Learning the Truth of Black Lives Matter

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Photo Courtesy of Sam Pe‎ñaloza

Lilian Rangel, Staff Writer

Shooting, protests, and riots are increasingly dominating the news. These events are riddled with controversy and have mass coverage by the media. Many of these news stories surround the powerful Black Lives Matter movement.

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 as a response to the killing of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by George Zimmerman. The movement believes that African-Americans are constantly targeted with violence and discrimination, and the movement attempts to bring awareness through protests. Over the last few years, these protests have taken place in Ferguson, Mo., Charleston, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C., and the movement continues to expand with every shooting.

With the mass attention brought to these infamous shootings, controversy has surrounded the movement itself. While most of the movement’s protests attempt to be peaceful, many escalate to violent outbursts that result in injuries and property damage across several cities. Many city and state leaders have come out against the movement, calling it an excuse for violence that is justified with over exaggerated racism.

However, I find that these critics seem to overlook the emotional tension and chaotic atmosphere surrounding these protests. Those that lead the protests often personally knew the victim affected, and their emotions are shared by the entire group. Once these strong emotions are combined, violent outbursts can occur because of the passionate atmosphere created by these communities.  The increasing focus on violence adds to the racial stereotype that African-Americans are typically more reckless and violent, which further deepens the racial divide

As I watch these violent scenes, especially with cases as close as El Cajon, Calif., unfold, I ask myself: Do we need to question every shooting? As a Mexican-American, should I care about this movement? Many others in this school share these same questions. Senior Ruby Nunez said, “My first question when I heard about the Black Lives Matter movement was what their goal was. If they don’t get a set of common goals the movement work towards, they way the civil rights movement had a plan, the movement can’t advance as far as they hope to.”

This movement is pointing out the racial divide that is a subconscious part of our society.  Prejudice against African-Americans, while not obvious, is still apparent in society, including the wage gap, disproportionate racial population in prisons, and the income gap.

If the movement has brought this much attention to an issue that has been ignored and minimized over the centuries, then it’s doing its job. It is opening our eyes, even my own, to the issue of racism that destroys thousands of lives in the U.S..

Living in a predominantly Latino community, it may be difficult for us to see the diversity across the country, and we become oblivious to the dangers minorities face within society.

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought to our attention the hostility African-Americans, and other minorities are facing with racism that still causes violence and discrimination. While only being shown the violence of the movement in the media, we may miss the main point of the movement, which is to show the public, the oppression still facing minorities and draw support to take action against this oppression.

While I may agree that the Black Lives Matter movement is not perfect and may not be the most successful movement in the fight against oppression, it is still a step in the right direction towards ending the inequality in America.