BLM and the bigger picture

I would like to make two points in this blog post. The first focuses on the difference between a movement and organization, and how branding Black Lives Matter as a ‘movement’ inevitably leads to its crude reappropriation for a variety of unrelated causes. The ‘founders’ of the Black Lives Matter movement have made attempts to claim the BLM movement in a place, community, and lived experience, but to my knowledge have failed to draft up a constitution or mission statement that would elucidate these claims in a cohesive manner. They are averse to leadership and organization, but at the same time do not condone the acts of these spin-off groups. How do they expect to have a united movement without leadership or a written document binding them together? I totally understand BLM’s aversion to having a top-down structure with a powerful leader: history has shown us time and time again the pitfalls of this approach. However, even with a leader, I believe a unifying document is key so that the leader nor his people do not stray from the original goals of the movement. Until BLM has a unifying document and manages to implement it in a far-reaching and easily accessible way, the movement will not reach its full effectiveness.

The second point has to do with BLM and its somewhat misguided rhetoric. To my knowledge the movement centers around white police killing innocent black people out of purely racist motive. Even if only some of the killings stemmed from a cop’s racial bias, these killings are undeniably tragic and unjust. Racism is real, and unfortunately is reflected in the actions of some of our police force. However, data shows that 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. The left’s rebuttal is that that 84 percent of white homicide victims are killed by other whites, but The Wall Street Journal‘s Jason Riley points out that the white crime rate is “much lower than the black rate.” This data shows that white police killings, despite being racially motivated more than anyone would like to admit, account for a very small fraction of black homicides. Therefore, it seems strange that so much national attention is focused on these police killings, when other problems such as income inequality and redlining – problems that disproportionately affect black people and other minorities – are not being addressed. By framing this issue as racist battle between white police and black civilians, we miss the underlying socioeconomic and institutional dysfunctions that contribute so much more to black deaths than police shootings.

 

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4 thoughts on “BLM and the bigger picture

  1. Interesting post, very intriguing. From what I understand you think that in order for the BLM to be successful they need to have authorities (one leader) in order to be successful. They also need to have documentation to reach its full effectiveness? I don’t think the point of the movement is to dominate and make a impact on laws… I believe the movement wants people to understand and their message is about equality for all. I can see your point on underlying socioeconomic dysfunctions, they definitely need to be addressed.

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  2. Your response is interesting. I think BLM has evolved a lot recently. Now they have their goals defined on their website and have measures in place to help bind together spin-off groups into chapters that can be organized more properly. I agree that perhaps some type of role model should lead the Org so that maybe they could express their grievances more clearly though. I also can agree that the focus should not be against police killing but the presence of inequality within our social systems.

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  3. I also believe the media plays a huge role not in how we view BLM and how we view the socio-economic issues of minorities. The news only cares about ratings and so they will try and make their coverage as inflammatory as possible. I understand that perhaps BLM should maybe take a more proactive approach in awareness and public policy but so too should the news. They have a responsibility to the people.

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  4. It is not a movement without leadership – they have several, or horizontal organisation like we discussed in class. But I do agree that BLM has not been living up to its full potential, perhaps clearer agendas and better education are needed for it to get on the right track.

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