Black Lives Matter: A Misled Movement
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Irrespective of the moral authority the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement currently demonstrates, the riots and the looting have somehow undermined their own cause.
The United States of America is undergoing utter chaos since the murder of George Floyd, an African-American individual who was killed by a police officer in an attempt to arrest him. A series of protests under a movement ‘Black Lives Matter’, which actually commenced back in 2013, has taken over the streets of the United States in response to this. What started out as peaceful protests escalated quickly with the present outcome being horrible riots, looting, pillaging and violent protesting all on the basis of George Floyd’s death. This movement has also worked its way to condemn all kinds of police brutality.
Do Black Lives Matter?
Police brutality is an issue, in the United States and in many other countries, and it should be properly addressed. If the police act out in ways that are brutal and unprofessional, especially in a case like that of George Floyd, justice is called for and the government should stand by the people. Therefore, people should rightly protest against such circumstances to ensure other victims that they are not alone and to also ensure the start of a debate surrounding the issue.
However, the protests currently in the United States have escalated into total chaos, the Black Lives Matter movement has been strengthened like never before. With ongoing riots and social media overflowing with the phrase Black Lives Matter, the real question is whether black lives actually matter?
The answer is an obvious yes. Every human being irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, religion matters for the sole fact of being born a human and being a part of society. Therefore, Black lives do matter. But does that make it right for them to act out in such a manner during the ongoing situation in the United States?
While many people who dissent ‘Black Lives Matter’, claim that this movement undermines the value of every other racial and ethnic community; this is simply not true. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ standing up and protesting for the rights of African-American and other minorities of the United States does not necessarily mean that it is an effort to undermine the rights of the “White” people or any other community.
But while ‘Black Lives Matter’ might seem a strong movement gathering momentum every day, the focus of this movement remains very narrow. When paying attention to the demonstrations currently held, it is almost as if Police Brutality against the Black Americans is the only issue, this community is facing.
Be it George Floyd’s death, or anybody's death at the hands of police officers, they must not be trivialized, justice must be meted out. But there are so many other issues that take precedent when it comes to black lives and the black communities, that need to be properly resolved in order for the protests to have a more tangible and a positive effect on black communities. With regards to addressing these many issues faced by the Black Community, this movement requires a more comprehensive approach. Thus rioting, looting and pillaging must not be an element in this comprehensive approach.
Rioting and Looting: The real damage
While protesting remains and always must remain a fundamental right under any democratic system, the non-violent protests after the death of George Floyd quickly escalated to looting, vandalism and burning. This manner of conducting protests distracts the authorities and even the citizens from the real issue at hand.
Groups such as Antifa, anarchists and racial or social opportunists have taken advantage of this situation, which has given rise to demands to de-fund the police which is surely not the true essence of the protests. While riots might have caused an internet and international sensation, the real damage is that it has caused people who would otherwise have listened to the cries and the pleas for justice by the Black Lives Matter movement, to either turn away or become reluctant to help.
Another known complaint amongst the black communities is that many businesses don't want to go into disproportionately black areas. This is particularly because they’re low income and have less purchasing power. But yet businesses which have opened up amidst all these hardships, where individuals from the black communities are predominantly employed, have been destroyed due to rioting and looting. Under such circumstances, why would the businesses want to come back to these particular areas when it is understood that it's a tinderbox that's ready to explode? With the relaxation of the lockdown and gradual progress towards normalcy, many of the closed businesses were looking forward to reopening. But with this chaos, people who have been out of work for four to eight weeks, are going to be out of work for even longer because these businesses have to reconstruct their stores and restock items which have been looted while incurring a huge loss. Some businesses are even at a point where they doubt that they are able to open their doors again.
This is the kind of atmosphere that has been created for the blacks who can't leave these communities once the protests and riots are over. Irrespective of the moral authority the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement currently demonstrates, the riots and the looting have somehow undermined their own cause.
Virtue Signaling and Social Media Activism
Another significant uproar on social media was many white people all over Instagram, posting the black square with the hashtag black lives matter. Of course, this does not resolve any form of racial discrimination occurring within the country or anywhere in the world, but it was rather a virtue signalling to ensure the black people that they are not racist. However, in reality it is a proactive way by the whites to distance themselves from being subjected to guilt that has been thrusted upon them as a benefactors of white privilege. Furthermore crucial information regarding the movement was shared under the hashtag between protestors as well as supporters and with the advent of the black squares that information was lost among the masses trying to fit in to a new trend.
Nevertheless, while social media activism is not a substitute for real activism, if the Black Lives Matter movement decides to advocate for the more prevalent issues that exist within their communities including access for better schools, women rights, gang violence and a whole bunch of other things, rather than advocating to defund the police or to legalize “murder for the next 12 hours”, the Black Lives Matter movement might actually create a better impact in the black communities with the help of the attention they have already received from the international community.
Presently, Blacks Lives Matter is more of a socio-political movement that has tried to create chaos and to use black rage along with white guilt to achieve their aims, which expresses an anarchy rather than progressive change in society. As such, the Black Lives Matter movement and their supporters should understand their misguided intentions and re-evaluate them to ensure a more tangible, progressive and efficient resolution for the actual issues prevalent in the black communities of the United States of America.
*Disclaimer – The author of this blog post is Sri Lankan and in no way is trying to undermine the difficulties that African-Americans as well as people all around the world undergo due to racism. This is purely one point of view that has been presented for the consideration of our readers.