Paper about the Black Lives Matter
In today’s world there are many social movements for all causes and they all share one goal – respect. Due to the World Wide Web information can be shared and many people can join forces with those who share similar values, goals and ideologies because the internet has made it very easy to communicate to anyone from anywhere in the world. Based on my readings about social movements learned in Political Science 2010 (Peace&Conflict Studies) I have found there are many reasons for a social movement. The social movement I’d like to focus on is the Black Lives Matter movement and how it similar it is 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 in order to win and bring as many people with them along the way, they must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. The BLM affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. They are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise. (https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/)
The Black Lives Matter Movement came about after the death of Trayvon Martin and continued to grow with the death of Michael Brown. Both of these young men were black, unarmed, and were shot and killed. 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 Colorblind is a new form of racism that has 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 backlash.
Our criminal justice system in America has offered the suggestion that being black is a crime. Each case that involved a police officer killing an unarmed black person has left society with an empty void every time the defender was determined not guilty. This social movement used theories framing and collective identity. To organize and be mobile the BLM relied heavy on social media presence. The birth of #BlackLivesMatter hastag was extremely popular and it was able to gain momentum after the Trayvon Martin case when Zimmerman was found not guilty. This group needed to express their frustration and they wanted to give others a way to express themselves and this was the perfect platform. Through social media, this group was able to organize protests, rallies and sit-outs in a very non-traditional way. The Black Live Matter movement was born in the new wave of social movement theories.
With new methods always brings about negativity. Even though Black Lives Matter was able to bring light on unfortunate events that were taking place their message quickly surged several other social movements such as #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. The members/supporters of BLM were quickly viewed as racists because of their support for one race of people. In this social movement, there was some gains and some losses, the BLM gained a large recognition and was able to get people having the race conversation and they were able to shed light on the issues that were taking place in the background. They lost because people in America were using the All Lives Matter statement to twist the Black Lives Matter Movement into being anti-white instead of a celebration of being black. By doing this and focusing on the Black part of the Black Lives Matter Movement, they are not truly hearing the concerns that are being voiced.
Since the summer of 2014, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has grown into an international network of grassroots organizations in more than 30 US cities and four countries outside of the United States (Ransby 2015; Rickford 2016). I’d say with all of the controversy between all of the hastags, this organizations has done a great job of recruiting individuals and keeping the peace within their organization. Because this organization is so popular and has a major support of entertainers/political backing, they finances has not been an obstacle as of today.
In conclusion, The Black Lives Matter Movement is a new civil rights movement to fight against this new form of racism called colorbind. It’s stating that race matters in a society where race is considered insignificant to those who are not affected. The Black Lives Matter Movement is trying to shift away from colorblindness to color consciousness. It’s not ignoring that racism is still a problem in the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement needs to continue to grow as a social movement and go further than the NAACP and Civil Rights movement did in the 1960’s. They need to focus on gaining more support from other organizations, educating their communities and educating outside communities about being consciences of others culture.
The BLM still has a long road ahead to achieve the change they want to make in society as a whole but I believe it can accomplished as long as they provide empowerment to those that are affected and provide teachings to those who need to understand why Black Lives Matter.
- Alvin B. Tillery, Jr., Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies (by courtesy), Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
- Siscoe, Tanika, “#BlackLivesMatter: This Generation’s Civil Rights Movement” (2016). University Honors Theses. Paper 237
- Caroline Simon, How social media has shaped Black Lives Matter, five years later (2018). USAToday.