Black Lives Matter

Black people deserve basic human rights.

Painting of Breonna Taylor by Unknown, Located At The Pedestrian Mall In Downtown Kalamazoo, Mi

Tim Petersen

Painting of Breonna Taylor by Unknown, Located At The Pedestrian Mall In Downtown Kalamazoo, Mi

Tim Peterson

In Michigan, and all over the United States, public outrage over the issue of police brutality against black people has reached a boiling point in the form of the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the major purposes of the BLM movement is to object to the unjustified killings and beatings of black people, but many U.S. citizens feel the movement is unnecessary. It is completely baffling that it is even an argument that the unwarranted police brutality against black people is a colossal act of prejudice.

A common and ignorant ideology shared among many anti-BLM, police-apologists is that the BLM movement is a radical protest group of society against the police. Though this is somewhat true, BLM at its core is a hopeful message of society for the safety of black people.

One reason for the belief that BLM supporters hate cops is the phrase ACAB, which is a common slogan used in BLM protests to signify a distaste with the United States police force. The phrase is an acronym for “All Cops Are Bastards”. When people say this, they do not mean that all cops are evil. The phrase ACAB is used to discuss the bastardization of police officers by a racist justice system that our country has established.

The current police system in our nation was influenced heavily by the southern “slave patrol”. The slave patrol was established in the 1800s to catch any black people that tried to escape their white captors.

As slavery was abolished, the slave patrol was made irrelevant and many of the slave patrol’s policies were integrated into those of the police force. When these policies were being incorporated, many southern police officers and laws after in the late 1800s were targeted against black people in an effort to arrest as many ex-slave workers and force them to work in chain gangs. So basically, they were forced back into slave labor after they were told that they were free from that life.

The U.S. justice system has held onto this corruption and cops are still being trained by a traditionally racist organization which often leads to the killings of black people by cops.

Police apologists often justify murders by insinuating that the person/people had the attack coming to them because they were criminals. This argument is not only making the assumption that people who are criminals deserve to die, but the argument is often irrelevant.

Breonna Taylor was not a criminal, yet she was killed by a police officer.

Atatiana Jefferson was not a criminal, yet she was killed by a police officer.

Trayvon Martin was not a criminal, yet he was killed by a police officer.

12 year old, Tamir Rice, was not a criminal, yet he was killed by a police officer.

All of the aforementioned people were killed in the past decade along with countless other black people who have been murdered by cops since the first U.S. police force was established in 1838.

Recently, a former PHS student reposted a video that said, “If the flag is ‘just a piece of fabric’ then BLM is just a trend.” It disgusts me to my very core that people I have to endure going to school with people are ignorant enough to equate the life of black people to pieces of fabric.

Unless the fire spreads or there are some other extraordinary circumstances, the burning of a flag affects nothing but certain people’s feelings. When a black person is shot by a police officer, it harms the person shot, it affects the friends and family of the person shot, and it affects the community of black people in the United States of America who grow up learning to fear police officers.

It boggles my mind that people are still surprised, upset, and offended when black U.S. citizens turn to rioting in times of political uprising.

People rioted in the 1950s and 1960s and they got the government’s attention, and though racism persisted they were given more legal protections.

In the 1990s, people rioted after incidents of police brutality and violence against black people and they got people’s attention.

Now, in the 2010s and 2020, the term “black lives matter” was popularized and riots ensued to once again draw attention to issues faced by black people in the U.S.

Black people shouldn’t have to riot to get major media attention. We should be able to have a conversation, but black people find themselves needing to yell for even the slightest recognition. 

People who are against the BLM movement like to make the claim that the rioting of stores is doing more harm to the cause than good. If rioting is the only way to have people even consider the troubles of black people, then what else are they going to amplify the cause? 

Yes, companies are affected by looting, but why is the loss of a store’s stock more significant in the eyes of cop apologists than the life of a black person? Target can replace the KitchenAid blender someone swiped. The life of a black person who was ruthlessly murdered by a white police officer can not simply be replaced.

I beg of you, if you take anything I have said in this article to heart, please do what you can to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. You can do this by attending a local protest, spreading awareness about the BLM movement on social media, and making your voice heard in your local, state, or even federal government. To help make a difference in people’s lives, please donate to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund which pays for the help of black people in legal battles and education of issues faced in the past and present by black people in the U.S.