#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Since Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012 there seems to be a rise of violence against black bodies in America. In 2014 there was an overwhelming amount of cases of police brutality and police caused murders against black people. From Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, the choking murder of Eric Garner in New York, to the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, it has become apparent that black bodies and black lives are under attack. Beyond that it seems as though that neither the media nor the justice system is on the side of black people in the states. Courts have not been holding these murderers accountable for their crimes; many of these police officers are simply getting away with a slap on the wrist. The media has been labeling the victims as thugs and thief’s as if to say they are deserving of these crimes against them, and portraying their murderers in positive lights, attempting to minimalize their crimes. It seems as if this trend has followed us into 2015. In January alone there were already more then 50 police caused murders across the United States. (Fairbanks)

Along with murder there also seems to be a rise in police brutality especially during arrest. Almost everyday a video will arise on the web of of a black person being arrested and officers using unneeded force. The most recent of these cases was against student, Martese Johnson at the University of Virginia.

Martese Johnson, who is an honors student and star athlete at his university, went out for a night of drinking last month with his friends. While attempting to get into a bar he was turned away and the police were called. The police accused him of using a fake ID and preceded to arrest him, they exerted unneeded force upon him. Martese constantly tried to explain his innocence but the cops would not listen. The arresting police officers even went as far as shackling his feet. (Vultaggio) To a black person this is beyond degrading, given our history of slavery. His life should be respected. Whether or not he is a honour student or a star athlete, or even whether or not his ID was fake or real, Martese should have never experienced that much aggression nor brutality from the police, who are supposed to serve and protect us.

As stated before Martese Johnson’s case is just one of many occurring across the United States. Many Black people not only in America but also across the world have banned together to fight for equal rights for black people and to change the way in which the black community communicates with each other and how others view it. For many the only positive thing to come out of these crimes was the creation of #blacklivesmater. This statement has turned into a chant, then a trend, and now a community organization that has demands and goals it wants to achieve. (Blacklivesmatter.com) The group, much like the NAACP serves as a voice for the victims and families of the victims. They are specifically associated with violence directed toward black people and are all encompassing, serving both black men and women, black transgender people, black gay and lesbians, etc. (Blacklivesmatter.com) This is an important fact that adds to their message that every single black life matters.

The BlackLivesMatter movement also has done a great job of destroying anti-blackness mainly within the black community. Many people have found a greater sense of pride in who they are after realizing that their life is one that matters. They also have worked towards ending this belief in black respectability politics. Respectability politics is this idea that black people have to dress, talk and act a certain way in order to be respected in society, which of course is completely false. This is a delusional way of thinking that is very harmful and negative. For young people you are silencing their creativity and voice. Also telling them that their life only matters as long as they live up to this specific guideline. It’s very much racist and prejudicial.

Martese, Mike, Eric, and Tamir, are only a few of the countless names of black people who have been murdered or physically assaulted by police. These offences have shown a pattern of abuse and blatant disrespect toward the black community. These events are things that could have broken this community but instead have made it stronger. The organization BlackLivesMatter have done a lot to perpetuate a proud black image, as well as demand justice for these people who continue to go unpunished. It’s hard to understand how these issues are still so apparent in 2015. They shouldn’t be, there shouldn’t be such a clear divide in a society that claims to have equality.

Word Count: 800

References

Fairbanks, Cassandra. “People Killed By Police in 1st Month of 2015.” The Free Thought Project. N.p., 03 Feb. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.
“Support the Movement for Black Lives!” Black Lives Matter. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <http://blacklivesmatter.com/&gt;.
“Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest.” BBC News. N.p., 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.
Vultaggio, Maria. “UVA Student Martese Johnson Chained On Night Of Arrest, Twitter Photo Shows.” International Business Times. N.p., 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.
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4 thoughts on “#BLACKLIVESMATTER

  1. This is most definitely a subject near and dear to my heart, as it is increasingly important that Blacks of all walks of live need to ban together and combat white supremacy, that has been killing and taking more than constructing and building society and a whole with all races and cultures. Now I’d have to disagree with the wording, “destroying anti-blackness” as nothing has truly been destroyed yet, I would’ve said, “combatting anti-blackness” as Anti-blackness is still everywhere we go, still brainwashing black children, and still send out young black men to jail/ brutally arresting/ dying at the hand of police. It was a great positive take on a awesome positive movement, though #Blacklivesmatter is still fighting an uphill battle. Now I know that the push is more so on awareness, but what action would you like the police in the USA to take in order to stop police brutality? Would that be a course on racism/ extra racism training or cameras on body suits?

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  2. I liked how you brought in many very recent examples of police brutality. The statistics and facts are there but even when people hear about it they don’t seem to be disturbed or be too concerned about it. Many still think that racial problems have been “solved”. I think the social construction and the social norms brainwash us to believe that this is the way of life, thus it should not be questioned. However, obviously, that should never be the case. Every life matters. Black lives, Asian lives, Gay lives, Trans lives, and many more, so whoever we are, we need to see that the other person matters just as much if we want to receive the same respect as human beings.

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  3. I think it was very important how you talked about police brutality especially in the States as this has been a reoccurring incident, especially amongst Black teens. I think our society has grown ignorant towards racism, as people tend to ignore the fact thats its still going on and believe it has been stopped. The Blacklivesmatter movement has definitely helped bring this into a positive movement and given it more momentum and attention through social media. How do you think police in USA can stop this brutality, especially in the sense of the way Black youth have been treated in the passed few years?

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  4. Interesting blog post! I really agreed with your comment about lack of media attention to these murders, brutalities and their subsequent (sometimes) trials. When Danyel guest lectured this term and mentioned the names of the young black men who had been murdered at the hands of officers, my friend sat beside me in bewilderment having never heard these names before. This was truly shocking to me, as I closely follow these cases. As discussed in an earlier tutorial I think it is important that we constantly remind ourselves of the differences between essentialism and social constructs. Society would lead you to believe that belonging to the white race means inbred superiority, leaving people of colour devalued. However, this is simply social constructs at work. I always find it interesting that America has a black president leading its nation, yet these social constructs have not been discredited. Maybe this is idealist thinking, but do you feel that Obama could put more pressure on America’s judicial system for convictions regarding these racial crimes?

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