Black Lives Matter


Brooke Elliott

Protestors gather for a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally on June 6, 2020.

The recent protest of George Floyds death has caused some controversy. Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin and three other officers, two of which have been released out of jail by bail.The protests and riots began as a result of the officers not being charged for Floyd’s death, which sparked the reinvigorated Black Lives Matter movement. Followers of Black Lives Matter were already distraught about the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and the death of Floyd fueled the protests. Taylor, an EMT in Louisville, Kentucky,was fatally shot in her home by the Louisville Metro Police Department, who executed a no-knock search for a drug dealer who was already in police custody. None of the eight police officers were arrested for her death. Unlike Floyd and Taylor, Arbery was shot by three civilians who thought he was responsible for recent bbreak-ins, they have been charged with second degree murder. 

Say you have five plants, but one plant is wilting due to the lack of sun. Do you treat all of the plants like they are wilting, or just the one that’s actually wilting? The idea of an “all lives matter” movement is equivalent to moving all the plants to the sun. If one flower is dying more quickly than the others, then do all of the plants truly matter? All lives can’t matter until everyone, including Black people and other minorities, matter as well. This is why people say Black lives matter.  Shouting “all lives matter” when Black people are being racially profiled and being killed in the streets is pointless and ignorant. While people are protesting for Black Lives Matter, all lives matter retaliates, and President Trump has a negative look on it.  

“These THUGS are dishonoring George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control, but when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump tweeted in reference to protesters in Minneapolis. 

 In contrast, when white protesters stormed the capitol to protest social distancing rules and quarantine due to the coronavirus, screamed in the face of police, and brought their guns, Trump said “The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.” 

When people are protesting the wrongful death of a black man, they are called thugs, but when white protesters are protesting quarantine during a pandemic, they are labeled as good people who are just angry. Trump clearly shows favoritism to the people who were protesting quarantine compared to people protesting police brutality. The only reason looting started in Minneapolis was because a Target there would not sell milk to protesters to help get pepper spray out of their eyes. Across the country, some people are using Floyd’s death to loot, and protesters are protesting his death peacefully. The two should not be grouped together. Many members of the public saw Floyd’s death as extreme and horrifying. If the looting and protesting upsets you more than the death of Floyd and many others, your priorities are messed up. 

 Trump’s response to protesting has encouraged police and the National Guard to use extreme force.The police are using high-grade pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tear gas,which is a chemical agent that was banned in warfare after World War I. Trump and the police are treating citizens protesting police brutality like war. 

Examples of this can be seen nationwide. Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe, pushed elderly Martin Gugino, causing him to fall backward and bleed from his head. Saraneka Martin was shot in the stomach with rubber bullets by the Austin Police Department while peacefully protesting, causing her to miscarry. These are some of the examples of police brutality found, but there is a lot more unreported. Citizens have even caught police planting bricks at protests on video. Police planted bricks to encourage protesters to be violent, in an attempt to justify their extreme use of force against protesters. Thankfully, protesters did not fall for it.The police have repeatedly abused their power, yet they are hardly reprimanded, and when they are, they get merely a slap on the wrist. 

Protesters are not just protesting the deaths of innocent people–they are protesting the system that supports police getting charges dismissed. They are protesting the systemic racism that upholds racist double standards. A Black woman may get sent home due to her hair being unprofessional, while a white woman wearing box braids may receive praise for starting a “trend.” A white man shooting up schools and churches is dismissed when the media says that he was just mentally ill, while a Black man selling loose cigarettes is choked to death by police.

Black Lives Matter protests things like locking up Black fathers for small crimes and giving harsher sentences, killing Black people in the streets like animals, laughing at Black kids for not having father figures, and traumatizing millions. It’s protesting being followed around a store because they assume that you’re stealing. It’s protesting the installment of colorism in the Black community, which makes unity harder to achieve. Colorism is the fetishization of having mixed kids, which then lends to mixed kids having a superiority complex. The Black Lives Matter movement protests forcing Black people into poor neighborhoods and the redlining causing poor education. It protests the idea that Black people are lazy for not accumulating wealth or achieving the American Dream after 400 years of oppression. The killings of George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, and many more unknown people are just the tip of the iceberg. The fight for Black Lives has just started. We have a long way to go. We can never stop fighting for equality.