7 Myths About Black Lives Matter People Need To Stop Believing
Written by Black Voices on September 18, 2020
Within the wake of police violence towards George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and numerous different Black women and men, the Black Lives Matter motion as soon as once more has the nationwide highlight. However with a lot confusion and disinformation plaguing the dialog, not everybody understands what BLM is or the way it works.
At greatest, myths about Black Lives Matter stop folks from giving their assist. At worst, these myths actively detract from the motion and the anti-racism work its members have been doing.
“What some folks would possibly name myths, I don’t see them as myths ― I see them as instruments by different teams used to do hurt, cease change and keep the established order,” stated Richard M. Cooper, a scientific assistant professor at Widener College whose work facilities on race and social justice points.
In different phrases, myths don’t simply fall from the sky. They’re created. “They’re a instrument to supply misinformation, to incite worry, to get folks to misconceive a difficulty in order that …we don’t have to advertise structural change,” Cooper stated.
With that stated, right here’s a have a look at probably the most dangerous untruths surrounding the Black Lives Matter motion that want to finish.
1. It’s new.
The phrase “Black lives matter” wasn’t actually a part of the trendy dialog till the killing of Trayvon Martin, when author and activist Alicia Garza included the phrase in a Fb submit and it was amplified by others. However the thought has been fought for over the previous a number of hundred years.
“It’s actually a continuation of the legacy of combating for civil rights and social justice by folks of shade, notably Black folks…. It simply occurs to be known as ‘Black Lives Matter’ now,” Cooper stated.
He added that the one factor that’s actually modified is the entry activists should platforms, notably on-line, and the pace with which individuals can get that info. “However we’re nonetheless speaking about an ethnic group of people that have needed to continuously and constantly combat for social company and human rights in a society that continues to search out methods to disclaim them of such,” Cooper stated.
2. It’s disorganized.
There are three well-known founders of the Black Lives Matter group, together with Garza, however the common motion by that very same identify is a decentralized, grassroots effort that spans areas, demographics and mediums. For that purpose, some critics say that it lacks management or a transparent agenda. Nevertheless, Cooper stated that is largely a generational misunderstanding.
In relation to the combat for civil rights, older generations have been accustomed to seeing it unfold a sure approach: A nationwide or regional chief would function the spokesperson, organizing protests, sit-ins and different strategies of demonstration, and lead the cost for change.
Black Lives Matter, then again, exists in pockets throughout the nation (and the globe). There’s no “proper approach” to get the message throughout, and members from hyperlocal chapters and different organizations depend on quite a lot of strategies, together with sustained protesting, social media campaigns, artwork and poetry.
In accordance with Cooper, the criticism reveals a lack of knowledge concerning the explicit options of the organizers and their methods. “They’ve been very good and natural,” Cooper stated.
For an outsider, it may appear disorganized. However like demonstrations of the previous, such because the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott within the 1950s, many strategic selections have been made that folks of shade don’t get sufficient credit score for, Cooper stated. “It reveals a degree of sophistication, really, and an understanding of nuances and regional variations that this group has organized much better than previous actions.”
3. It’s pro-violence.
About 93% of the 10,600-plus racial justice protests within the U.S. this summer season have been peaceable. People who did develop into violent concerned aggression by police or by counterprotesters from extremist teams, researchers famous. However one-off cases of violence, looting and aggressive demonstrators have been conflated to counsel the Black Lives Matter motion employs and condones violence.
“It’s absurd as a result of it’s the factor we’re protesting towards,” stated Michelle Saahene, co-founder of the activist group From Privilege to Progress. “Individuals want to have the ability to differentiate between protesters and rioters, or protesters and opportunists.”
The unlucky reality is that there’ll all the time be outliers who search for alternatives to trigger chaos or hurt throughout tense instances. Looting and riots additionally happen due to hurricanes, sporting occasions and for a lot of different horrible causes. That doesn’t excuse the violence surrounding Black Lives Matter protests, by any means. However it is very important perceive that the actions of those people should not aligned with the mission of the motion.
And typically the violence is strategic. The riots that passed off in Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd, for instance, have been stoked by a white supremacist. Two folks have been killed and a medic was wounded by a white teenager with a semiautomatic rifle at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, final month.
