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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Columns

Black Lives Matter is more than what you think


Black people are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by police. They are also five times more likely than whites to be shot while unarmed.

There are many misconceptions that follow Black Lives Matter. From the meaning of their name to the false rhetoric of violence and exclusion, the movement for change has often been criticized and misunderstood.

All Lives Matter is a fine statement, but saying it in response to the Black Lives Matter movement sends a clear message that you do not acknowledge the problem. Black Lives Matter doesn’t place black people ahead of other races — it just points out the group that is going through racial injustice with law enforcement.

Another common, and wrong, argument is that they are selfish hooligans or thugs inciting a race war.

A long time has passed since the riots after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Even then, there was much unrest and anger among minorities in the nation.

The often-vilified Black Lives Matter movement has become better organized, oriented toward peaceful demonstrations and has a clearer message.

People are not throwing Molotov cocktails, looting businesses or turning cars over. It is just men, women and children holding signs that express their anger toward the current state of the country.

Like any group or person out there, Black Lives Matter is not perfect. To say, however, that it appeals to racism, or is racist itself, is something only a person like the former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani would say (and he did.)

On top of that, Giuliani blamed police shooting black people on bad parenting and made us all remember why the people of New York became fed up with him.

Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner and Oscar Grant. These names will probably evoke either sadness, anger or excuses to why each one deserved his fate. If it’s the latter, you are part of the problem.

These men — and a 12-year-old — were killed on the streets. No judge. No jury. Just an executioner.

Eric Garner was not provoking the officers and later pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, but he was killed on the street like a dog in front of pedestrians. He was a very large man and did seem upset, but he didn’t deserve a death sentence via a chokehold.

It seems difficult for police and those who condemn the Black Lives Matter movement to point out that a person in blue did not perform their job.

A few bad apples who hate black people don’t represent the entire police force. Acknowledging and firing the officers who have shown a history of racial bias will only save citizens rather than make us lose faith in law enforcement.

Another big misconception people have with Black Lives Matter is that its supporters are against all police and, usually, all whites.

I’m also mourning the five officers in Dallas that were killed protecting the protesters and their constitutional rights. No way can we survive and maintain our society without the presence of law enforcement.

I believe the movement is more than a group for black people. It is for people who want law enforcement to be held accountable for their actions and to a higher standard than they currently are, especially with minorities.

This is a movement that calls upon everyone — not just blacks and not just ordinary citizens — to stand together and raise their voices against injustice.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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