Why Yelling ‘Black Lives Matter’ Isn’t Enough To Change Our Criminal Justice System

There are so many questions in life I never thought people would have to answer.

Is 2+2 equal to 4? Yes.  

Is ice-cold? Yes.

Do black lives matter?

Seriously, if anything other than, “Hell yes they do,” popped into your head as the answer, get your shit together.

First off, the Black Lives Matter movement is absolutely not saying only black lives matter and all other lives don’t. No. It’s saying all lives matter but people seem to be forgetting the black ones do, too.

Think of it this way.

If a house was on fire and someone was pointing the hose to a house that was not on fire and said, “all houses matter,” would you not think that’s a bit ridiculous? We need to focus on putting out the house that’s on fire before it spreads to the entire neighborhood. Sort of like we need to focus on saving black lives because the system sure as hell isn’t.

Want to know how the criminal injustice system treats black people? They murder them for absolutely no reason, even when they have zero weapons in their hands and posed no threat to them.

We are living in a world where we treat white criminals better than we treat black victims and that has to end.

The news has been more concerned about Brad and Angelina divorcing, football players’ not wanting to stand for the National Anthem, and pumpkin spice whatever being back. And that’s just pathetic.

Take a look at how the media reports stories depending upon race.

A black victim:

Back in 2013, a black 19-year-old male was found murdered in his car. The headline read: Shooting victim had many run-ins with the law, already establishing extreme disrespect for the murder of a human being. Rick Ruggles, the author of the article, continued to tear apart the deceased, mentioning his arrests and prior court appearances, which are completely irrelevant in this situation, but never really mentions the deceased, or how sad the crime was, and still is.

The only mention Ruggles held of the actual crime was committed to one tiny paragraph saying when he was found. The following depiction of the events constituted of Ruggles going on about the criminal history the victim held, with no mentions of family, friends, or possible leads and suspects at all. Ruggles continued to mention the area in which the crime happened, interviewing a member of the community who was quoted as saying, “…but when this happens … yeah, it’s sad,” making it seem as if the neighborhood is more of a victim instead of the actual murdered young man.

Now, let’s see how a white criminal gets treated by the media:

This is completely the other end of the spectrum, and mass media has a habit of watering down the severity of crimes committed by white people. Maria Papadopoulos, this article’s author, covered a story of a bank robbery, titling her article: Bank robbery suspect was outstanding Blue Hills student. Automatically, the bigotry of the news report is evident just by the title. In comparison to the prior coverage of black victims, this so-called suspect is being portrayed in a positive manner somehow. The contents of this article continued to preach how involved in the community, school, and athletic program the suspect was. What was most interesting of this article, was the suspect admitted to being an intravenous drug user, however that was not mentioned in the title – as it was in the black victim’s coverage.

That oversight puts into question why the drug history of a Caucasian perpetrator is not broadcasted, while the drug history of an African-American victim is. Another notable instance is the terminology used. If this had been a black suspect, they would have been referred to as ‘perpetrator’ or ‘criminal,’ however, even though the woman in question was convicted of the crime prior to the publication of the article, she was still referred to as a ‘suspect.

If you don’t believe that we need a serious overhaul in not only our criminal justice system, but in the media as well, to teach people who black lives matter too, then I feel sorry for the amount of hatred and negativity you must hold in your heart.       

Black lives matter because all lives matter.

Some people just seem to need a reminder of what, “all,” encompasses. If there is anything I’ve learned in my four years as a criminal justice student it’s that every single person who studies the system believes it needs major change.

Be a part of the positive change and let other people know why black lives matter.

Featured Image via Huffington Post.

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