Understanding the Reality of Racism Through the Black Lives Matter Movement

Often times we perceive All Lives Matter as being associated with criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. Although most times their judgment is based upon assumptions, false accusations and mostly misunderstandings. In the book I Don’t See Color: Personal and Critical Perspectives on White Privilege, Bettina Bergo and Tracey Nicholls discuss an interview between Bill O’Reilly and President Obama. During this interview, O’Reilly asks Obama how it makes him feel that so many people hate him (122). Obama replied, “The truth is that the people, and I’m sure previous presidents would say the same thing, whether it was Bush, or Clinton, or Reagan, or anybody, the people who dislike you don’t know you” (qtd.

in Bergo and Nicholls 122). So for the people who says Black Lives Matter is a racist hate group, they simply do not know the facts behind it. This goes for All Lives Matter as well; if we could take a look through their eyes we just might be able to understand them a bit more.

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For example, during the MSNBC news report Tim Wise stated, “When you are a member of a group that’s been able to take for granted its normalcy, its centrality to the narrative of what America means and you have to suddenly share that designation with people who don’t look like you, pray like you, have different cultural backgrounds, you could imagine that person feels decentered.”

White people claim All Lives Matter as a challenge to Black Lives Matter because it is their comfort zone.

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This is a comfort zone for most people because it takes race out of the conversation. Today’s society won’t progress if people are afraid to step out of their comfort zone. People in America are afraid to talk about race. The discussion of race in America centers around the protection of white people feelings. When bringing up racism individuals feel they are being attacked. They see racism as individuals although it is really a societal problem. People who feel attacked for being racist when we need to be considering how we can make society more equitable. According to the All Lives Matter website, “Our mission is to educate those who wish to know more about the movement for total equality for all.” We should team up with them to educate them about our mission and ideas that involve moving towards equality. According to the “About” page on the Black Lives Matter website, the movement expanded in response to the hundreds of deaths of young black men and women after Martin, who have died at the hands of police officers. This movement is centered around the ongoing injustices in America today.

The Black Lives Matter website asserts, “Black men and women are being gunned down by police officers prior to any opportunity for due process and the judicial system to do its work, and then those police officers walking away with no consequences.” This is what we are angry about, however people who are on the outside can’t relate. They don’t understand that every time an African American is shot down by a police officer, and no one is held accountable it beings to send a message to our people that we don’t matter. Black Lives Matter is working to make this idea a reality: the lives of black people do matter. The movement is simply fighting the issue of criminal injustice. All Lives Matter is coming along trying to broaden the discussion. For instance, the web page All Lives Matter introduces the issues of black-on-black crime by stating, “Black on-black murder rates are far higher than white-on-black murder rates according to FBI data from 2013.” Seem like they are trying to make this a war against white and black, and in reality it’s not. This is a war against injustice and a corrupt judicial system. When we discuss race we have a tendency to pick and choose what issues we want to address.

Yes, the black on-black crime rate is high, but 9 times out of 10 there is justices. So those facts that the website is presenting are irrelevant at the moment. Often times when speaking with white people about race it becomes a muted discussion which never really progresses. So for a period of time I thought it was because most of them were racist, although now I’ve realized its slightly different than that. Most times this conversation doesn’t go anywhere because white people don’t understand the minorities’ position in this world. We don’t talk about the things that upsets us within todays sociality often because we don’t want the people who identify as a majority to say we’re overreacting or that we make everything about race. But we have to look at it through their eyes, they don’t know the struggles that an average black person or any minority face every day in this sociality. Trevor Noah stated in an interview with the Breakfast Club, “There is a difference between claiming a victimhood and standing up and saying that the plain field is not leveled.” In Scott Morris’ 2014 documentary, White Like Me, Tim Wise, an anti-racist activist and writer of the book upon which the film is based, interviews people who say they are tired of people making things about race. If we could ignore race we would; however, society quickly reminds us of the color of our skin. Morris’ documentary illustrates that white people can enjoy the privilege of being free from this concern.

Some white people don’t understand that the color of their skin makes them privileged. When using the phrase All Lives Matter people demonstrate a blindness to the privilege of living outside a painful lens that highlights their race. White people don’t understand the issues of race because they never had to deal with it. People think that if we simply become color bind to race that racism won’t exist anymore. Behind this statement lies a malicious ignorance of America’s racist past and present. For example, during Tomi Lahren’s 2016 interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, she stated that she doesn’t see color. In response to that Trevor Noah said, “So what do you do at a stop light?” Seeing race is not the issue, however, the problem lies with how we address it. Racism isn’t being aware of race; however, it is the active discrimination mainly by a majority identifier being against a minority. The fact that white means normal and anything else is different is an example of racism.

When a person is constantly incapacitated because of a quality, it is impossible to become blind to that quality. America needs to become color conscious. We must understand that black folks think in terms of black folks. We live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as black people, so we think in the term of we. According to Wise, white people are not made to think about their race or in the terms of a group, because they have the privilege to interact with our society as individuals. According to Morris’ documentary, the system was made for white people; therefore, they are unaffected by it. For the people who support Black Lives Matter we must understand that white people are not affected directly by racial oppression even in their community, therefore whatever doesn’t affect them locally leaves a slight chance of it affecting them nationally. In order to get beyond racism, we must take account of race, so we cannot be color blind. So in order to treat others equally, we must treat them differently. We must understand that people come from a didn’t background and they are treated different within sociality.

To live within institutional racism and then arguing about its existence is beyond frustrating. Sociality must acknowledge that black people are being oppressed and have been for some time now. Trevor Noah’s 2016 interview asserts that the problem with this conversation is that people feel like acknowledging racial discrimination means taking something away from them. Which in the case of white people it’s a sense of power. White Americans are worried about black people challenging their place in the world. Nonminority’s need to take into concertation that it isn’t just about them Black Lives Matter are addressing these concerns because they are not stating that we as black people are superior to everyone else nor are we the only ones struggling in America. However, we are trying to make the violence and system racism towards black people a reality. Black Lives Matter has never made the statement that all lives don’t matter. Recognizing the existence of one discrimination does not deny the importance of others. Being pro-black, doesn’t mean anti-white or anti-police. There’s a difference between something being true and something being relevant. We don’t have to agree with this movement but at least we are in a position to hear the opposing view. Changing our perspective won’t happen overnight. It takes time for these kinds of things, although now we don’t have to be so quick to shut them down.

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Understanding the Reality of Racism Through the Black Lives Matter Movement. (2022, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/understanding-the-reality-of-racism-through-the-black-lives-matter-movement-essay

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