Black Lives Matter 's Approach Research Paper

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Black Lives Matter’s Approach is Contradictory to the Civil Disobedience of the Civil Rights Era Movement



The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has risen in response to what is perceived to be unfair treatment of African Americans by police. The movement stemmed from a social media hashtage #BlackLivesMatter that generated a following and resulted in the formation of a social activist group—BLM. The group’s objective is to “build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes” (Black Lives Matter). However, the interventionist method or approach of the BLM organization is more aggressive and hostile in terms of how it expresses itself, with many people viewing the BLM organization as similar to the Black Panthers, which advocated violence in order to achieve the desired change (Rankin). While the perception may be wrong and BLM may not in fact advocate violence, the behavior and expressions of the group, whether on social media or in public demonstrations, is a far cry from the resistance movements of the Civil Rights Era where leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. called for non-violent protest and civil disobedience rather than raucous noise-making, interruptive demonstrations, and loud and aggressive opposition.



One of the main differences between the BLM movement and the Civil Rights Movement is that the latter was actively engaged in a unified effort in specific parts of the nation in a proactive effort to achieve a defined objective.

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The BLM movement, on the other hand, is largely reactive, with local groups and chapter assembling in response to an incident, usually when an unarmed black person is shot or killed by white police officers. The BLM also originated as a social media phenomenon that then became a movement in real social terms with the group being founded and people pledging their support for the group, though the message of the group has altered in substance over time.



Another difference is that the BLM movement emphasizes sloganeering whereas the Civil Rights movement emphasized civil disobedience through organized and even extended peaceful protests—such as the bus boycott and the March on Washington. The BLM movement’s use of slogans has largely drawn criticism from those who feel it is mostly just a lot of noise coming from disaffected youths who do not know how to effectively channel their outrage in a meaningful or peaceful way so as to achieve real change in society (Rankin). The problem with the BLM movement from this angle is that it does not have a leader like MLK, Jr., at its helm and thus it is more inclined to engage in protests and anthems that fail to reflect a serious or organized approach to an issue that needs to be addressed.



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Works Cited

Black Lives Matter. “About.” BLM, 2018. https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

Rankin, Kenrya. “Poll Reveals that White America Views Black Lives Matter Movement as a Distraction.” ColorLines, 2015. https://www.colorlines.com/articles/poll-reveals-white-america-views-black-lives-matter-movement-distraction

Reynolds, Barbara. “I was a civil rights activist in the 1960s. But it’s hard for me to get behind Black Lives Matter.” Washington Post, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/24/i-was-a-civil-rights-activist-in-the-1960s-but-its-hard-for-me-to-get-behind-black-lives-matter/?utm_term=.63b4ad0b517a

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