Black lives matter and I am tired of saying it [Opinion]

Brianna Patt, Senior Reporter

In light of the political discourse around the Black Lives Matter movement, there appears to be a need for a discussion about why there was such a harsh reaction to recent incidents. 

Conservative political commentator Candace Owens recently tweeted that a part of the problem with Black Lives Matter is the fact that it’s a by-product of a privileged, spoiled generation. 

Contrary to the belief of Owens, the majority of the black community is not looking to play the victim, at least in my experience. We just are, even when we try to prepare for the worst possible outcome. This is best exemplified in “the talk”,  the one young black children get about how to survive an encounter with the police: don’t move too fast when pulled over, don’t talk back, regardless of what it is, always do what the officer asks of you, etc. You are taught to do everything in your power to survive what should be a simple traffic stop. Even all of the racist incidents that have been caught on camera are a result of being taught that someone is less likely to continue their behavior if they believe there is a chance it’s going to be put on social media. This, in and of itself, should be indicative of something: clearly, there is a deep-seated fear of the police and of the racism that’s rampant in this country. 

As for the assumption of privilege or the belief that these acts are needlessly violent, think about the events that have taken place throughout time. When kids like Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice were needlessly killed and no justice was sought, it aggravated me, but the rationalization of these events got to me. 

Whether I knew it or not, there was clearly some part of my mind where it really didn’t make sense for police to harm innocent people for no real reason and to just get away with it. 

My feelings notably changed when Philando Castille was shot. It was the first police brutality video I ever watched and I was absolutely shattered. Because Philando Castille listened to the police and did what he was asked. It made no difference in the end. 

Then, there were the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and so many more. When these incidents happened back to back with so little reason as to why and no justice obtained, people get tired. It feels like there is no resolution that will make things better at this point. 

I have also heard the argument that despite the extent of police brutality and how it has been highlighted recently, the violence protestors have exhibited is in no way helpful either. To that, I would argue that this is more the spun narrative than the truth. 

All protests did not begin violently and problems truly began when police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets on the protestors. 

As for looting and rioting, there have been people who have stated that those responsible for these incidents aren’t even the protestors

Then, the argument that police shouldn’t be generalized as bad, they are human, and therefore, they are prone to mistakes that should not always be considered acts of racism. 

But, much like lawyers and surgeons, the job of an officer includes making life or death decisions. They have to inherently be more cautious and alert than the average person in the average profession. They can’t afford to jump to conclusions or slip up frequently because it could cost someone their life. And if they do, it goes without saying that since they went into the field aware of the responsibilities and dangers involved, it shouldn’t be surprising to them if they lose their job due to being irresponsible. 

In the case of George Floyd, there’s also the rebuttal that he had a violent criminal history and that leaked video footage shows him being difficult, making the response of the officers necessary. But from the bodycam footage I saw, Floyd was not behaving violently towards the officers, so there was no need for the force that was exercised. Fot eight minutes and 46 seconds that man had his neck kneeled on. Almost nine minutes, far past the time that he passed out. The officer could have tased him, he could have stopped when Floyd stopped moving. But, the officer kept going. He was unnecessarily brutal, and even if to some it can’t be considered racial, that still does not make it right.

 

Well, if we know what was done wrong, what can we do to fix these issues? How can we even begin to stop the police brutality that is so rampant today? 

As I stated before, the amount of work it would take is why I think there is no easy or simple solution in sight. When people discuss the “system,” that is causing the problems we have today, it truly is that, a system. It’s a combination of police brutality where justice is rarely obtained (Tamir Rice and Philando Castille), a lack of proper training for officers, racial biases people hold that result in them immediately becoming suspicious of black people (Ahmaud Arbery) and so many more. 

But, the best place to start would be for people to listen. Being black is a different experience where you are carrying a certain level of stress and fear about what could happen if you do one thing wrong or do everything right. The riots and protests that have happened are not due to us (black people) dragging up the pain of the past or being a spoiled generation. It’s due to us doing our best to accommodate, doing our best to be heard and continuously being ignored and belittled.