Black Lives Matter is under fire again. Because Monday. The National Rifle Association (NRA), a non-profit organization that fights for gun rights in the United States, accused the civil rights organization of promoting "racial hatred" in a segment on the NRA's live streaming online channel, as reported by Huffington Post.
According to the NRATV segment, host Grant Stinchfield, seems to believe that the United States is in danger of increased racialized violence against white people.
Stinchfield said in the segment,
Race relations are strained here in America after 8 years of Barack Obama, but nowhere is near as bad as it is in South Africa where white families are being tortured and killed almost every day in racist violence. It is a warning for the United States that you will never hear from the mainstream media in this country.
A cameraman from the Christian Broadcasting Network, Chuck Holton, joined the conversation and directly linked the speculated increase in violence to ideas spread by the Black Lives Matter organization.
[Violence in South Africa is] kind of a warning for what could happen in the United States if we continue to let this get out of control, to go down this path of this racial tension. This racial hatred that is being foisted on American culture by the Black Lives Matter crowd.
Unfortunately, it appears that both Stinchfield and Holton may have an extreme misunderstanding of what the 4-year-old Black Lives Matter movement is about. Here are a few things that need clearing up.
Black Lives Matter does not promote racism.
In fact, the Black Lives Matter movement was created to fight racism, specifically racialized police brutality against black and brown people.
According to the organization's official website,
#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.
The purpose of the organization is to remind mainstream (read: white) America that black lives have value, and should not be killed in such disturbing ways with little or no consequences.
Examples of this can be seen in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot while playing with a toy gun by Police Officer Timothy Loehmann, who a grand jury opted not to charge. Loehmann was later fired from his police force in 2017 for lying on his original application about his work history, in a situation that had nothing to do with the death of young Rice.
Another example is the more recent Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by Officer Jeronimo Yanez while reaching for his ID during a traffic stop that was initially for a broken tail light in 2016. Yanez was charged and found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter in June 2017.
Statistics show that the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality is not baseless.
These officer-involved deaths are part of a larger pattern, which reveals that black people are having a vastly different experience (prone to experiencing more violence with police) than white people.
The Center of Policing Equity conducted a survey of 19,000 use-of-force incidents by officers in 11 large and midsize cities and one large urban county between 2010 and 2015, according to the New York Times.
According to the newspaper, their reports concluded that,
Although officers employ force in less than 2 percent of all police-civilian interactions, the use of police force is disproportionately high for African-Americans — more than three times greater than for whites.
The Washington Post also reported that black people are 2.5 times more likely than white people to be shot and killed by police.
With these findings and the explicit mission that Black Lives Matter has laid out, it appears that instead of promoting "racial hatred," the organization wants to encourage life preservation and lessen the violence that is statistically proven to be part of black people's reality.
Black Lives Matter has actually done a lot of good for the community, if you pay attention.
The group just raised over $250,000 to bail more than 30 moms out of jail on the week of Mother's Day in May. These were women who were not convicted of crimes, but instead were waiting for a trial and unable to afford bail.
According to The Atlantic, Black Lives Matter also recruits and trains people to provide legal aid and an emergency response network.
The organization's own website also stresses that their cry for equality goes far beyond police brutality. Additional causes the group champions are poverty, mass incarceration, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, and the rights of the disabled.
Different Black Lives Matter chapters host different events in cities across the United States. The Sacremento, California chapter is hosting a "Black Joy" event in August which will consist of yoga, meditation, singing, and dancing.
If you take the time to research the mission of the Black Lives Matter chapters on social media and on its official website, you can find one easy conclusion: Black Lives Matter is calling for peace, healing, and equality.
That's all, NRA.