by Ayana Antoine ‘20
Minority groups, particularly people of color, have frequently suffered throughout the history of the United States. The country has made significant progress, as seen in the 2008 election of a black man into the presidency. However, the struggle for racial equality and justice has had to continue to this day and much of the debate centers on the series of highly publicized fatal shootings of black males by police officers across the country. These instances have caused varying opinions between those who want justice for black victims and those who believe the police are being unfairly blamed.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement considers itself “an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
BLM is a progressive activist organization that sees itself as continuation of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, The Washington Post quoted a Black Lives Matter feminist (BLMF) who explained that they “provide grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working advance the leadership and vision of young, black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America.”
Conflict began to arise when many members of the police community felt as though the police were not being accurately portrayed by the Black Lives Matter Movement and within the mainstream media so the police community created the counter-movement Blue Lives Matter, which “seeks to honor and recognize the actions of law enforcement, strengthen public support, and provide much-needed resources to law enforcement officers and their families.”
While the group is a “pro-police advocacy group,” the content of its website often directly refutes the position of Black Lives Matter; whereas Black Lives matter calls for a change in how police deal with minorities, Blue Lives Matter seems to take the position that it is the police who are the victims, claiming, “The media catered to movements such as Black Lives Matter, whose goal was the vilification of law enforcement.”
As both groups gained more publicity, they created logos to capture the meaning of both movements. The Black Lives Matter flag has the words “Black Lives Matter” across the bottom, and a colorless version of the American flag, which shows the contrast between black and white. The Blue Lives Matter’s flag has a blue stripe in the place of a white one, with the blue stripe symbolizing the role of police in today’s society.