#BlackLivesMatter: Conversations Ignored.
When I hear the word ‘deviance,’ I automatically think of crime or some form of criminal act. We often think of deviant behavior with a negative connotation, but what I have come to find out is that it does not always have to be negative. There is such a thing as good deviance. Deviance is simply an action or behavior that violates social norms. Of course, social norms are different across groups, cultures and societies. It is also important to make sure to take into account how social norms evolve and change constantly. What the norm was last year, may not be a norm today.
In order to relate #BlackLivesMatter to deviance and social control, it is important to fully understand what it is. #BlackLivesMatter was established in 2013 as a response to the acquittal of the man who killed Trayvon Martin. Their mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
This summer, the #BlackLivesMatter and #DefundThePolice have really taken the nation by storm. The main reason being the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd by the police. Even though Black Lives Matter has been around since 2013, watching a black man literally plead for his life while having a knee on his neck caused an uproar across the United States. While there were a lot of people who were aware of the Black Lives Matter movement, there were a lot that were not aware of what they were fighting for. A lot of people hear Black Lives Matter and think that we are trying to create more of a divide between races. Countering it by saying “All Lives Matter,” implying that the movement is attempting to say other races don’t matter. But this is not the case. The world see’s white people. White people have mattered to the world from the beginning. But all lives cannot matter until the lives of black individuals are included in that as well. Some have been woke and some are just waking up, but the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement is to continue to educate and show the inequalities and injustices that black people experience every day.
One of the goals of a social movement is to push for change, and in doing so, it is important to have the movement disrupt some way of day to day life. With that being said, it does not have to be a negative disruption, but in order for it to be successful, it should be noticed. Because of the long history of a nation who has tried so hard to make an entire race less inferior to them, it is not surprising to me that there are so many people who are opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement. White America does not want to allow for Black people to have power and this movement is doing just that.
The activism that athletes have taken this summer has also been eye opening for me. A few years ago, Colin Kaepernick knelt for the National Anthem and caused a national uproar because of his peaceful protest. Criticisms argued he ‘has no business using his platform as an NFL player to fight for real issues’. As a black athlete myself, it is the most frustrating thing to see and hear how professional athletes have no right to use their voices because they are “under contract”. It is amazing to me that the nation can use black athletes to make money and to gain viewers on tv, but we aren’t allowed to say anything about how the world mistreats us. I read a comment made the other day by Ryan Clark (NFL player) about the reactions from fans that NFL players received while they locked arms during the national anthem last week to make a statement about the mistreatment of black people. He said, “If y’all linked up for breast cancer, they’re going to clap. If you link up to honor veterans, they’re going to clap. This was the kindest, most thoughtful, sweetest way to protest or demonstrate, and people still booed.”
Why is it so hard for people to really acknowledge the racism in this country? People continue to try to push the issue of racism to the side and try to make it less important in order to not face the real problems. It is crazy to me that we are seen as criminal or ‘thugs’, because we are fighting for justice. In my opinion, continuing to turn the narrative around to make it seem as if the Black Lives Matter movement is a violent group that is looking to cause destruction is a form of social control trying to turn a nation against it. I am confident that the Black Lives Matter movement will continue to stay on the forefront of people’s minds because if there is one thing that I know, it is that black people are tired of the continual mistreatment we experience every day without anything changing. I know I am.