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Black vs. Blue: A Battle of the BLMs

In a sweet-sounding sentiment, a Blue Lives Matter group in New York makes an innocent statement regarding their humble organization. 

“We are Blue Lives Matter NYC, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to help Law Enforcement Officers and their families during their time of need,” their website states. “Members of the organization are both police officers and members from other state and federal agencies that are dedicated to making a difference.”

Frankly, a nonprofit which assists law enforcement during difficult times appears harmless, until the organization mocks the title ‘Black Lives Matter’ and is wielded as countermovement ammo. 

Officers Ramos and Liu | Photo Courtesy of ABC7

The Blue Lives Matter campaign was created by Joseph Imperatrice, Carlos Delgado, and Christopher Brinkley in 2014. According to The U.S. Sun, the three officers organized Blue Lives Matter after Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot. Investigations show that the troubled suspect, who committed suicide shortly after, killed both officers with intentions of avenging the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.  Garner was put in a chokehold after resisting arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, while Brown faced an altercation with police after allegedly stealing a pack of cigarillos. Garner and Brown, both Black men, died at the hands of police that same year. The movement aims to deem police killings a hate crime, while propelling the belief that cops face excessive discrimination. 

Trayvon Martin | Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

On the other hand, the Black Lives Matter movement was created in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s death and the acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman. On the night of February 26, Zimmerman spotted Martin walking to his father’s home and believed he looked suspicious. Against the request of a 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman directly confronted Martin and the two engaged in an unclear dispute – resulting in Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin. Similar to Garner and Brown, Martin was a Black teenager killed by an aspiring police officer. Co-founders Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors hope to target anti-Black racism as well as systemic racism, particularly in terms of police brutality.

Between the two campaigns lie multiple key differences, the first being that one is far more of a ‘movement’ than the other.

A movement assembles with strength and pride to achieve their desires. Upon one Instagram search of “Black Lives Matter,” a sense of assembly is blatantly clear – viewers notice a verified page appear with hundreds of relevant posts, recent initiatives, and critical news. “Blue Lives Matter,” however, brings up an avalanche of unknown conservative accounts, none of which display large-scale progress. The same applies to a Google Search, which shows a jaw-dropping difference between the organized action of one party compared to the disruptive noise of another. 

The lack of order in Blue Lives Matter also reveals the true priorities of the group. Blue Lives Matter barely stands independently as a campaign of its own, unlike Black Lives Matter. Most uproar in 2020 from Blue Lives Matter is only seen in relation to Black Lives Matter; therefore, Blue Lives Matter spends a substantial amount of time attacking another movement rather than uplifting law enforcement – proving that Black Lives Matter is their sole source of stamina. This aspect also shows in the founding dates of each group, as Blue Lives Matter was created a year after Black Lives Matter. 

Evidently, Blue Lives Matter appears overwhelmingly disorganized in supporting law enforcement, while Black Lives Matter thrives in accomplishment. A potential cause in this disparity of achievement derives from a difference in motivation. According to the FBI National Press Office, the 48 felonious deaths of police officers in 2019 were mainly related to their line of work. Most officers died in law enforcement activities, tactical situations, response to crime in progress, arrest situations, and vehicular pursuits – indicating that they were not killed solely for being cops. Comparatively, FBI statistics show that over 2,300 African-Americans fell victim to hate crime in 2018, solely for their race. Clearly, one organization draws power from a stronger motive than the other.

Thin blue line flag spotted among white supremacists | Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Additionally, Blue Lives Matter displays significant racial controversy. Besides equating an optional profession to an oppressed race, the movement’s flag has also been spotted among white supremacists. According to NPR, Neo-Nazis waved thin blue line flags at their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally, which took place in 2017, intended to prevent the removal of a Confederate statue. 

For those who stand against anti-Black racism but support law enforcement, superior alternatives to Blue Lives Matter are available. Organizations such as the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) provide membership opportunities and work towards policy reform within policing. The association hosts annual events honoring police, and presents a longer list of accomplishments compared to that of Blue Lives Matter – which once again displays that an organization dedicated to police, not the assailment of Black Lives Matter, can organize and succeed.

Overall, in the name of so-called law enforcement support, the Blue Lives Matter campaign stands as an atrocious attempt at suppressing Black Lives Matter. The movement is barely organized – most rallies taking place on a local level – while pretending that hate crimes against cops are equivalent to the discrimination thrown at Black Americans on a regular basis. The group differs from Black Lives Matter in a variety of fields, from independent action to statistical accuracy. A single glance can distinguish the fiery spirit of one group to the incompetence of another – proving that, all-in-all, only one respectable BLM exists. 

About Prisha Puntambekar

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Sophomore Prisha Puntambekar has enjoyed writing from a young age. Outside of journalism, she's vice president of Sundevils for Senior Citizens Club and loves to golf.

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