There is no doubt that Barack Obama, the current president of the United States of America, is an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. From sending representatives to Michael Brown’s funeral to creating a grant program for young black boys called My Brother’s Keeper, Obama has been an attentive audience and promoter for the BLM movement. However, on February 18, 2016, BLM Chicago co-founder Aislinn Pulley rejected Obama’s invitation for a meeting in the White House to discuss social issues and possibly create a stronger,unified movement with other leaders. She claims that it was a “sham” and a “photo opportunity” for the president rather than an intellectual discussion between fighters for social justice. Her personal reasons are understandable but this action she decided for her movement would created an additional obstacle to her Chicago’s BLM and create inefficient progress to reach their intended goals.
Exactly what are the goals of BLM in general? According to their website, under the section Who We Are, it involves reforming the justice system, erasing racism in America towards blacks, black female empowerment, stopping discrimination against blacks due to their disabilities, gender, or background of origin, and create a community for blacks in which education and love will flourish.
These ideas may look great for their movement but it is their own action that adds the credibility and power to these principles. Sadly, I personally believe that they have done little to enact any change. Chicago’s BLM is only a section of the movement but it is in itself a representation of why the BLM as a whole is more troublesome than good. Rather than meet the president of the United States, who invited important figures such as the president of the NAACP Defense Fund and civil rights activist Al Sharpton, she preferred to do what she has always done, protest. She had an opportunity to meet and talk to people who could promote and back her movement, thus having more members and most likely create direct political connections which will help her cause. Yet, she writes her rejection on truth-out.org as to why this is problematic in her own eyes, ignoring opportunities that might help her cause.
She does defend herself as to why she declined. She thought that the event was a celebration of Black History Month, but Obama has denied that it was. Additionally, she also writes that she would have gone to the meeting if they carried out “the simple demands of families” who want police to be held accountable and fired for killing the lives of black citizens, “A meeting arranged to carry this out is one that would be worthy of consideration.”. She continues on with both demands and questions for the Obama administration as to what constitutes as a criminal and wanting the housing for abandoned youth, and many many other propositions. In her point of view, it would be an act of betrayal to her beliefs if she were to meet the Obama, the same man in an administration that refuses to work on the problems she speaks about.
She does have the right to protect her own honor for the sake of protecting the integrity of her movement’s purpose, but at the same time she is a no more of a hypocrite than the people in the Obama administration. What major action has she taken upon herself in order to uphold these beliefs and ideas she strongly holds onto? Protesting only works to garner attention, it is the responsibility of individuals who are a part of the movement to help make demands meet, not entirely the government. I question this form of expression in the fact that it is mostly a nuisance at this point. It has escalated to areas in which they have become utterly annoying. Disrupting business who have done no wrong, rudely interrupting platforms and those of politicians who have supported BLM, violence against people that was never apologized for and completely ignored by BLM, promoting racism, and so on.
Pulley, you expect the government to do everything. You expect the government to create better systems for education but in reality, it is to push forward a racist, over–sensitive agenda that has not helped anyone. Have you ever looked at a young black child and told them they could become the police chief to reform the police system, business owners to create more employment? What has BLM done to your people so they may grow and work hard for their future?
Famous black rights activist Frederick Douglass believed that education was important for blacks to succeed in life during the era of slavery. He did not just screech about his imprisoned status, he learned to read and he taught his peers how to read, he shared his story and was an active member in the abolition movement, helping his fellow men succeed and make them realize they are more than just slaves or blacks, but men with potential. If you want to complain, be my guest, but at least prove you can also try to do something, even if it is difficult, you need to be the model people want to become.