Racism and Resistance: Analysis of the Activity of Black Lives Matter Movement

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While white people may not be able to detect racism all the time, some encounter it and still do not act. Bell hooks recalls an interaction in her book, Killing Rage, when her friend is forced to move her seat after the plane had overbooked the flight. The white man who took her seat apologizes and claims that it was not his fault (hooks). While this may be true, hooks says in response that “it was an occasion for [him] to intervene in the harassment of a black woman and [he] chose [his] own comfort...” (hooks 9). White people could use their privilege to correct a situation that is wrong, however, many do not and allow the cycle of racism to continue. This may not seem like an overtly racist act on the flight attendant’s part; however, they automatically gave the seat to the white man instead of looking into it a bit more. The only solution in that moment for the flight attendants was that the man could get the seat. This happens very often, and for most white people, the excuse is that they did not see it. It is common for racism to escape the eyes of white people because they aren’t conditioned to see it. It also could be that white people don’t feel the need to look for it because they do not think it is an issue. It is very important for people to see racism, but it is pointless for white people to condition themselves to see it if they do nothing to correct it when they encounter it. Wise offers a story of his own when he called out a white man for telling a racist joke in front of a group of white people. After this man told his joke, Wise asked him why he thought a group of strangers, who only have the color of their skin in common that they know of, would enjoy that joke. From there, Wise explains that he was able to have a self-reflective conversation with this man for a more productive result. This is an example of white people using their privilege to call out racist behavior when they see it. Wise explains that “...[imposing] enough self-awareness and doubt into the mind of those who engage in racist behavior, we make it harder for such persons to blindly at on it” (Wise 197). If white people are regularly calling out those who have racist views, then those people will realize the errors they are making and the hurt they are causing.

Many feel that racism is not longer and issue but clearly there is still much more work for our country to do. Currently many forms of resistance of racism are under scrutiny, like the Black Lives Matter Movement. The movement really started to pick up notice after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old African American teenager (Black Lives Matter). The movement has protested the violence against black people and their communities in the wake of murders of black men and women by law enforcement. While this movement is about the outcry of the black communities calling for change in our society, many instead feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is promoting the idea that other lives do not matter. All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and any other critical slogan that is used against the BLM movement, are all responses that people use to falsify the goal of this movement. This is one of the biggest examples that can be used to demonstrate just how out of touch white Americans are in the wake of racist ideologies in the country. These responses to the BLM movement create the notion that those apart of this organization aim to create the narrative that other lives do not matter, which could not be further from the truth. The unfortunate truth is, America does not value the lives of black people. And while that might be controversial to say, slogans like All Lives Matter, are created to silence these organizations who are calling for social reform. Yes. All lives do matter, but all lives are not being targeted by law enforcement in the same way that black lives are. All lives are not being killed at the same rate as black lives. All lives are not being incarcerated as much as black lives. So, for the rest of the country to pretend that the BLM movement is not about black people marching for their lives and for their communities, is all the evidence you need that white Americans are oblivious to the racism in this country.

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I grew up in a conservative household in a town that was predominately white. My friends were white, and I could count the number of black people on my hand. Even though I lived with this isolation, race was still talked about in my house. I don’t believe my family to be hating people, and I don’t think they are overtly racist. However, growing up my family only watched Fox News and we often listened to nightly controversial commentary provided by Bill O’Reilly. My parents bought into a lot of the false narratives this news station puts out there. Most news sources bend the truth in order for a story to fit their message, however, Fox News tends to do this in an especially problematic way. When watching the protests in 2015 after the acquittal of the officers responsible for the death of twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray, my parents couldn’t understand it. My parents would often defend police officers, who severely harmed black people, by saying that the men who ended up being victims of police brutality “were probably doing something they shouldn’t of.” When the Black Lives Matter movement started to gain more national attention, my parents were also among those who used the critical slogans of All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. My family failed to see the racism in our society, and still fails to see it today. It is because of false narratives and stereotypes created from years of oppression that people, including my parents, cannot see the racism that is alive in all parts of the country. White people have been conditioned to believe in the stereotypes that were used to justify discrimination against black people. While I don’t think my parents are racist, I do think they have been influenced by racist behaviors and ideologies.

This is something I would have never been able to admit if I was still living in my white town with my conservative family. Bell hooks says that it was not until she left her home and went to school that she realized how much of an issue racism really was, and I feel that is the same case for me. I have always disagreed with my family’s ideologies on nearly everything, but leaving home has helped me to realize just how problematic some of my family’s beliefs are. It has provided me with having prime examples of people who believe racism is not an issue, therefore resistance to it is unnecessary. Tim Wise and bell hooks create an outline for people to reject the racism in our country today. Society has turned its eyes away from racism believing it to be “solved” and has allowed injustices against black people to continue. Racism will continue so long as people deny its existence.

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Racism and Resistance: Analysis of the Activity of Black Lives Matter Movement. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/racism-and-resistance-analysis-of-the-activity-of-black-lives-matter-movement/
“Racism and Resistance: Analysis of the Activity of Black Lives Matter Movement.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/racism-and-resistance-analysis-of-the-activity-of-black-lives-matter-movement/
Racism and Resistance: Analysis of the Activity of Black Lives Matter Movement. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/racism-and-resistance-analysis-of-the-activity-of-black-lives-matter-movement/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Racism and Resistance: Analysis of the Activity of Black Lives Matter Movement [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/racism-and-resistance-analysis-of-the-activity-of-black-lives-matter-movement/
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