Paper about the Black Lives Matter
How it works
One common thread connecting the various social movements of today is a call for greater respect for all people and all cultures. The internet has made it easier for people with similar interests to find one another and work together under the umbrella of shared values, goals, and ideologies due to the ease of global communication. From what I’ve learnt in Political Science 2010, I’ve laid the groundwork for a social movement based on what I’ve read about social movements (1). The Black Lives Matter movement is the social movement I wish to examine in detail and its similarities to the Civil Rights movement.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) Global Network is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. They are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. They also believe that to win and bring as many people along the way, they must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. The BLM affirms the lives of the Black queer community and trans folks, disabled folks, and undocumented and undocumented folks. They want to see a future where Black people are not arbitrarily killed (2).
How it works
When Trayvon Martin was killed, it sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained momentum after the death of Michael Brown. Both young men were black, unarmed, and were shot and killed by the police. The topic of police brutality increased throughout the United States as everyone watched live on TV what was unfolding in both cases. Both cases brought up the existing issue of racism in America. The issue of color blindness is a new form of racism that developed in the post-Civil Rights era and is connected to the negative response that the Black Lives Matter Movement has received. As with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, there has been a backlash.
Our criminal justice system has failed the black community. In most cases, the killer police have been acquitted despite taking ending the lives of unarmed black folks. The social movement mobilized and organized using framework and collective identity ideas. As an essential part of its operations, the BLM’s social media presence cannot be understated. It was after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, in which the police officers were falsely accused of killing Martin, the genesis of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag gained traction. It was the perfect venue for the group to vent their anger and offer others a voice. This group used social media to coordinate unconventional actions like sit-ins, marches, and rallies. Out of this new school of thought on social movements emerged the Black Lives Matter movement.
There will always be naysayers whenever a new strategy is implemented. While the Black Lives Matter campaign was effective in bringing attention to a problem, it spawned several additional groups with similar messages, including #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. As they only seemed to advocate for people of one race, BLM’s members and supporters were swiftly labeled as racists. There were successes and failures in this social movement; the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement attracted widespread attention and sparked discussions about race, bringing to light underlying problems. They were unsuccessful because the All Lives Matter phrase was being used to mischaracterize the BLM as an attack on white people. Not hearing the genuine concerns being stated, they instead narrowly focus on the “Black” aspect of the BLM.
More than 30 U.S. cities and 4 nations outside the U.S. have established local chapters of the BLM since its inception in the summer of 2014. (3). The movement has done an excellent job of attracting new members and maintaining harmony despite the many disagreements that have arisen over the use of specific hashtags. Funding has never been an issue for this group because of their immense popularity and the widespread support they receive from the entertainment industry and the political establishment.
In conclusion, The Black Lives Matter Movement is a modern civil rights movement that seeks to eliminate a kind of racism known as “color blindness” (4). In a world where most people do not give race any thought, the statement highlights the importance of racial diversity. Comparatively, the Black Lives Matter movement is working on achieving racial awareness, and it does not deny that racism is still an issue here in the U.S. There is a need for the Black Lives Matter movement to continue expanding as a social movement and to surpass the NAACP and the civil rights movement of the 1960s (4). Also, what they should be doing instead is working to build coalitions with other groups, educate members of their own community, and teach members of other communities how to be culturally sensitive. Providing empowerment to individuals who are impacted and lessons to those who need to understand why Black Lives Matter will go a long way toward helping the BLM achieve its goal of changing society as a whole.
- Jeong H-W. Peace and Conflict Studies. 2017 Jul 5;
- Black Lives Matter. About Black Lives Matter [Internet]. Black Lives Matter. 2022. Available from: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
- Tillery AB. What Kind of Movement is Black Lives Matter? The View from Twitter. The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics [Internet]. 2019 Jul 30;4(2):297–323. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-race-ethnicity-and-politics/article/what-kind-of-movement-is-black-lives-matter-the-view-from-twitter/375801268123BCA397284EFBE36C9F4E
- Siscoe T. #BlackLivesMatter: This Generation’s Civil Rights Movement. #BlackLivesMatter: This Generation’s Civil Rights Movement [Internet]. 2016 Jan 1; Available from: https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1327&context=honorstheses