So far, we’ve learned how politics, social influences, and education have affected the black community in America. So far, we’ve learned that social institutions have found every chance to exploit, oppress, and undermine blacks in this country. We’ve also learned that with unison and swift tactical responses, there is hope for blacks in this country. From W.E.B DuBois to Keeanga Taylor, we’ve learned that going forward with black movements, these tactics have to include social cohesion. With class and racial differences, the upper middle class has pitted lower middle class and middle class whites against blacks. Various authors from the readings have mentioned that going forward, blacks and movements like Black Lives Matter, need to try to include this group of people in the movement. Maintaining the racial identity, black thinkers have established the black revolution as one that must refer to class and status, and one that has to take on institutions that are bigger than racial disparities.
As time has progressed, slavery morphed into lynching and Jim Crow, and lynching morphed into shootings and mass incarceration. The violence and oppression against black faces has seen a distasteful parallel to that of a previous era. Under political tycoons, racist policies have targeted black families with various methods, but the outcome has always been the same. As always, protests are labeled as riots, and are met with swat teams and tear gas. In the 60’s they were met with powerful water hoses and dogs. Again, different methods, but the same outcome. Going forward, there seems to be a much more common consensus about the change in tactics to combat such drastic methods. More people have absorbed the idea that “black faces in high places” isn’t the solution to the revolution. More people have understood that civil unrest has to be persistent and forceful. And with this new knowledge, there will be progress.
Growing up in a society that seems to value all lives except for those who look like you can be a harrowing experience. Seeing and hearing things that you thought were of the past, stories passed own from ancestors you never got the chance to meet. Except now its reality. Prior to this class I’d never thought in depth about the many issues faced by people of color in this country in terms of how we can fix it. We all face issue (sometimes life and death issues) that has always been a fact of life. I’d never really thought too much of it. Life was just this in between place, you come here you gain some experiences and then you’re gone, everyone has a unique set of experiences and that’s just the way it is. I can distinctly remember a time in my life when I had no idea that there was anything other than the poverty, struggle and violence that I saw all around me. When the view outside of your bedroom is the local drug dealer standing on the corner, a few social injustices don’t seem all that important.
#BlackLivesMatter swept through the world like nothing I’d ever seen before. This movement gave people of color a voice in a multitude of platform (social media, tv, etc.) in a way that they never had before. All of a sudden there was a sense of hope even throughout all of the horrendous things that were happening all over the country. The election of Donald J. Trump for president of the United States was not so much a surprise as it was a disappointment. Despite everything that was happening I still held out hope that American voter would get past the idea of voting for ‘the lesser of two evils’ and vote based on competency. After riding on the eight year reign of hope that came with the election and re-election of Obama. having a man who spews hate laced rhetoric in the white house was quite daunting. All that we can do as a community is keep moving forward and have hope that things will turn around. We have never been ones to take things lying down, and I don’t suspect that we will start now. I believe that this moment will be one of the stories that I pass down to descendants, who never got to the chance to meet me. I will leave them stories of hate and fear and most of all hope.
Throughout the history of the United States, there have been many movements started to bring awareness to the injustices of specific communities, and minority groups. The freedom that the #BlackLivesMatter movement speaks of is one that has not been achieved as yet. It is a freedom that is a work in progress, though, we have came along way from slavery, people must understand that we are still not in a space and time where we as African Americans, and Minorities feel the same freedoms as our white brothers and sisters. The way we address this issue is by bringing awareness to the key problem that is rooted in the racist established system that still exists today. I have heard in class and outside the classroom that we should be happy slavery no longer exists, however, the ideals and the racism behind it still does. This is the reason why we continue to fight and continue to create a movement that helps us create a voice for our current situation. The #BlackLivesMatter movement have been criticized for encouraging violence, even when the movement has made it clear that they are not the reason why people commit some of these violent acts towards innocent people, but, the medias portrayal and narrative of the movement takes away the meaning behind why it was established. When I look at TV programs such as Tomi Lahren’s show, that preaches a narrative that is not representative of what the #BlackLivesMatter stands for, it takes away from the importance of the movement and getting people to acknowledge the problems that plagues the country. Without acknowledgement we are clouded by a false narrative that taps into a historical mentality that existed in the times of Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. There cannot be any progress with people trying to justify their beliefs, and way of thinking because of a movement that does not affect them. Instead of looking to places that feeds into ones ignorance, you must step outside that box and actually look into the severity of the situation. It is hard to understand a movement where you have never had to fight for the rights that the movement is seeking to achieve, therefore, without learning and understanding the movement from a historical point of view can help eliminate the ignorance that exits. Somebody who is aware is not necessarily sensitive to the movement because they do not have to worry about the privilege they have.
