Since 2013, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has gained a tremendous amount of traction all over the world.
The movement started after the murderer of Trayvon Martin was acquitted. Its purpose was to eradicate the violence and injustice faced by African Americans inflicted by the police and the State.
Today, BLM has become a global phenomenon. It has grown so big that it’s widely discussed and analysed on all social levels. Schools often ask students to write papers about BLM and tie them to various socio-political issues.
Reading some sample papers is a great way to look into how academics perceive Black Lives Matter, as well as to learn about its history and influence.
In this article, we’ll look at the main reasons why BLM gained so much influence.
Here are 5 top reasons BLM movement is important today:
1. Stats on Police Violence and Racial Discrimination in the U.S.
Members of the black communities in America have suffered for a long time, as described in a great book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. It describes how racism in the USA is embedded in governmental institutions and seeps into the level of the individual.
The following stats on racial discrimination in the USA should be an eye-opener to those who believe things like police brutality belong to the realm of conspiracy theories.
- Black people in the States are much more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses.
- Black men are 2.5 times more likely to die at the hands of the police than white men.
- African Americans make up 33% of the total population of the US prisons.
- On average, black people have an income 42% lower than white people.
These are just of the stats that show how important movements like BLM are and why they need to be supported to create equality in our society.
Of course, the problem is much more complicated than an average person may suppose. There’s a variety of factors that contribute to unequal wealth distribution in any country.
But the aforementioned stats should get anyone thinking about developing ways to create equal opportunities for every individual in the society, regardless of their ethnic background.
2. Microaggressions, Individual Racism, and Damaging Outcomes
While people can argue all they want about structural and institutionalized racism, the fact is that many people of color face individual racism on a very regular basis.
This can take the form of a plain insult or a microaggression. The microaggressions themselves result from structural racism. We can put them into three categories:
- Micro-assaults when someone intentionally says something discriminatory and yet doesn’t mean it as an insult. An example of this would be a racist joke.
- Micro-insults are examples of unintentional discrimination that may happen because of ignorance, like referring to a racial stereotype.
- Micro-invalidations are when someone invalidates an ethnic group’s experience while basing their judgement on spurious arguments and stereotypes.
Each of these ends up being damaging, either at an individual level or a social one and therefore must be dealt with by initiatives like Black Lives Matter.
3. This Confirms our Humanity
The simplest reason by far to support BLM is because humanity demands it. When we see real people being treated with discrimination, their rights taken away, and their voices silenced, we need to stand with them to show our support.
If no one speaks up and everyone lets violence and brutality take over, then the very idea of being a moral member of society comes into question.
Dante is quoted as saying that “the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Next time you see discrimination taking place in your surroundings, stop it.
4. BLM is Inspiring Real Change
Black Lives Matter is a movement that’s inspiring real change today, whether we talk about politics, entertainment, business, or another field of endeavor.
From protests against the mistreatment and killings of black people to exhibiting the work of black artists from the ages, BLM is shedding light on police brutality, racism and black culture.
After George Floyd’s death, however, the movement reached a completely new level. Here are some things that were achieved by BLM:
- Police reform, including relocating budgets to other departments, forbidding “no knock” search warrants and introducing policies like “duty-to-intervene” that require officers to step in when they see a blatant use of excessive force by their colleagues.
- Banning of chokehold maneuvers in 31 additional cities to reach a total of 62.
- Prohibition of racial and religious profiling and mandatory use of cameras on officers as part of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
5. BLM is Inspiring Global Change
BLM is not just limited to the USA at this point. It has turned into a global movement with support from people of all ethnicities and academic circles.
Here are some examples of how it is making waves in other parts of the world:
- Nigeria has seen a rise against the “Special Anti-Robbery Squad” that has long been involved in kidnapping people, murders, and extortion. The protests against the so-called SARS started after taking inspiration from BLM. The resulting EndSARS movement got global attention with people marching in protests in New York, London, Paris, and Toronto.
- In France, protests against the death of Adama Traore while he was in police custody were carried out. These protests also focused on police brutality in France, and they were successful in getting some changes made in the system.
- In the UK, countless people marched to support BLM. These protests also targeted racial politics in the country and tore down statues of famous enslavers, like Edward Coulson.
These are just three examples of places across the world that changed because of the BLM movement and inspired people to speak up against their own systems and politicians.
Black Lives Matter started from one incident and quickly became a global phenomenon that pertains to all minority groups who experience discrimination. It is the voice of millions of people around the planet today who want to shed light on the injustices that take place in their countries.
This is, by far, one of the most influential racial movements of all time, and supporting it means giving a voice to those who are still being discriminated against today.