Worldwide, the issue of race has been evident on several occasions. The nation itself was founded on the denigration and disregard for the lives of African-Americans and other minorities. By abolishing slavery, the Thirteenth Amendment should have signaled the end of all biases in the world. Despite this, they continue to exist in many forms, one of which is police violence against African Americans. In Western Countries, for instance, police brutality against blacks is not a new idea. Still, the recent and ongoing shootings of young African American men by officers in numerous locations around the country have elevated the issue to the forefront of a heated discussion (Ince et al., 2017). Since law enforcement officers who murdered unarmed young black males have gone unpunished, there have been numerous rallies and riots across the country. As a result of these demonstrations, a new social movement was born, manifesting itself as a hashtag on social media under the name #BlackLivesMatter.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) was founded to aid in the battle against societal injustices perpetrated against the African American community. But it is not the first social movement to fight for the rights of African-Americans who have suffered injustices. For its part, it is the first movement to take on the injustices meted out to African Americans by police enforcement head-on. Aside from resisting police brutality, the movement is also pushing minority groups in the United States to take a stand and fight against prejudice and bigotry in society (Ince et al., 2017). Following this introduction, I will discuss the history of the Black Lives Matter Movement, why it is important, and what actions may be taken next to achieve its goal of social justice for African Americans.
Even while social movements are not new to the United States, this particular Black Lives Matter arises at a time when many countries are considered to be post-racial civilizations. This suggests that the general population in the world believes that they are not racists and do not consider an individual’s skin color when making decisions about themselves (Ransby, 2018). This ‘colorblind’ ideology, which has become prevalent in the post-Civil Rights era in which the United States is currently prospering, regards each individual as unaffiliated with any particular race. Though it appears to be the best solution to injustice, colorblind philosophy is not, in reality, the optimal solution in this case (Coombs et al., 2017). According to Blum (2016), this worldview has resulted in the organization of concerns throughout the police force, ultimately resulting in the manifestation of different racial consequences. In actuality, the concept represents a new form of racism that has emerged in the post-Civil Rights era and is associated with the negative reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Black Lives Matter movement was started in 2013 after the murder of an African-American teenager named Trayvon Martin. It has grown ever since the 2014 killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Because they had nothing to defend themselves, the police opened fire on the two defenseless adolescents. George Zimmerman, a community watch captain, shot and murdered Martin, 12 when he visited his father in Florida in February of 2012 (Zipf, 2016). Zimmerman took part in a community watch program in his area (Coombs et al., 2017). After being tried and adjudicated, Zimmerman was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin. In 2014, a black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and murdered by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. Following mass protests in New York City and Ferguson against the murder of countless Black Americans by the US Criminal Justice System, Zipf (2016) reports that the movement has achieved national notoriety. After being involved in the 2016 presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement grew into a nationwide movement, but it remains a disorganized organization without a clear hierarchy.
Troka and Adedoja (2016) assert that many people in the United States and around the world, as well as the majority of media societies, regard Black Lives Matter as a newfound civil rights organization, even though some of its members have attempted to distance themselves from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Following George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting and death of Trayvon Martin, the Black Lives Matter movement leaders began debating how to respond to biases against African Americans in the aftermath of the verdict. The Black Lives Matter movement brings together people previously associated with several Black liberation organizations in the United States (Blum, 2016). Moreover, according to Clare (2016), the BLM movement is a decentralized organization, with its leadership placing a strong emphasis on the necessity of local organizing as a counterbalance to national leadership. Furthermore, the movement includes any individual who publicly declares that African American lives count and devotes their energy and time to the cause appropriately.
