On Thursday, Obama addressed the media regarding the controversial ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement that has sprung up across the country.
According to AP, Obama was concluding a forum on criminal justice at the White House when he made a statement in defense of the BLM movement. “I think everybody understands all lives matter. I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter,” Obama said, “Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement sprung up in response to the shootings of black men by police officers. One such death that launched the movement was that of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot dead after committing a robbery and attempting to steal the officer’s weapon.
While there are situations across the country in which police have used excessive force against people of color, the case of Michael Brown should not be considered one of them. No matter the color of skin, if an officer is under attack, it is necessary they defend themselves.
Once such case of excessive force against a black man was the case of Oscar Grant III in Oakland in 2009. Grant was placed under arrest by a BART Officer and was handcuffed and lying on his stomach. Despite the fact that Grant was restrained, the BART officer pulled his weapon and shot Grant in the back. The officer in the case received a minor sentence and walked free 2 years later.
One can understand the need to bring to light the treatment of people of color at the hands of law enforcement. There must be accountability if an officer has used excessive force. However, the BLM movement has in certain cases advocated for the targeting of violence towards police officers. No movement that calls for crime against law enforcement can be taken as anything more than a threat, despite any inkling of good intentions.
The one glaring issue that both the BLM movement and Obama have failed to acknowledge and address is the gang violence problem that plagues inner cities throughout the country. The overwhelming statistics of black on black violence should be a centerpiece of any movement that advocates that black lives matter.
9 year old Jamyla Bolden was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri on August 18th of this year while doing her homework. The suspect had previously been arrested for robbery and firearm related charges. However, no protest or acknowledgement was given to Jamyla from the BLM movement. Barely any media acknowledgement was given to Jamyla’s murder. Unfortunately, Jamyla’s story is all too common. It happens with frightening regularity.
Where was Obama then? Why is there mass media coverage and social outrage when a criminal is gunned down by an officer but silence when a bright and innocent child is murdered?