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My colleague recently wrote a piece about the tolerance surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. I agree with Brust that if society is not acting progressively, then change will not come. However, this issue with acting progressively is not a flaw within BLM, but a flaw within white society.
I agree with Brust that the job cuts at University of Missouri are terrible. However, it is hard for me to agree with the cause being BLM because they are not responsible for the atmosphere of white supremacy on that campus. It is the fault of the institution that did nothing for decades to combat the lack of racial diversity on their campus, and they are now facing the repercussions.
Brust said, “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.” I agree that change within the police department must be done. Brust mentions that Fort Collins is now expanding its body mounted camera program, which is excellent. But, the reality is, adding body cameras isn’t enough. Philando Castile’s murderer is still walking freely, even getting paid money for what he did, and the video evidence couldn’t be clearer.
People need to remember that police choose to put on their uniforms every day. Black citizens cannot choose to be black. This is the difference. Peaceful discourse, though the best choice, isn’t always an option when you’re afraid of being killed by the people hired to protect you.
Brust says, “Second, violent cells within the movement must be eradicated. The only was to end violence is to promote peace…Burning property, not allowing conservative politicians to speak, and fighting violent police officers with violent protests is not progressive…Finally, I am tired of relentless, meaningless, destructive protests.”
These protests are all but meaningless. Protests are meant to inconvenience the public. I do not agree with any destruction of property, but in no way, shape or form is property more important than the lives of these people. The public shines such a negative light on BLM damaging people’s property, but when it comes to a teenage boy being shot for being in a car, or a man being shot seven times in front of his daughter, people are silent.
In regards to not allowing conservative politicians to speak, I believe that it is their right to speak up against someone who has demonstrated avid white supremacist views. The specific incident in question is the author and commentator, not politician, Heather MacDonald, who has written many books about the war on police. MacDonald, like many others, need to remember that police choose to put on their uniforms every day, while black people do not. Black people don’t get to choose whether or not their life is on the line, police officers do.
Brust says, “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.”
Overall, it is difficult for me to agree with this article because it still exercises a form of ignorance towards BLM. There is a thought process among people that if black people learn to behave in a certain way, white supremacy and its oppression will disappear. It is the same thought process behind the idea that if women stop dressing a certain way, they won’t be raped. It is blaming the victim. The problem is it’s never worked, and it will never work because there is no reason for racism to exist in the first place. People aren’t racist because of something black people say or do, so no change in their behavior will make it stop.
Being a supporter of Black Lives Matter means just that: supporting. As a white person, it is not up to us to decide what is right for their movement, because we have never been in their shoes.
Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams