Social discrimination had existed since the colonial period when white Americans got lawfully and authorized privileges. However, other races and minorities were deprived of these rights. Although slavery and segregation in America have been abolished, African Americans continue to face humiliation and inequality even now. As Martin Luther King Jr. states, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” racial discrimination remains an enormous problem in society (Wynn 22). The Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist movement is gaining popularity as it fights against color-blind racism, tries to change the criminal justice system in society, and raises funds for victims and educational programs.
In the context of growing political consciousness and activity of social forces, typical strategies are implemented most effectively when they are inextricably linked with the protection of universal human rights without discrimination of any kind. All people belong to one biological species, representing only its various modifications. It follows that the physiological properties of all people are qualitatively the same. All people have everyday needs and, therefore, strive for a common goal called happiness. Only the means of achieving this goal differ, as social beings determine interests and values. This equality feature is demonstrated in the concept of universal human rights, which is based on two core values: the first is human dignity, and the second is equality. Human rights define the basic norms necessary to live with dignity, and their universality follows that all people are equal (Assembly 1). The BLM movement adheres to this position since people, the same in their belonging to the human race, deserve fair treatment.
Moreover, the rights equality principle of all races is represented by the Declaration of Independence. According to this Declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” (Congress 1). Nevertheless, compliance in real life remains a question; thus, the movement is trying to combat the violation of human rights dictated by the color of the skin. Once Martin Luther King, the leader of the black civil rights movement in the United States, opposed colonial aggression. He said, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood” (American Rhetoric Top 100 Speeches). Martin Luther King dreamed about the day when the whole nation would rise and believe that all people are equal. Although there is no past racism and segregation, in America, prejudices remained. Therefore, BLM eventually turned into a movement for equal rights of white and black.
The BLM movement protests against police brutality towards the non-white population of the United States, and the phrase “I can’t breathe” became a slogan for activists. For decades, African Americans have complained about unfair treatment by law enforcement, including racial profiling (Carbado, “Police Violence” 129). It means that a person is detained based on his skin color, nationality, religion, or gender. White police officers have repeatedly been found not guilty of murder or excessive use of force against blacks, even when there was video evidence to the contrary. Precisely, African Americans comprise about 13 percent of the US population, with their share of 60 percent of prisoners (BBC News). Besides, the black’s probability of being killed by police is higher for them than for whites (BBC News). This pattern has led African Americans to believe that the American justice system is unfair.
Police killing black Americans is one of the oldest forms of structural racism in the United States. However, it remains an instrument of social control that violates the autonomy of the black population, generates racial inequality, and the police indiscriminately and illegally take away black lives. At the age of 12, Tamir Rice was shot in a park, 22 years old Rekia Boyd was shot at a party, and Eric Garner, the father of a six-year-old child suffocated on the sidewalk, can be an example of police brutality (Boyd 258). Every year in the US, police takes about 300 black lives (Boyd 258). Moreover, in various cities of the United States, protests and riots have not subsided for several days after the death during the arrest of 46-year-old African American George Floyd (BBC News). Such incidents regularly occur in the United States and periodically spill over into spontaneous actions by the black population, severely suppressed by the police and the National Guard. A wave of solidarity protests over the recent murder of black George Floyd in Minneapolis swept around the world, and the Black Lives Matter movement fights police abuse.
The BLM movement struggles to end the racism of the blind and the belief that race is no longer relevant in modern society. If race were insignificant, and the life of blacks mattered, there would be no racial differences in the criminal justice system and other social factors. Therefore, the BLM is a new civil rights movement that fights against a new form of racism. It is a social movement that sees race and recognizes that it is essential. The BLM movement is trying to move from color blindness to color consciousness. The movement is trying to change public opinion and gain support. Race matters, black life matters, and society will need a fundamental shift to believe that they are essential for improving the criminal justice system and American culture.
The BLM is not a typical protest movement against racism, but also a global network that donates money to educational programs and violence victims. The life of dark-skinned people is complicated in many social aspects of life. They suffer from humiliation, do not receive a decent education, tolerate double standards of society, have access to fewer resources in the healthcare sector, and are more likely to commit crimes because of their color. Therefore, funding is required in educational institutions to reduce the criminal activity of the population and increase awareness of black people’s problems. For instance, BLM created a separate fund and allocated $ 6 million in donations to support black organizations. The foundation announced that BLM branches apply for multi-year grants of up to $ 500,000 (The Associated Press). Consequently, financial support provides access to resources necessary for a black society, intending to invest in the future in which they want to be united.
Besides, families of affected people by police brutality need financial support. Thus, BLM is also engaged in a fund to provide resources for those who are humiliated (Taylor 45). As of late, the BLM has set up finance worth more than $ 12 million to assist organizations battling institutional racism. (The Associated Press). For the BLM in Los Angeles, which became the first official branch of the network, funding will expand opportunities to support families in which the police killed a family member. Such families will be provided with legal assistance in developing a public communication strategy and other necessary help (The Associated Press). The fund aims to create sustainable improvement in material conditions for all African Americans.
On the other hand, white racism is as big a problem as racial discrimination against blacks. Prejudice stereotypes still prevail even in the most progressive society. Reverse discrimination means representatives of the majority are infringed on their rights and opportunities in favor of minorities. For instance, there is the affirmative action norm, which instructs the employer, choosing between black and white job seekers, to hire black. It is also much more difficult to fire a black individual than to dismiss a white person, even if he or she works poorly (Carbado, “The Lose-Lose Position of African Americans” 67). White citizens are tired of feeling guilty or justifying themselves for being born white. The whole system, built to overcome segregation and discrimination against color, does not take into account the interests of the white population. At one time, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” caused a wave of discontent because people were questioned whether only black lives were meaningful. As a response to the BLM movement, emerged a famous slogan, “All Lives Matter.” Thus, the United States is experiencing difficulties in reverse order.
In conclusion, the whites enjoyed exceptional education, immigration, suffrage, citizenship, land acquisition, and the criminal process throughout history. America moved to a democratic level in which everyone is equal, but prejudices and stereotypes of people remain, leading to a violent character. Therefore, BLM is an international movement of activists that opposes violence against the black population, racist ideology, and is engaged in the provision of material assistance. Although the idea of reverse discrimination exists, activists’ actions receive help from various companies worldwide.
Assembly, UN General. “Universal declaration of human rights.” UN General Assembly 302.2, 1948.
Boyd, Rhea W. “Police violence and the built harm of structural racism.”, 2018, pp. 258-259
Carbado, Devon W. “From Stopping Black People to Killing Black People: The Fourth Amendment Pathways to Police Violence.” California Law Review, 2017, pp. 125-164.
Carbado, Kate, et al. “Privileged or Mismatched: The Lose-Lose Position of African Americans in the Affirmative Action Debate.” UCLA Law Review Discourse, 2016, pp. 64-174.
Congress, U. S. “Declaration of independence.”, 1776. Web.
“George Floyd: How are African-Americans treated under the law?“, BBC News World. 2020, Web.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream.” American Rhetoric Top 100 Speeches, 2019, Web.
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. From# BlackLivesMatter to black liberation. Haymarket Books, 2016.
The Associated Press. “Black Lives Matter network creates $12 million grant fund to fight racism“, CBS News, 2020, Web.
Wynn, Linda T., “Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968)”. Nashville Conference on African American History and Culture, 2018, pp. 22-23. Web.