From July 2016, ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ created news headlines, large debates and a lot of people voicing their controversial opinions. Following the initial hype in July, the movement spread worldwide. But the question I pose is, did BlackLivesMatter turn from what started as a peaceful movement with amicable protests, into an excuse for a number of people to release their anger through violence and disruption.
BlackLivesMatter is an international movement born in the USA in 2012. The movement was created after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and then 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder.
In August 2014, BlackLivesMatter had their first in-person national protest after the shooting of Michael Brown. More than five hundred members joined to participate in non-violent demonstrations.
In July 2016 the movement was reborn due to police-misconduct in the USA against black people, the delinquency was caught on camera and published online numerous amounts of times. These videos took over social media around the world and popularized the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. By September 2016 the hashtag had been posted over 30 million times.
The hashtag spread positivity around the world. People of all races came together signing petitions, protesting and voicing their opinon in order to stand up for the injustices that was happening, not just in america, but also in their own home countries.
However, not everyone from the movement could vent their anger peacefully. Violence started to occur and take over the peaceful marches. One example is the Protest in Dallas Texas in July 2016, a black gunman killed 5 white police officers and injured several others. This created a negative outlook to some people on the BlackLivesMatter movement.
Douglas Muir, a professor from the University of Virginia said, ‘Black lives matter is the biggest racist organisation since the clan. Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!’
Over here in the UK, Black Lives Matter was also a largely discussed topic. People of all backgrounds supported the movement, taking part in peaceful protests which travelled across central london.
Sadly in August, a water fight amongst majority black youths turned into a riot in London’s Hyde Park.
Two policeman were stabbed and McDonalds was raided and robbed. Whilst police tried to put a stop the situation, the mobs of youth started to chant ‘BlackLivesMatter’. Suggesting that they were being mistreated and racially targeted by the police.
In my opinion this causes an large issue as it is a complete misuse of #BlackLivesMatter movement. By people being violent and aggressive it contradicts the peaceful message behind the initial movement, being to stop violence towards black people.
Many more scenarios took place throughout the rest of 2016, protests started to turn violent, #blacklivesmatter was being used as an excuse for violent events to happen and people started to compare the once peaceful movement to past violent and extremist movements.
I think that by black people retaliating violently to the mistreating of other black people as well as using the #blacklivesmatter movement to justify antisocial behaviour, is making things worse. It feeds the preconceived perception that people already have about the black community, spoiling the original message that BlackLivesMatter wanted to send out.