Black Lives Matter: The intolerance of blithe disregard of civil rights

Jazmine Black

Black lives matter. Why must this be said? The judicial system’s inattention to racial injustices has forced the creation of a movement. Black Lives Matter is an activist group that campaigns against violence towards blacks. It is an understood notion that the lives of all people matter, however, the main priority of the Black Lives Matter group is to find justice and equality for blacks. Antagonists misconstrue the group’s intent and question its necessity. Yet, the Black Lives Matter group seems to be the only party actively fighting for equality and justice for blacks; it was a definite must that the faction be assembled. The party does not wish to bash whites nor incite more violence. The group does not encourage violent behavior towards African-Americans or any other race. BLM was founded to educate the ignorant of the injustices black people face.

     Multiple African-Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police officers. These people, such as Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, are subject to scrutiny by the public just minutes after their death. For example, Oscar Grant—fatally shot by a BART police officer while handcuffed—was harshly criticized for his criminal background. Police brutality victims are often categorized as thugs who only got what they deserved. They take pictures with guns, are covered in tattoos, sell drugs and are alleged gang affiliates. But what of twelve year old Tamir Rice who was shot while playing with a toy gun? What part of his past attributed to his demise? He was only a child with no tattoos or drug abuse history. It is not as if he lacked self-respect. So why was there no respect for his will to live?

     It is said that black-on-black crime proves that the BLM party has no regard for their own people. The Federal Bureau of Investigations states that 90 percent of blacks are indeed killed by blacks. However, people of color are not the only ones filling up prison cells. According to the FBI, 69.3 percent of individuals arrested in 2012 were white. More whites were arrested for violent crimes than people of color (who only make up 37 percent of the 324,363,339 people in America). Despite their violent crimes, officers still managed to apprehend whites without unleashing an entire hail of bullets into their chest. So, why was it imperative for officers to use the chokehold in the arrest of asthmatic, unarmed Eric Garner?

      The BLM group finds these actions to be excessive and a violation of civil rights. Questioning the group’s relevancy and motives proves that you are part of the problem. So before you criticize a person of color for their reaction to injustice, ask yourself, “what have you done to help?” Don’t sit on your polished front porch and watch your neighbor’s house go ablaze. Speak out and do what’s right.