Black Lives Matter: The History and Existence of Racial Inequality in the United States

 

The Black Lives Matter movement has had an outsized impact on American politics and culture in recent years despite its lack of concrete leadership or agenda. Though the group is widely misunderstood, it also seems to remain relatively popular among millennials.

The group was started by three black community organizers named Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013 as a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Since then, the nebulous network has grown into an international social movement with over 39 chapters focused on fighting against violence toward the black community. Despite its divisive rhetoric, it appears to remain relatively popular among millennials who view this term as being co-opted from its original meaning and used as a tool for falsely accusing others without evidence

The Black Lives Matter International Social Movement Network was started in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, three black community organizers. It began as a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The movement grew quickly to 39 chapters across the United States and Canada, with over 15 million people identifying themselves as part of it on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

How Black Lives Matter Started

The Black Lives Matter movement was started as a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges in 2013. The acquittal sparked protests across the nation and led people to question why police officers often kill unarmed black men without consequence.

 

The name “Black Lives Matter” refers not just to one person’s life or death but rather, symbolically speaking (and sometimes literally), it represents all lives that are considered less valuable than others based on skin color or other factors such as socioeconomic status and gender identity/expression

black lives matter

Since that time, the nebulous network has grown into an international social movement with over 39 chapters focused on the fight against violence toward the black community.

The group’s philosophy is based on three main principles:

  • Black Lives Matter is an inclusive campaign that promotes respect for all people;
  • We recognize that there are many causes and solutions within this movement; and
  • We believe in building power among communities most impacted by injustice, so they can lead efforts to change systems of oppression and racism in their own communities

 

Despite its divisive rhetoric, it appears to remain relatively popular among millennials. A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 56 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 support BLM, compared to only 28 percent of those over 30 years old.

This may be due in part to the fact that younger Americans are more likely than older generations to identify as liberal or Democrat.

Generation Z is also more likely than Millennials to support Black Lives Matter: 42% vs 31%.

The Black Lives Matter social movement philosophy is centered on fighting racial discrimination within policing. The police are often not held accountable for their actions, and they are not properly trained or vetted in order to fulfill their duties as peacekeepers and protectors of society.

This brings us back to the question: Why do we need a police force at all? Why can’t we rely on existing civilian organizations (such as the National Guard) instead? A common argument against hiring more cops is that there isn’t enough money available to pay them adequately; however, this argument ignores two important points:

Firstly, how much money should be allocated towards funding police departments versus other areas such as education or public health care? And secondly—and perhaps most importantly—what type of standards should be used when determining whether an individual is suitable for employment with law enforcement agencies?

 

The group’s philosophy has also been used to address issues such as health care access, banking reform and restoring the Voting Rights Act. In addition to these issues, they have sought to reform the criminal justice system, education system and prison system. They’ve also advocated for a housing policy that allows people who have not committed crimes but are still living in poverty a chance at an apartment or house.

 

Many say this term has been co-opted from its original meaning and used as a tool to falsely accuse others without evidence. It has been used to accuse people of racism, sexism and homophobia. The Black Lives Matter philosophy does not believe that white people are inherently bad; rather, it believes that white supremacy exists in our society and must be challenged on all fronts.

 

The Black Lives Matter movement has had an outsized impact on American politics and culture in recent years despite its lack of concrete leadership or agenda. It has been influential in the 2016 presidential election, where it helped to mobilize young voters who were drawn to Bernie Sanders’ message.

The movement also inspired NFL players to kneel during the national anthem as part of their protest against racial inequality; this led many people around the world to join in solidarity with them during games across America.

 

The Black Lives Matter movement has had an outsized impact on American politics and culture in recent years despite its lack of concrete leadership or agenda. This is likely due to its ability to raise awareness about systemic racism and police brutality, as well as the fact that it taps into a strong vein of frustration within young people of color who feel neglected by their government.

While the group may not represent all blacks, it does speak for many Americans who feel like they don’t have a voice in their communities anymore—and they’re willing to fight back against this injustice with whatever resources they have available.”

 

 

References

Mayorga, E., & Picower, B. (2018). Active Solidarity: Centering the Demands and Vision of the Black Lives Matter Movement in Teacher Education. Urban Education, 53(2), 212–230. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085917747117

Clayton, D. M. (2018). Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: A Comparative Analysis of Two Social Movements in the United States. Journal of Black Studies, 49(5), 448–480. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934718764099

Updegrove, A. H., Cooper, M. N., Orrick, E. A., & Piquero, A. R. (2020). Red states and black lives: applying the racial threat hypothesis to the Black Lives Matter movement. Justice Quarterly37(1), 85-108. https://doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2018.1516797

 

 

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