a change on the relationship on law enforcement and American Americans.
This then led to a violent riot of disruption from the community as one against the authority. Violence may not be the solution, but it's an expression of anger in the African American community. Not only did this disturb the public eye but it also brought attention from the former president of the United States, Barack Obama as he addressed the discrimination of African Americans in the hands of law enforcement behind a badge which ironically is there to serve and protect.
But instead they put fear in the eyes of people of colour, not knowing if putting their hands up, which is a form of surrender will get them killed. As statistics shown according to mapping police violence, African Americans are three times more likely to die from police brutality, defined as use of excessive force (Mapping Police Violence).
As the treatment level differs on the colour of your skin as Obama stated, "you're black you're more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested, more likely to get longer sentences, more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime" (Davila 762). Officers who have killed innocent lives are infrequently indicted, or have a less conviction for the crime of police brutality illustrated as the use of excessive force.
With this statement taking to consideration The Black lives matter association has become hope for all African Americans in the justice system that fails to reveal the truth for the unspoken African Americans that lay dead due to senseless killings. The hashtag is utilized by social media platforms with the intent to provide false news reports about the Black Lives Matter movement, creative a negative image for the organization due to the opinion based claims whom are made without factual information.
Media plays a big role on the life of an individual and it can have a huge influence on the mindset of that individual by influencing their thoughts and opinions. This concept goes deeper than the portrayal of media, because it also stems from the history of the African American community.
The racial discrimination of African Americans has been an ongoing issue in the United States.History shows how poorly African Americans have been treated in the past and the stigma that is associated with them. A significant example of the hatred that Blacks endured is the creation of the Ku Klux Klan, also known as the KKK, being one of the most famous and oldest hate group in America. Their main motive was to promote terror and violence, mostly targeting African Americans.
They targeted these individuals simply because of the color of their skin and many of the people associated with this group, if not all of them weren't fond of equal rights, stating that they "did not agree with policies that elevated the rights of the local African American population." (History 2017). In result of them not agreeing with these policies, they aimed to destroy African American community and belittle them, by using tactics such as aggression and false claims.
These actions can be related to what we see today through social media outlets who promote fake news against the Black Lives Matter movement, portraying them as something they are not. This group was created with the intention to fight for equal rights, however the media has somewhat changed the narrative and has categorized this movement as being violent.
Although a lot of progress has been done since the days where African Americans were slaves, these individuals have not truly gained the equal rights that they have fought for. We live in a society where life is somewhat harder for the average African American, especially African American females.There are many obstacles that these individuals face such as facing institutional racism, colorism, police brutality, and much more.
This is why organizations such as the Black Lives Matters movement are formed to push for black equality, and fight for the injustice that many people face in their day to day life. However, these organization as being tarnished by certain media outlets, for example, a news report by Dan Evon made false claims about a Black Lives Matter protest, accusing black individuals of blocking emergency vehicles from providing aid to citizens stranded by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
The photo in the article was not in fact one of the tragedy in Texas, but was actually a picture of a peaceful protest against police brutality in Atlanta, which at the time had no emergency vehicles being blocked. The article labelled the protestors as 'thugs' and portrayed them as being violent and selfish, as stated in the following excerpt in the article: "This is just sick! Emergency crews are working hard to make sure that they can be there to rescue Hurricane Harvey victims, but leftist punks from the Black Lives Matter clique don't think people deserve to be saved." (Snopes 2017).
This is a perfect example of the influence that media can have and how it can negative persuade its audience because if one simply reads that article without attempting to validate the story, they would not be very fond of this movement, viewing it as being negative, while in fact this protest was the reaction of a police brutality incident that ended with the death of an innocent young black individual.
The Black Lives Matter movement has grown significantly since the civil rights protest that arose after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, who was gunned down by a police officer in 2014 (Foran 2015). This movement has improved the community substantially providing unity amongst African American, with several campaign trails running through college campuses in order to bring awareness to the younger generation.
Presidential candidates, as well as the Democratic and Republican political parties, have shown little to no involvement in the solution of police brutality and racial discrimination. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, opposes the goals that the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to achieve, labelling them as an "anti-white" organization and has shown no effort to seek a solution for the racial discrimination problem that African American citizens face.
It is quite evident that many of the individuals who support Donald Trump are racist, whether it is done covertly or overtly. Throughout his presidential campaign, there were many acts of racism being conducted at his rallies, which made it "difficult to deny the problem of racism in America" (Foran, 2015).
