“Blue Lives Matter” refers to the blue uniform that police officers wear. The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter is used as a tag on posts regarding anything about support and sympathy for the police force. It is also used on social media to point out the importance of the police force in communities in general. Blue Lives Matter is often used as a response to another very common hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, which regards the overwhelming number of shootings of Black people by police officers. Over recent years, there has been a lot of debate and controversy over the Blue Lives Matter movement, including the creation of the title itself in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Within the last two weeks, there has been the general level of discussion in the news regarding my topic, but some pieces have struck deeper than others.
- Ben & Jerrys
On Monday, October 10th, the Blue Lives Matter movement called for a boycott on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The ice cream makers publicly announced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement last week. The ice cream company not only announced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, they published an article on their company website titled, “7 Ways We Know Systematic Racism is Real.” The article lists 7 points where there are discrepancies between Blacks and Whites:
While the creators said they “respect and value the commitment to our communities that those in law enforcement make” and “do not place the blame for this on individual officers,” supporters of the Blue Lives Matter movement are not pleased. ‘“Ben & Jerry’s went beyond making a statement in support of civil rights when they actively accused law enforcement of widespread racism,” Blue Lives Matter wrote. “By spreading these false and misleading statements, Ben & Jerry’s lends an appearance of legitimacy to the baseless claims that police officers are killing men based on the color of their skin. This message has inspired the assassination and attempted assassination of police officers, and it costs officers their lives.”’
The ice cream company takes their support for Black Lives Matter to their twitter page with popular posts like this one- supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and others back Ben & Jerry’s with their stance on the issue, with the post racking up 65,000 re-tweets and 90,000 likes.
Ben and Jerry’s endorsing the Black Lives Matter Movement is a major win for Black lives matter. It is brave and empowering for the owners (two white men) who do not have to endure any of the issues the black community has to face still acknowledge that there s a problem and bring awareness of it. Ben and Jerry’s called for their consumers to join them and not be complicit; to only listen but understand that the struggle for equality is real. “Our nation and our very way of life are dependent on the principle of all people being served equal justice under the law. And it’s clear; the effects of the criminal justice system are not color blind.”
- Boston police
Two Boston police officers were sent to the hospital in critical condition after being shot multiple times by suspect, Kirk Figueroa. Several other officers who were stationed outside ran inside and exchanged fire with the gunman. The report is found on Fox News website, with the title “2 Boston police officers wounded by gunman clad in body armor.” Video
Using the social mention social media analysis tool, I found that this topic has 90% strength on social media, meaning the likelihood that it is being discussed. The sentiment ratio was 3:1 so there are more positive posts than negative.
- Teen assaulted
Sylacauga High School student, Brian Ogle was brutally beaten over his Facebook posts showing support for the Blue lives Matter movement. Police haven’t officially released a motive, but say the attack appeared to be racially motivated and the social media post could have been a factor. On this topic there are more supporters in favor of the teen, but does that necessarily mean support for his beliefs as well?
Another controversial event that brought awareness to The Black Lives Matter Movement this week was when singer Leah Tysse kneeled while singing the national anthem at a Sacramento Kings game. The video of her kneeling made its way to social media and has had 43,274 views on Facebook. On her Facebook, she explains that the unlawful killing, profiling and harassment by police enforcement of black people without any consequences or accountability prompted her to kneel and speak up against the injustice. Her actions have gained her a lot of support and some new fans. One person (@Whoa_Zoe) tweeted “So happy to see the bravery and solidarity from national anthem singer Leah Tysse at the Sacramento Kings game last night.” However with the positive praise for her action came backlash. Some viewer found her action “disrespectful”. One person tweeted that they found Tysse to be “disrespectful to the colors and anthem, disrespectful to USA and disrespectful to all Veterans.”
Authors: Aminah Muhammad, Paula Grant