by Delta S.
Today in America 2020 black people are still being mistreated. Of course, there are changes like no more slavery, Jim Crow, and many more disadvantages. But that doesn’t mean black people have it easy; police brutality is still here. Racism is still a thing. It’s quieter and not talked about in the media sometimes. In June 2013, a movement called, “Black Lives Matter” was founded. It began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting death of African American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012 (Bellan). The media took notice of the movement following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Both of their deaths resulted in protests and unrest in a city near St. Louis and in New York City.
The U.S. population’s perception of Black Lives Matter changes mainly by race, but the majority of Americans from all racial and ethnic groups have shown their support for the movement. A 2020 Pew Research Center poll (Parker) found that 60% of white, 77% of Hispanics, 75% of Asians, and 86% of African Americans indicated “strongly support” or “somewhat support” despite the mainstream media saying people have mixed feelings. There is also a phrase called “All Lives Matter” being used as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some individuals have used the phrase to mock the black lives matter movement (Roose), and the phrase has been faulted for dismissing or misunderstanding the message of “Black Lives Matter.” The message of “Black Lives Matter” is to bring awareness of the injustice black people continue to face, and it’s not saying that all lives don’t matter. Police brutality and other forms of racism and oppression against African Americans suggest that black lives don’t matter. Therefore, “Black Lives Matter” needs to be recognized in order for “All Lives Matter” to even be a reality.
Recently the media attention shifted to the protests against police brutality that have risen across the country following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. But this is nothing new; police officers have fatally shot about 1,000 Americans every year between 2015 and 2019, and some go unnoticed in the media (Berman). Black people are consistently most at risk of being killed by police. This year has been no different at all and is being normalized all the time which is sad. America has to understand this is a huge problem, and it has to be solved. The next generation will have to deal with this, or it will never be changed. It’s time for a change. The media has shown little attention to protests against police brutality or misconduct over the years. Although the Black Lives Matter movement has been featured, the national media has not highlighted the protests as action in response to the movement.
According to a recent article, between 2017 and 2019 the phrase “Black Lives Matter” appeared less than half as frequently in closed caption data of cable news broadcast and headlines of online news articles as it did between 2014 and 2016 (Mehta). In the Trump era, mainstream press limited talking about Black Lives Matter. The protest for George Floyd’s death was shown in the media as negative. They kept showing the looting and rioting and barely showed a peaceful protest. There was also no coverage on the status of the police officers responsible for the murder of George Floyd. Their actions are the reason all this is happening, and unrest could be resolved with the arrest and conviction of the police officers. Black people are tired of the injustice happening in America and want change. It is important for protest movements to receive media coverage because it makes a huge difference. In order to successfully achieve justice and equality, protests must happen and they need to be disruptive enough to bring awareness on a national level.
Black Lives Matter movement functions as a resource and provides information about the treatment of African Americans and others who support the movement. The media needs to show how the police are assaulting and arresting the protesters. There was even a case of a police patrol car running into a group of protestors. From teargassing and pepper-spraying children to pushing an elderly man leading to a major head injury, some police officers feel they can do anything they want and the media turns a blind eye to it. It is sad and needs to come to light. There are also random racist people pulling guns on peaceful protesters, for example, a St. Louis couple pulling guns on Black Lives Matter protesters (Burke). Most protestors are being peaceful and things like that happen. With more public support for Black Lives Matter, I feel like change will come. It might take time, but we’ll get there. To get further to that goal it starts with ending police brutality. The police need to be examined and background checked to even see if they’re qualified for the job. Furthermore, the media needs to call out and bring national attention to every instance of injustice black people face.
Bellan, Rebecca. “Gen Z Leads the Black Lives Matter Movement, On and Off Social Media.” Forbes, 12 June 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccabellan/2020/06/12/gen-z-leads-the-black-lives-matter-movement-on-and-off-social-media/#24e22a8819a8. Accessed 1 August 2020.
Berman, Mark, et al. “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people.” The Washington Post, 8 June 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html. Accessed 1 August 2020.
Burke, Minyvonne. “Police seize rifle from St. Louis couple who pulled guns on Black Lives Matter protesters.” NBC News, 11 July 2020, www.nbcnews.com. Accessed 1 August 2020.
Mehta, Dhrumil. “National Media Coverage Of Black Lives Matter Had Fallen During The Trump Era — Until Now.” FiveThirtyEight, 11 June 2020, www.fivethirtyeight.com/features/national-media-coverage-of-black-lives-matter-had-fallen-during-the-trump-era-until-now/. Accessed 1 August 2020.
Parker, Kim, et al. “Amid Protests, Majorities across Racial and Ethnic Groups Express Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement.” Pew Research Center, 12 June 2020, www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/06/12/amid-protests-majorities-across-racial-and-ethnic-groups-express-support-for-the-black-lives-matter-movement/. Accessed 1 August 2020.
Roose, Kevin. “Social Media Giants Support Racial Justice. Their Products Undermine It.” The New York Times, 19 June 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/technology/facebook-youtube-twitter-black-lives-matter.html?searchResultPosition=5. Accessed 1 August 2020.