The Today, Tomorrow, and Forever of the Black Lives Matter Movement
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Multitudes of people in the U.S., Africa, Asia, and Europe have protested the death of 46-year-old George Floyd and several other unfortunate deaths of black men and women at the hands of the police. The momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement has spanned over the entire globe thanks to the power of social media.
Large media corporations tend to have bias and filters for certain topics. Apps like Twitter, Instagram, and even Tik Tok are used to capture the raw events that happen at protests as a way to avoid suppression of content. Social media allows us to witness first-hand accounts of the mistreatment of protesters, the aggression of police officers, and the fallacies spread to make peaceful protests look bad.
Bystanders were the main people who decided to capture the video of George Floyd's death, which fueled the subsequent events. If the videos had not been released to the public, could we be sure that Floyd's family would have received justice for his death? How many other deaths of innocent black men and women have been looked over because there was no pressure from the public?
Social media gives our voices power, voices that are constantly trying to be silenced. Without social media posts, I would never have learned about other victims of police brutality that were not covered by major media outlets. Such victims include Emerald Black, an African American woman who miscarried her baby due to an aggressive police officer, and Tony McDade, a transgender man who was killed by a police officer in Florida.
The circulation of knowledge also comes with the price of having to endure misleading facts or statistics aimed to discredit the movement. Notably, I have seen a couple of influencers who try to claim that our pain is justifiable, because the police kill more white people than black people.
The murder rate makes complete plausible sense, because white people account for 76 percent of the population, while African Americans account for 13 percent. The issue is that black people are disproportionately targeted and are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by the police. These misused statistics create a false narrative that can be used to take advantage of the willfully ignorant. Social media has done great things for the advancement of the movement, however, it is still subjected to its own discretion.
Over the past several months, posts that give light to current situations have been close to impossible to avoid, and if you are anything like me, then you appreciate the voice given to the movement. Simply reposting a picture or video that explains systematic racism does so much more than what could be expected.
Without people sharing links to petitions, donation sites, or lists of educational movies in relation to social justice issues, I would not have been able to participate to the extent that I have. Though all of the attention to the movement warms my heart, I cannot help but see some disingenuous individuals post on social media for the sole purpose of appeasing their peers.
For instance, Blackout Tuesday that took place in early June was a day when people were encouraged to post a black square to show solidarity with the movement and refrain from posting their usual content. While this was a good demonstration, it acted as an easy way for people to get out of further educating themselves and spreading awareness about what is happening around them and the movement in general.
This is why I would like to reiterate a very important point: the Black Lives Matter movement is not a trend. It is not just a month affair. It is not just a week affair. We must continue to educate ourselves and others on the frustrating realities of racism in America. Racism did not end because slavery ended in 1863. Our fight does not end just because you are not able to see it. It is a constant battle, and we will not stop until we see the end of police brutality in America.