Clare (2016) claims that the Black Lives Matter movement is driven by thirteen beliefs that apply to every individual who chooses to participate in any activity organized under the banner of “Black Lives Matter.” Black families, responsiveness, recuperative justice, globalism, common values, and diversity are just a few of the emerging ideas in recent years. Ince et al. (2017) say that the BLM movement uses a variety of methods to attain its objectives. For example, the movement uses the internet and other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, to spread its message (Coombs et al., 2017). Furthermore, it uses various information technologies to gather support and funding through distributing memes with the hope of producing a spillover effect into the offline world of people all over the world. Since the hashtag has gotten over thirty million replies and credits from Twitter for its cause, Zipf (2016) claims that the campaign has reached out to more than thirty million people through the use of the internet and social media platforms. Furthermore, bystanders’ activities, like capturing and sharing graphic recordings of police brutality and intensity as soon as they occur, have significantly fueled the movement’s international activity.
For example, the tape of the shooting of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, was made and disseminated throughout several social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. The murder sparked a wave of demonstrations in cities across the United States and around the world. These demonstrations have sparked a worldwide movement against racism since the world was taken aback by the police officer’s actions, despite Floyd’s pleas that he was out of breath (Joseph et al., 2020). The BLM movement, according to Ince et al. (2017), uses direct techniques to create pain to push people into giving them the permission they require to address their problems. Rallies, protests, and street demonstrations have all been used to build the movement’s strength in the past. Several systems, including the criminal justice system, are meant to be altered by the Black Lives Matter movement, according to Ransby (2018). However, to accomplish this, a transformation of society as a whole is required. So the movement must understand how public views of crime and racism operate against any change that would help lessen the racial disparities that exist across the criminal justice system.
Currently, the social consensus opposes both social and legal racial prejudice and discrimination against the black population and discrimination against minorities. The movement calls for the abolition of racial prejudice and racism, which are deeply ingrained in the nation’s fabric and harm the minority group. We are going through a state reckoning regarding unfairness and racial injustice resulting from a national movement in response to the police shooting death of unarmed black man George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2011. However, the change to a culture of peace and the prioritization of prevention over crisis management will likely be sustained by a general understanding around the globe that we cannot attain security via the use of firearms and other weapons. Instead, the movement supports collaborative, long-term peace initiatives to satisfy fundamental human needs while also strengthening the mechanisms for peacefully dealing with divergent opinions and viewpoints.
To that end, the Black Lives Matter campaign must fight tirelessly as a social movement to eradicate colorblind racism and the belief that race no longer matters in modern society. Because there would be no racial inequalities in the criminal justice system or the general population of the United States of America if race were genuinely insignificant and black lives did not matter. Ignoring the fact that discrimination still exists serves to aggravate the problem. Black Lives Matter has created a unique coalition of activists concerned about problems other than the extrajudicial killings of African Americans by white vigilantes and police officers. As a result, it calls on African Americans to value and respect their own black culture, which is now under threat. The movement’s concerns also go beyond the narrow definition of patriotism found exclusively in a few African American groups. Minority and marginalized groups within the Black Freedom Movement are also being brought together as part of BLM’s goal to rebuild Black Liberation and re-launch the movement.
Blum, L. (2016). White privilege and injustice. Radical Philosophy Review, 19(3), 681-688. Web.
Clare, R. (2016). Black lives matter: The black lives matter movement in the national African American history and culture museum. Transfers, 6(1), 122-125. Web.
Coombs, D. S., & Cassilo, D. (2017). Athletes and/or activists: LeBron James and Black lives matter. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 41(5), 425-444. Web.
Ince, J., Rojas, F., & Davis, C. A. (2017). The social media response to Black Lives Matter: How Twitter users interact with Black Lives Matter through hashtag use. Ethnic and racial studies, 40(11), 1814-1830. Web.
Joseph–Salisbury, R., Connelly, L., & Wangari-Jones, P. (2020). “The UK is not innocent”: Black Lives Matter, policing and abolition in the UK. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal. Web.
Ransby, B. (2018). Making All Black Lives Matter. University of California Press. Web.
Troka, D., & Adedoja, D. (2016). The challenges of teaching about the Black Lives Matter movement: A dialogue. Radical Teacher, 106. Web.
Zipf, C. (2016). The architecture of American slavery: Teaching the Black Lives Matter Movement to architects. Radical Teacher, 106. Web.