Stop Saying Black Lives Matter Is Anti-Cop
In the aftermath of the fatal attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, some are claiming that Black Lives Matter is to blame — and that the movement is anti-cop. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The perpetuation of this myth is racist and calculated to turn public sentiment against a movement that is, among other things, pushing for accountability and reforms in law enforcement.
Claiming that Black Lives Matter rejoices in the deaths of law enforcement is as absurd as saying that members of the military relish police deaths simply because both of the shooters were veterans.
Multiple police officials have spoken out on the subject, suggesting that there’s a war between law enforcement and black America being incited by members of Black Lives Matter.
“We as a people need to declare that we stand with rule of law, and not with the false tales of the revolutionary Marxist forces, who most recently have rebranded themselves from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter,” wrote Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.
But here’s what Black Lives Matter has to say about the value of police lives: “Police officers are people. Their lives have inherent value.”
The organization is working towards reforms in law enforcement that demilitarize policing, build trust between police officers and civilians and eliminate the racial profiling that makes it so dangerous to be a person of color in America.
“Thus the Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to make the world more unsafe for police officers,” they explain. “It hopes to make police officers less of a threat to communities of color.”
Those hasty to accuse the movement of including this language as a token effort on its website should think again.
Alicia Garza, one of the cofounders of the movement, spoke out on the subject after the Dallas shooting:
Black Lives Matter has never, ever called for the murder of police officers…at the same time as we grieve the loss of life of several officers who were killed last night, we can also push to demand that there be accountable, responsive, transparent policing that has oversight form communities and that is accountable to the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.
It is, in fact, possible to simultaneously demand accountability and condemn the killings of police officers.
Black Lives Matter opposes violence — focusing on officer-involved shootings and other excessive use of force incidents. But that opposition also includes opposing attacks on police.
People suggesting otherwise are trying to discredit and devalue the work that Black Lives Matter is doing, just like those leading “Blue Lives Matter” marches and championing legislation that treats attacks on police officers as hate crimes.
Being a police officer is something you do, but being black is something you are. Members of Black Lives Matter want to live in a world where it is safe to be black in public, but they believe that it should be safe to be a police officer, too.
The next time you hear someone referring to Black Lives Matter as anti-cop, be sure to set the record straight.
Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue