Lives that Matter

Saba whitmore and Bill Waiswilos

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In the mass media, the movement known as  Black Lives Matter is a major focus. This is a widely discussed topic with many viewpoints. The core reasoning for BLM (Black Lives Matter)  is because the black culture sees police brutality and death of black citizens as a hate crime and they feel as though it is not being brought to justice. People lose faith in the justice system and those sworn to protect them. There is a mass hysteria and fear amongst black people. Hence the cause for protests that have been sweeping the nation.

The media has had a powerful effect on the movement. Especially influencing those who live in small towns and aren’t necessarily exposed to these protests. Many of the small town students that were interviewed were not as naive to the idea of white privilege. When asked if they believe that white privilege takes a role in police brutality most believed it had taken a major effect. One student had said “White privilege allows white people to view minorities with suspicion as they are not the “same” the change of skin color is a mitigating factor when facing a life or death situation. White privilege allows white people to have a veiled sense of perception that everything is “right” and they are thus unaffected by topics such as brutality because they are not the targeted group and as a result have an elevated status of protection because they are not a member of the oppressed group.” Some had varying opinions such as another student saying “I don’t really agree with that; I believe that cops get justice for everyone and protect the well being of citizens.” The difference between these two responses were that one was written by a minority and the other by that of a Caucasian race. In order to see the struggle of the Black Lives Matter protesters one really must have seen or felt injustice/ prejudice at one point.

Cases of hate crimes and protest surrounding these tend to be emphasized a lot more than they should be by the media, such as the Trayvon Martin case where the justice system in my eyes seemed to have failed. For the black culture this was the starting of a movement that hasn’t stopped. It struck a fire underneath the black community.

Most Americans see the deaths of blacks as another statistic due to the way media portrays them.  When asked about the number of deaths they considered to be apart of the police brutality against black people it ranged from 50 to 11,000. Once again just a number.

Officer Perna is the school resource officer who works at our school. He also is on patrol and watches over our town. We thought that by interviewing him about BLM, we could obtain a general opinion of a police officer. Officer Perna explained that racism has existed and will continue to exist in our society. When we asked his opinion on the slogan “Black Lives Matter” he responded with, “I think all lives matter.” According to Officer Perna, each case of police brutality is different and race should not play a role in police behavior. He mentioned how he noticed that the media uses a form of yellow journalism by sensationalizing certain cases regarding racial injustice. The media does this to increase revenue and so they will focus their broadcasts on those cases. This sensationalism is the reason why it is hard to estimate a number of black people killed as a result of police brutality since 2014. Neither race should be put on the spot in a negative light by the media to increase their revenue.

I know most are hoping Black Lives Matter  get more recognition for the jobs they’re doing in the black culture. All they want is acceptance and not to be gunned down, but in our society that will never happen. There will always be that black and white divide, unless we all become mixed. No race group who isn’t a minority will feel their pain. They’ll always be protected.img_2680

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