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Home » Politics

Black Lives Matter: Understanding Its Origins, History, and Agendas

Submitted by on November 29, 2016 – 7:50 pm

Black Lives Matter: Understanding Its Origins, History, and Agendas

 

  • Established in 2013, in response to the acquittal of the man who killed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin
  • Seeks to stoke black rage over the “virulent anti-Black racism” that “permeates our society”
  • Says America was originally “built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery” and “continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color”

Black Lives Matter (BLM) was established as an online platform in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. Their objective was to stoke black rage and galvanize a protest movement in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the “white Hispanic” who was tried for murder and manslaughter after he had shot and killed a black Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin in a highly publicized February 2012 altercation. Before long, “Black Lives Matter” became a rallying cry for writers, public speakers, celebrities, demonstrators, and even rioters who took up the cause of demanding an end to what BLM terms the “virulent anti-Black racism” that “permeates our society.” In 2014, BLM also adopted the slogan “Hands Up–Don’t Shoot!,” which was first popularized by Dream Defenders and grew out of that year’s death of Michael Brown, a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri who was killed by a white police officer after he had tried to take the officer’s handgun during a confrontation. (In the immediate aftermath of that incident, numerous racial agitators circulated the false narrative that Brown had been shot after raising his hands in submission and pleading, “Don’t shoot.”)

Demanding that Americans “abandon the lie that the deep psychological wounds of slavery, racism and structural oppression are figments of the Black imagination,” BLM aims to force the country to become “uncomfortable about institutional racism.” Emphasizing the permanence and intransigence of American depredations, BLM maintains that the nation’s “corrupt democracy” was originally “built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery” and “continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color”; that “the ugly American traditions of patriarchy, classism, racism, and militarism” endure to this day; that “structural oppression” still “prevents so many from realizing their dreams”; and that blacks in the U.S. are routinely “de-humaniz[ed],” rendered “powerless at the hands of the state,” “deprived of [their] basic human rights and dignity,” and targeted for “extrajudicial killings … by police and vigilantes.” In sum, says BLM, black Americans are “collectively” subjected to “inhumane conditions” in a “white supremacist system.”

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