by Erica Kuhlmann ’22
The phrase “Blue Lives Matter” has become representative of the opposition against the Black Lives Matter movement. Those who support and use the phrase might ask why others are so against its use. The reason is simple: “blue lives” do not matter, because they do not exist. Black people have no choice in their skin color; they are oppressed from the moment they are born and have no say in the matter. Every person who is a police officer made the active choice to join that profession, and continually makes the active choice to remain in it. At the end of the workday, police officers can remove their uniforms and no longer be viewed as “blue.”
Furthermore, cops are not facing oppression nor are their lives being devalued. Police officers experience danger in their profession not because they are “blue,” but because it is a part of the job that they knew about when they signed up for it. Especially right now, the stigma around police is very justified. It has been repeatedly shown that excessive violence is not only allowed by their work environment, but expected, and maybe even encouraged.
In fact, it is excessive respect of cops that allows them to get away with crimes such as unnecessary lethal force. A respectful, calm, and polite demeanor is expected when dealing with any police officer. Customer service workers may be constantly yelled at and degraded and still be expected to do their job accurately, and they deal with things much less important than the lives of people. Why is this same standard not applied to police? Why does disrespecting a police officer supposedly make you “deserve” violence or harsher punishment? Any police officer angry at a recent shift in attitude towards police is not angry because they are being treated badly; they are angry because they are no longer being treated as superior and above the very law that they are supposed to be enforcing.