Why #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter are different conversations

In the past month, there has been a lot of press about the risk that black men face at the hands of police. 

There has also been some pushback in pointing out the very real risks that police officers take every single day when they go to work. This is a risk that is not lost on me, as my sister was a police officer for many years. She had several instances where her personal safety was threatened, and it was a very stressful time for our family. 

I do want to point out a critical different, however, in saying #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter or #policelivesmatter. The former is shown to be true, in both public opinion and our judicial system. When the tragedies occurred in Dallas and Baton Rouge where shooters took the lives of police officers, the public was outraged, and the #blacklivesmatter movement was swift to condemn these murders. But what is more telling of the value of these lives is that justice was swift. The killers were not acquitted or placed on administrative leave. When a police officer is shot, we are not left to wonder if the perpetrator will be held accountable. When a police officer is shot, there is justice.

This has not been the case when black men have been shot, and there are way too many stories of black men losing their lives at the hands of people who are not charged. This is especially true when law enforcement is involved. A Wall Street Journal report in 2015 found approximately 1,200 people had been killed by police, but no officers were found guilty of murder or manslaughter. When a cop shoots a civilian in the line of duty, the odds are he won't be punished for it. (source) This creates a culture where police officers can behave without accountability, and black men are often the target.

The recent dropped charges of the officers involved in the Freddie Gray case are yet another example of the lack of justice when it comes to black lives. Freddie was arrested for allegedly having an illegal knife. He died of spinal chord injury in the black of a police van. Six Baltimore police officers were suspended with pay. Three were acquitted, three had the charges dropped. the medical examiner’s report ruled Gray's death a homicide and yet no one was charged.

Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby was very vocal that this was an injustice "No one is above the law," she said as she read out charges that ranged from second-degree murder, to manslaughter, to second-degree assault. And yet, here we are. Charges dropped. A man was alive, and is now dead. A family is grieved, and there is no justice.



I value the lives of police officers and I am grateful for the risks that they take to ensure our safety. But if their life is taken, I feel confident that justice will be served.

If a black civilian's life is taken, chances are someone might be placed on administrative leave. This is not equal justice.
The idea that the lives of black people should be honored and protected should be self-evident in this society. It should be a given. The idea that the same care and concern for the well-being of white people, or police officers, should be extended to people with brown skin should be an inherent truth. But evidence suggests otherwise. That evidence looks like a disproportionate number of black people being arrested, pulled over, searched, and even shot by people officers, without accountability.
Any reasonable person can affirm that #alllivesmatter and #policelivesmatter. It doesn’t need to be said. But unfortunately, the need to affirm that #blacklivesmatter continues to exist. And until that fact is SELF-EVIDENT and the murder of black men results in the same consequences as the murders of a police officer, it needs to be repeated. 




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