So Where Is The Problem?
Poverty is a big problem in black communities, especially in cities like Cleveland, Baltimore and Chicago, but conservatives (by and large the most vocal about BLM’s supposed shortcomings) are always hesitant to admit that this problem is what drives up crime rates among African Americans. Instead, conservatives choose to blame “broken” black families and black people not trusting police officers to solve their problems.
The issue with this stance is, in the age of social media and easily accessible recording devices, it’s easy to see just how much police don’t help. Multiple shootings have been recorded by witnesses to the shootings (often girlfriends or wives). These recordings sometimes give a much different story than police reports, so it’s easy to see how frustrating it must be for those involved when certain corrupt people who are supposed to uphold the law are untruthful.
It’s true that police have a difficult, challenging job. It’s perhaps also true that you can’t categorize all police as operating with implicit bias or hold them all accountable for the violence exhibited against black people. It is probably just “a few bad apples” who are giving cops a bad name. Only, as Last Week Tonight host John Oliver points out: those few bad apples are literally killing people, and those apples are spoiling the whole bunch.
That’s why it’s so imperative that those good police officers aren’t condemned or punished for speaking out against their colleagues when they believe misconduct has taken place. Change has to happen from within the system itself.
What Does It Mean For Us?
While it’s taken some time, Black Lives Matter and the principles it stands for have started to take hold in general conversation – especially since high profile celebrities and politicians have gotten on board with the message.
For example: Beyonce’s “Lemonade”, a highly visual album that was released in April 2016, is one piece of media that has chosen to highlight the unacceptable levels of violence against black people by police. The short film that accompanies Lemonade contains powerful images of the mothers of some of the black men killed in the past several years, and this article on Revelist has a great discussion of why they’re so important.
Black Lives Matter is a necessary movement that will have a real place in history, hopefully as a catalyst for positive change for black communities not only in America but around the globe.