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The argument about whether Black lives matter or all lives matter has elicited a wide range of responses from people from all walks of life. Although others insist that all lives matter, some firmly believe and support the assertion that Black lives matter. The stress on the significance of Black life stems from the fact that Blacks have accrued less respect and value as human equivalents to Whites. In its behavior, American society has now shown and communicated that White lives matter and Black lives do not. The paper would expand on how Black life matters and how the treatment of Black-Americans in this period has not been up to the mark by reviewing numerous news sources and scholarly journals. Cases of White privilege are not uncommon in this age, unequal treatment of alleged Black criminals in the hands of police and the undignified treatment of the Blacks in the face of law enforcement officers. Therefore the Black lives do matter and thus should be protected.
Black Lives matter is a movement that commenced in 2014 following the cold-blooded and increased killings of the Black people. In fact, its origin could be traced from 2012 when a seventeen-year-old Black American young man, Trayvon Martin met his death in the hands of armed law enforcement officer, Zimmerman George. Martin was coming from a gas station to get some snacks, and this unfortunate death received national attention. Black lives matter hashtag started and was trending on the social media to pass across valuable lesson that even the Blacks are human equals. According to the Black lives matter website, this slogan was a political and ideological intervention where Black lives are hunted intentionally and systematically for demise. This hashtag turned into a movement in 2014 following the deaths of John Crawford III, Michael Brown and Eric Garner in the hands of armed law enforcement officers. It is a movement that affirms the humanity, the contribution of the Blacks to the society and unyielding resilience in the face of unprecedented persecution in the United States. The sad bit is that the police officers who commit these inhuman practices and terminate other people’s lives are mostly White and escape scot-free without being charged. Of all the Black men killings, Eric Garner’s is what paved the way for the movement since a video recording the incidence was released to the public detailing Garner’s experience before his death. Officer Daniel Pantaleo of Staten Island New York perpetuated Eric’s death by placing him in a chokehold and even when he pleaded and stated he was unable to breathe, the officer was immovable, and eventually, Eric died. The officer received no charges.
The Black lives matter particularly now that after the movement, other movements came up to counter this one – Asian lives matter, American lives matter and eventually all lives matter. The counter movements are not untrue, but their claim now is unfounded since a person who is healthy and well would not go seeking medical attention. The same case, a race whose existence is protected and lives not threatened needs no movement to air their rights since none has been jeopardized (Carney 180). The truth is that all lives matter and all human beings are equal and as such should be given the same dignity and value. However, the counter of the Black lives movements by even White activists is a clear indication of how Black lives have been degraded and their voices considered unimportant. The proponents of ‘all lives matter’ argue that ‘Black lives matter’ will promote racism and as such should be coined to be more inclusive of all races in the US. However, such argument is not valid as such proponents assume that all races are being treated equally by the law enforcement officers and thus no need of focusing on one targeted group. In fact, if such targeted killings by the Whites were absent, this movement that seemingly promotes racism would be absent. Despite the various oppositions and unnecessary debate and reactions, Black lives still matter and should receive the necessary attention to avert the lurking danger.
Unlike other races in the United States, the Blacks are facing unparalleled difficulty and risk of death in the hands of the police who are given the mandate to serve and protect all the citizens. Siegel (2) suggests that racial profiling is the basis of police brutality. He notes that the Black Americans have been profiled as most of the crime inclined individuals in the eyes of the police such that even in unconvinced situations, police release the fire and result in death. Racial profiling is wrong since it reduces objectivity of the criminal justice system by concluding apart from enough evidence to conclude. The White man dominance places the Black man at a disadvantaged position since the police treatment of the Blacks is not something superficial but one embedded in the personality of the Whites. Lorie Friedell is a professor of Criminology from the University of South Florida after a research related to police executive forum, she wrote her conclusion in the BBC News column. She suggested that police racial profiling is not about a few police officers treating the Blacks in subjectivity, but it is the whole criminal justice system because of the implicit bias (BBC News). As a result of this bias, police officers have stereotyped the Blacks as a threat and any view of Black people poses security threat resulting in live bullets. Also, the possibility of shooting a Black man who is unarmed is higher compared to that of unarmed white man even in scenarios where the law enforcement officer is Latino or Black. With such research findings, it is evident that racial profiling and stereotypes against the Blacks is not just an isolated action but one that is inculcated in the police culture and mostly happens in the training grounds. Therefore, such a vice that is embedded in the system of protectors of life who compromise it should not be taken lightly but should be addressed.
Police officers are trained to protect their own lives and to go home safe in the street environment that is dangerous. However, instead of protecting their lives, they place the lives of civilians at risk. Other ways of ensuring their safety like wearing bulletproof vests could be adopted as opposed to risking Black lives. When that occurs, and police officers do not face charges on manslaughter, it is an open declaration that the lives of the Blacks have less value than that of the officers and that the Black Americans should know the constitution fails to protect them. The movement seeks to assert that the lives of Black people are the same as that of the White people. There is a need for revolution. Hillary Clinton once said that if the police officers patrolling the poor Black neighborhoods treated the residents similarly as the Whites, the revolution would forth come (Butler 2). But because the minds of the police are conditioned, such revolution seems a distant future, and that is why such reminders of the Black lives are important are helpful in this age and season. Sadly, not only Black men but also Black women are targets of this brutality. Sandra Bland was one of those women who would die at the hands of the police officers. She pulled out in regular police traffic checks but ended up dead, and the police officers suggested that she committed suicide. However, the evidence proved otherwise. The police footage cameras revealed that she died before reaching the police station and that any videos related to suicide in the footage were missing leading to only one conclusion that the police were responsible for her death. Since the case became controversial with missing tapes, eventually it was done away with, and justice denied. Unfortunately, such treatment is only for the Blacks with the Whites enjoying their white privilege and protection of their lives and rights. In fact, in the worst case scenarios, police officers in the United States have been found guilty of raping Black women (Willingham,1) which is a clear indication of the degraded position of the Black people.
In conclusion, the statement that Black lives matter seeks to assert the fact that the preventable deaths of the Black people should not go on. The lives of the Blacks is as vital as that of the Whites. The changes in this unspoken persuasion of Blacks being less human equals would emanate from the long-held opinions regarding the Blacks as a threat to safety. The police training should seek to equip the officers with other skills of protecting themselves that do not jeopardize the lives of the Black Americans. Black people are precious and valuable, and nothing should detour the pursuit of the lives protection. In fact, the Whites should support the move.
Carney, Nikita. "All lives matter, but so does race: Black lives matter and the evolving role of social media." Humanity & Society 40.2 (2016): 180-199.
Seigel, Micol. "The dilemma of ‘racial profiling’: an abolitionist police history#." Contemporary Justice Review (2017): 1-17.
Why do US police keep killing unarmed black men? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32740523
Butler Paul. US justice is built to humiliate and oppress black men. And it starts with the chokehold. The Guardian. (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/11/chokehold-police-black-men-paul-butler-race-america
Willingham, Breea C. "Black Women and State-Sanctioned Violence: A History of Victimization and Exclusion." Canadian Review of American Studies (2017): 1-18.
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