“As a result of there’s a lot anti-Blackness, and white supremacy needs to be protected in any respect prices, folks exit of their solution to make it appear to be this motion is a violent motion,” Saahene stated. “Individuals actually need to simply assume a little bit bit deeper… about what Black Lives Matter really stands for and what they’re combating towards. Violence simply doesn’t make any sense.”
4. It’s anti-police.
Legislation enforcement’s monitor report with Black Individuals is troubling, to say the least. Not solely are Black women and men disproportionately stopped, arrested and killed by police, many of those cases of violence happen following 911 calls for pretty routine points.
However the Black Lives Matter motion is just not about retaliation or eliminating police. Relatively, it’s about inspecting the construction of regulation enforcement and the way it can higher serve communities, particularly Black and brown ones.
Defunding the police is an enormous a part of that purpose. And that thought is frightening to lots of people, actually because they don’t perceive what it means. Defunding isn’t about abolishing regulation enforcement. “It’s to have a look at how police departments have been funded to do issues that they shouldn’t essentially should do anyway and don’t essentially do effectively, that may be higher met by different teams who’ve been educated in another way and supplied higher sources,” Cooper stated.
For instance, home disturbances or psychological well being crises might be responded to by social staff or medical professionals quite than armed law enforcement officials. “If you happen to come to a state of affairs with a weapon, there’s a risk, even with a selected police officer who could also be well-intentioned, for one thing to escalate if for no different purpose than you’re coming with a gun,” Cooper stated. The purpose could be to deescalate a majority of these conditions with out the necessity for pressure ― and hopefully save lives within the course of.
5. It’s racist.
The phrase “Black lives matter” is just not meant to be divisive. And but it ruffles some (white) folks’s feathers. Some even go as far as to say that prioritizing Black lives is a type of reverse racism (which, by the way in which, is just not a factor).
“As a result of our lives are handled as in the event that they don’t matter, we’ve to particularly say that they do,” Saahene stated. “It’s only a phrase to get folks to grasp that as a result of you’ve black pores and skin doesn’t imply that you ought to be handled any in another way and definitely doesn’t imply that your life ought to be reduce brief.”
“We’re not saying Black lives matter extra, we’re saying they matter too,” added Melissa DePino, who co-founded From Privilege to Progress alongside Saahene. “It’s not about giving somebody extra and another person much less. It’s about making a state of affairs during which all people has the identical privileges.”
6. It’s a entrance for Democratic funding.
Saahene stated that there’s a false impression that the Black Lives Matter motion arose for the aim of gaining political management.
One of many largest contributors to this concept is probably going a now-deleted Fb submit that claimed donations to Black Lives Matter have been being funneled to a “Democrat Tremendous PAC.”
The claims have been primarily based on a video circulated on social media that confirmed that makes an attempt to make donations on the Black Lives Matter web site redirected customers to a web site known as ActBlue. The video then confirmed a web page on OpenSecrets.org that tracked how ActBlue spends its cash, highlighting a number of multimillion-dollar contributions to campaigns for Democratic presidential candidates resembling Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden.
What’s misunderstood on this video and the following Fb submit is that ActBlue is just a donation processing platform. Although it’s fashionable amongst Democratic politicians and progressive nonprofits, it acts equally to PayPal or different on-line cost methods. ActBlue doesn’t really pocket any of the donations or determine how they’re allotted. A donation to Black Lives Matter goes to Black Lives Matter.
Although members of the motion do search to vary most of the legal guidelines and insurance policies that hurt Black folks, Saahene stated, it’s not a political group. “They’re activists like me.”
7. It’s on Black BLM supporters to repair racism.
Although it may be tempting for white folks to lean on Black buddies and colleagues to coach them about racism and level out the place it’s taking place, the reality is that it’s not their job to repair racism. There’s sufficient emotional labor to coping with racism in on a regular basis life; the very last thing white allies have to do is add to that burden.
“Once you’re doing anti-racism work, you may’t all the time have the victims doing the work,” Cooper stated. “It’s those that have the benefits, structurally and traditionally, who have to be rolling up their sleeves.”
DePino agreed that racism is just not a “Black downside” and it’s as much as white folks to be taught historical past, acknowledge and perceive their biases, and work out how one can cease inflicting hurt, even when it’s unintentional. “That’s the work that we’ve to do. And we are able to’t simply listen when somebody will get murdered. We now have to concentrate on a regular basis and combine it into our on a regular basis life.”