“Violence and brutality have always defined the police’s relationship to African Americans. There is no “golden age” of policing to which elected officials can point, and there is little reason for optimism that American police can truly be reformed.”
In Chapter 4 of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation,” Taylor discusses the relationship between the police and the black community in America, and its historical relevance. She brings up an interesting point about how the long standing relationship between the two social groups has always been negative. We are now living in what most Black scholars call the “New Jim Crow” era, due to the immense arrest rates within the black community. Not only the arrest rates, but when looking at the murder rates of black men at the hands of officers, it is important to note the amount of force that is almost always involved. Taylor reminds us of the comparison of police brutality among most developed nations, giving the numbers of police shootings of each nation in the past seven years with the US at a record 7,427, Canada at 78, England at four, Germany at zero, and China at 12 (130). These numbers are outrageous. They show that the police force in this nation is by far more endangering to the people than it is helpful. The level of force police are using to serve the community is more than any other nation, even communist nations. As police funding has been increased, the methods of policing seem to be getting more militarized. People should not be dying for running. If unarmed, people should be treated as such, not like violent animals. This is the reason for Black Lives Matter. Black people are the main target for such violent and unhinged aggression by police.
I shouldn’t have to be terrified if I get pulled over. I shouldn’t be afraid for my life or anyone I care about when I see a police car on the street. People who don’t understand the historical relationship with black people and the police will always argue “if you abide, you won’t get hurt.” Ignorance is not bliss, and it’s not attractive. Police have not always presented themselves within the black community as a force of service, but more as a force of surveil.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the men and women in blue patrolling the streets of the United States have been given a license to kill—and have demonstrated a consistent propensity to use it. More often than not, police violence, including murder and attempted murder, is directed at African Americans.”
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta (2016-02-01). From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Kindle Locations 147-149). Haymarket Books. Kindle Edition.
Over the years, shootings of African-American males by police officers has been an epidemic that has not gotten better or worse; it’s just being broadcasted worldwide. Taylor refers to the protests that have taken place since 2009 because of these shootings. Taylor points out the protests are in direct response to the unjust shootings, which have sparked a wave of civil unrest across the nation.
As it stands, the protests that have taken place are not going to be the answer to the unjust events that are currently taking place in this country. Taylor offers criticism of the first black president, Barack Obama, mentioning that she doesn’t believe he contributed enough to the black power struggle. This criticism is fair in that is analyzes the presidency that was expected of Obama by the black community. Taylor also mentions the idea of a parallel of the 20th and 21st centuries, how black people continually get swept up in the comfort of having a black leader to lead us to the promised land. Taylor calls these figures “black faces in high places,” insinuating that these leaders are offering more distraction and comfort than they are actually helping. This is not necessarily to say that blacks in America believed that Obama would be the savior of the black struggle, but seeing a black face in the most powerful position in the world was a light if shining hope. As a people, there needs to be less reliance on a black leader who is positioned in the media as our Messiah. The answer to the struggle of blacks relies heavily on unity and focus. We cannot allow ourselves to sit back and wait for the next MLK or the next Malcolm X. There needs to be proper civil unrest. There needs to be fashion industry boycotts, mainstream sports boycotts, etc. Until justice is found, there needs to be no more disenfranchised movements. #Blacklivesmatter is a key movement, but there is too much division about what it’s platform is because of media outlets and extremists taking the message into their own hands. We cannot continue to allow ourselves to fall into this whirlwind of distraction. The goal is to finally be people who are looked at and treated both equally and fairly. The means to get there has to be revolution in our homes, schools, and government.