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'Black Lives Matter' stands up for social justice

In February of 2012, Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Martin was posthumously put on trial for his own death and his murderer was found not guilty. This case was the initial inspiration for three women, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullorsto to create the "Black Lives Matter" movement as a “call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society”, not a commencement of war.

Since 2012, negative race relations and police brutality in America have only escalated and gained more national publicity. With all of these false accusations about the #BlackLivesMatter (#BLM) movement, and with myself being an African-American citizen, I hope to be able to shed light and provide more background on what the movement is really about.

One common misconception about the #BLM movement is that they hate white people and police officers. This is ridiculous. #BLM definitely does not promote hate toward any group of people. If they did, they would then also promoting hypocrisy. Also, we understand that not all cops are bad cops, just like not all black people are suspects of crime.

Another fallacy is that BLM is a single-issue movement, only focusing on police brutality. BLM focuses immensely on black transgender lives, homophobia in the black community, black handicapped lives, black lives with mental health disorders and teaching young black people to be “unapologetically black” despite Eurocentric beauty standards.

As an African-American citizen, I openly support the #BLM movement and, in my opinion, no one should necessarily be against it. However, if you don’t support it, there are a few key things you should refrain from saying. The first one is that “All Lives Matter”. We know all lives matter. However, all lives didn’t matter until we started saying black ones did. It’s like going to a breast cancer walk yelling, “Liver cancer matters, too!”

Black lives matter is simply us saying, “Our lives are valid.” It is not the same as “Our lives are more important than yours."

We get it. Black-on-black crime exists. However, so does white-on-white crime, Asian-on-Asian crime, Latino-on-Latino crime, etc. However, there are proportionately more blacks killed by police and incarcerated than whites. Please stop trying to use intraracial crime as justification for police brutality.

When a black person senselessly becomes a victim of police brutality, BLM will often stand up for that person. Usually following this are the people looking for a reason as to why this person was murdered. Even media will bring up things that person did in the past in an effort to rationalize the homicide. Statements such as, “He didn’t show up to court a few years ago” or “She didn’t pay a traffic citation in 2011” have nothing to do with why this person became a casualty. Please stop trying to use previous and irrelevant crime as justification for police brutality.

One thing the movement does is spread awareness of its objectives by holding peaceful protests, which most of us witness through television broadcasts, discussion panels, teach-ins and social media group chats. The network of BLM is simply making an effort to bring attention and stop the profound racism and negligence of wellbeing for black citizens. Simply put, BLM does not stand for hate, or the notion that anyone else’s life is invalid.

Deja Dubose is a Contributing Columnist for the Central Florida Future. 

'Black Lives Matter' fails to address pressing issues

Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, No Lives Matter: The internet has been awash with these messages. As usual, with messages such as these, none of them really addresses the problems that brought such words to hold a significant meaning.

Let’s take a step back to the Civil Rights Movement. There was a combination of peaceful and violent protest. Police brutality was in the news. Ideas of race and minority were common words used in the public eye. As heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X rallied support behind their respective ideologies, another hero, Baynard Rustin, became a ghost.

We jump back to today and realize that the message of this lost individual is once again being ignored by the masses. It is being ignored by minorities and, worst of all, it is being ignored by the very people who would benefit the most from his ideas.

To me, Baynsd Rustin is the true hero of the Civil Rights movement. He wrote a few of Dr. King’s speeches. He was the one who really set the standard for the peaceful protest. But there was just one problem: Bayard Rustin was also gay. He did not want advocating for equal rights to stop with the black community. Unfortunately, tribalism won out. His ideas were perceived as far too radical, and he was chased out of the entire movement that he spent so much time and energy to help make.

Now, let’s look at some of these radical ideas. Rustin wished for the communities to work with the law enforcement and with their local governments to create change rather than to violently overthrow it or engage in violent protests. And while I personally agree “that peaceful protest requires a threat of violence behind it,” that is not to say that Rustin’s beliefs were pointless. The world has become too oversimplified with solutions, and as a result, we are in a situation where no matter how movements such as "Black Lives Matter" proceed, there will be problems.

Should the movement devolve into the violence that people are claiming, then it will be met with equal force and countless people will die. If it continues down the path of peaceful protest, then the incitements that are becoming ever more common by people not affiliated with the organization may push the movement to violence anyway. As far as police are concerned, the officers are not the actual problem. The unrest stems from the policy makers who create situations where police brutality must occur to uphold the law.

Each of the different movements that involve minorities tend to focus on just that one minority and ignore the rest of the minorities. Even worse, many of these minorities are at odds with each other. While they fight, the problems facing them all increase; while they fight, no solutions are presented; and while they fight, the true cause of their misery looks on and laughs.

There is no true solution to what is occurring as far as minorities are concerned. Black Lives Matter has the potential to help the black community at large, but it also has the potential to face incitement by violent aggressors. The choices that the movement makes will have lasting ramifications, but I fear that no matter what the outcome is, it will merely displace the problem rather than solve it.

Ross Ellison is a Contributing Columnist for the Central Florida Future.

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