Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.
It seems that the idealistic argument for social tolerance has hit its all time low.
As a social liberal, I believe that if society is not acting progressively, than change will not come. However, as an avid Black Lives Matter supporter and advocate, it has become difficult to cope with the violence the movement has recently embodied, especially since conflict is making an impact on college campuses. BLM was once a noble cause that brought light to a despicable situation; now it has turned destructive.
It is tragic, truly, that a movement with such beautiful goals has strayed so far from the noble path. Last week, University of Missouri had to cut the jobs of over 400 employees and close 7 dorms because of lack of student applications due to aggressive protests. This is only one instance that has put BLM in a negative spotlight.
I still consider myself a member of the BLM movement. After reporting and writing about police brutality victim and Fort Collins resident, Nina Askew, it was obvious that racially motivated crimes are relevant. Even in safe communities in Northern Colorado, racism is still very much alive, and to deny it is an injustice to our community.
I am very pleased that the Fort Collins police department recently finalized a major expansion to its body-mounted camera program. The program has since doubled the number of officers wearing the pen-sized devices, according to the Coloradoan. This is great news for our community, and I am happy we can start to move forward after recognizing our issues. I am grateful that Fort Collins can be a pillar for social change in a peaceful manner.
Change within the police department itself is not always a reality. However, peaceful discourse should still be a central goal in order for BLM to succeed.
First, racial tensions must subside from within. Hateful rhetoric from both sides has demanded segregation, not alliances to help a common goal. BLM is not a fight between black and white Americans, or black Americans and the police. This fight is to demand justice and accountability so that black lives are treated equally in our country. Equality does not stem from hateful rhetoric. All Americans need to expand their minds to the real issue at hand: American lives are being killed at high rates. Demanding police accountability is crucial, condemning an entire group for one crime is counterproductive. Those who respect the police need to understand that there are violent cells. White people and police should be encouraged to join the fight, not deterred because they are classified as enemies because of the color of their skin or career. It is bizarre that segregation is being fought with segregation.
Second, violent cells within the movement must be eradicated. The only way to end violence is to promote peace, and so I will make that attempt and hope my voice is loud enough. Burning property, not allowing conservative politicians to speak, and fighting violent police officers with violent protests is not progressive. To promote peace, we must work with peace.
Finally, I am tired of relentless, meaningless, destructive protests. If BLM wishes to eradicate institutionalized racism, we actually have to take action to eradicate it. I can tell you this, no lawmaker will create legislation because of a protest; there is nothing to work with. You can preach ‘SAVE BLACK LIVES’ until your voice runs dry and nothing will happen because you give a demand without a solution. However, if you, lets say, speak with city council every meeting for a month demanding legislation to bring new sensitivity training to the police department, you may actually spark change. Protests and violent acts will bring media attention and polarize issues– speaking directly with politicians will bring tangible solutions. Planning and logic could be the saving grace for the BLM movement.
We should be angry that black lives have been oppressed, but our anger should be communicated to our leaders through action, not violence. Anger breeds anger, hate breeds violence. This is the path towards a more segregated America, and we have mistakenly began that journey.
Opinion Editor Allec Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @allecbrust