These acts of racism have however helped the African American community unify themselves and fight for what they believe in once again, stated as "we have also helped catalyze other movements and shifted culture with an eye toward the dangerous impacts of anti-Blackness" (Black Live Matter).
The Black Lives Matter movement has grown and is still determined to achieve their end goal, which is to end the racism in the criminal justice system.Black Lives Matter receives many negative backlashes when it was simply founded as a result of Trayvon Martin being killed in 2013. The main goal of the movement is to promote the unity and peace.
This movement provides African Americans with a voice and a platform to speak up for their beliefs and for what they deem unacceptable. Organizations such as this are extremely important because not only do they fight against social injustice but they show the younger generation that it is okay to stand up for that they believe is right.With the negative views that the Black Lives Matter receives from certain media outlets, it is crucial for them to find ways to counter the negativity being thrown at them.
A poll taken in 2015 to find out how the American nation views BLM, showed that 43 percent of voters had a positive view on the movement, while 53 percent have a negative view on the movement. The effect of the BLM is to promote peace and unity In America, but to also stop discrimination and unnecessary violence against black individuals.
However, with these statistics it shows how America looks down upon black achievement and it is reflected through the reactions of social media. An effective yet simple way to counter negative feedback from the media is to not deviate from their main objective. The organization was created in order to spread awareness to social injustices and was done so peacefully and positively. They must avoid letting what the media portrays them as, i.e. 'thugs', into becoming a reality.
This means continuing to peacefully protest and not getting violent with members of the law enforcement no matter how tragic the situation may be. Another way they can achieve this would be by informing the general public more about what they stand for, and attempting to reach out more to these media organizations that want to put out this false narrative about the movement. By going to these media outlets, it allows them to speak on their own behalf instead of having the media organization speak for them.
As well as inviting social media role models to stand by them and promote their message that they are trying to get across. As long as they stay true to their morals and avoid becoming what certain media organization portray them as, the Black Lives Matter movement will successfully be able to avoid whatever the media may throw at them. With the BLM standing by these tactics they were able to become one of Americas largest empowerment groups in American history.
The movement still stands today because of their ability to stay resilient against negative claims, states an article on BLM and how a new movement takes shape. "it's escaped the control of the ruling establishment. Neither police repression nor Democrats have been able to stop the movement. which has confounded the politicians and the news media, accustomed as they are to use the same old scripts to discuss race and protest without challenge" (Smith 2015).
This shows how resultant the BLM has been throughout the years and many different companies organizations, and even our political system has tried to shut them down. However, the Black Lives Matter movement continues to stand today and making tremendous progress.In conclusion, Black Lives Matter is a reflection of the voice of black individuals worldwide.
The movement is used to speak up against constant oppression and racial discrimination, and fight for equality and peace in this world. BLM stems not only from current day issues but also from historical experiences involving unfair treatment of African American citizens due to pigment of their skin in the control of law enforcement.
The organizations motive is to transform the criminal justice system as they seek justice against unresolved countless deaths. BLM has constantly been labeled by white supremacies as 'gang members' or 'anti-white supremacies'. All of BLM's efforts are constantly looked down upon as false claims about their peaceful protests are made to give the organization a bad look.
Today BLM is constantly working to try to improve society by promoting peace and equality without giving into negative feedback from the media. Overall, BLM continues to fight for what they believe is right, and continues to push for equality and black achievement worldwide.
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The Rise of Black Lives Matter. http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/28/us/black-lives-matter-evolution/index.html. Accessed 7 Dec. 2017.FACT CHECK. 28 Aug. 2017, https://www.snopes.com/black-lives-matter-emergency-crews-hurricane/.Foran, Clare. "A Year of Black Lives Matter." The Atlantic, Dec. 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/black-lives-matter/421839/.
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Police Have Killed 1,129 People in the U.S. This Year.https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/. Accessed 5 Jan. 2018.Russell Mead, Walter. "The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea." Foreign Affairs, vol. 96, no. 5, Oct. 2017, pp. 180–180, http://libaccess.senecacollege.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=125669855&site=ehost-live&scope=site.Teresa Dávila, María.
"Discussing Racial Justice in Light of 2016: Black Lives Matter, a Trump Presidency, and the Continued Struggle for Justice." Journal of Religious Ethics, vol. 45, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 761–92, doi:10.1111/jore.12199.
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