Why the Hypocrisy of Black Lives Matters….“MATTERS”


Black Lives Matter is a nice catch phrase and a great hashtag; but also, an empty slogan. An empty slogan pushed by a broad neoliberal agenda which consistently gives Black people emotive symbolic actions that generally does not yield any significant policy gains. Specific criticisms of BLM are the fact that the movement failed to establish central and clear leadership, with the ability to drive the narrative for the movement. Without that, BLM allowed for its narrative to be made for them by people opposing their initial objectives. “Initial Objectives” as described regarding police brutality, however; their agenda according to their website has grown to include feminism, womanism, transgender/queer issues, etc. Regardless of the good intentions of working towards the betterment of society regarding all those issues, the problem is summed up in the old adage of being “a jack of all trades and master of none.”

Regarding the issues involved with police misconduct and police brutality, BLM has two specific criticisms that are factors that mitigate their ability to be a catalyst for positive change being: picking the wrong poster children and the wrong hills to die on. That is if their objective is trying to work towards better relations between the police and the communities they serve. Or, even if it is to reform in the criminal justice system and specifically law enforcement as one of the institutions that comprises the criminal justice system regarding racial bias and uneven outcomes; these are things that most moral and compassionate people can agree on. Yet; in the case of Joshua Beal, and the actions BLM on August 22nd, 2019, the failure of that movement is exemplified. Mr. Beal was killed during an altercation that involved some off-duty Chicago Police officers. The details regarding Mr. Beal’s shooting death are still questioned by some, however; the officers were cleared of misconduct or wrongdoing.

“Police officials claimed that the confrontation began when an off-duty firefighter told the driver of a car in the funeral motorcade that it was blocking a fire lane on 111th Street between Albany and Troy. Officials said that the occupants got out of their car and "a verbal and physical altercation" ensued with at least one off-duty cop who identified himself. They said that an off-duty officer at a nearby business also came out to help when he saw the fight and was attacked. Shortly after that, they said, a CPD sergeant who was driving by on his way to work saw Joshua Beal with a gun in his hand. Police officials said that officer "announced his office" and began shooting when Beal didn't drop his weapon.”[1]

Debates regarding if the officer identified himself or if he was in uniform continue, but what is not in question is the fact that Mr. Beal drew a gun after an argument started with Chicago firefighters regarding a funeral procession Beal was in was blocking a fire lane. Yet BLM still is pushing this issue to the point of staging a protest at CPD headquarters on August 22, 2019:

“A protest was held at Chicago police headquarters during a monthly police board meeting to address a police-involved shooting (of Joshua Beal) that was ruled “justified.”[2]

BLM clearly has the right to protest, but is this the protest they should be having? Protesting over a situation where there is a significant possibility that the person that they are going to bat for was actually in the wrong? Which is one of the reasons why people looking from the outside in find the movement simply an annoyance. This would be fine if this was simply the radicals on the right who oppose them who find them an annoyance; but this goes to the average citizen Black or White, Right or Left. People who can agree in clear cases as in the case where former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver received 15 years in prison for the murder of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.[3] Or regarding the disproportionate sentence that former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke received 6 years for the murder of LaQuan McDonald. Yet, not so easy to agree when the victim of the shooting may have helped facilitate the issue.

Then comes the context. The context of current affairs while this protest is going on. Now being clear, there are those vested in always throwing in the misdirection of “What about Black on Black Crime” whenever the issue of police misconduct and / or brutality is brought up. Not to mention those who resort to that cliché whenever the African American community expresses concern on any issue regarding violence. The fact is, “Black on Black” crime is a non sequitur in most discussions. As well as the fact that most crime occurs between people of the same race within the same geographical boundaries regardless of the perpetrators or the victim’s race. Not to mention all the socioeconomic, cultural and sociopolitical agitating and mitigating factors that contribute to “Black on Black” crime statistics. However; in context of the actuality that BLM has evolved to such a broad set of neoliberal concerns, why is violent crime in African American communities not one of those concerns? The question is not unreasonable, seeing as it is partially tied to the police having a better relationship with the community.

Case in point, the day of this protest, just hours earlier, Marshia McGill, 40 years old, was shot in the head after picking up her four children from daycare in Chicago suburb, Dolton, IL.

“On Wednesday night, McGill had just picked up her four children from day care, and was driving eastbound when she was caught in the crossfire of a shooting.”[4]

Sadly, McGill later died of her injuries. It is reported that the she was shot in the head, caught in crossfire of two vehicles that were shooting at each other. Now, currently it is unclear what race the shooter is, but it is clear that McGill was a Black woman, and her life matters. BLM being silent on these issues, while being vocal on others betrays a hypocrisy that minimizes the use of the movement.

This is one of the issues regarding gun violence in the City of Chicago, and some of the outlying areas that adversely affects the Black Community. The reality is, that until BLM can at the very least address these types of issues amongst their other concerns, they will continue to simply be “talking loud and saying nothing.”

[1] Maya Dukmasova, “Sixteen months after cops killed Joshua Beal, still no ruling on whether the shooting was justified

Neither of the off-duty officers involved in the shooting or the dispute that preceded it were in full uniform, as police have claimed,” Chicago Reader, March 25, 2018 (Accessed August 23, 2019), https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/joshua-beal-joseph-treacy-thomas-derouin-greenwood/Content?oid=43961784

[2] Tom Negova, “Protest held at police headquarters to address fatal shooting of Joshua Beal,” WGN9, August 22, 2019 (Accessed August 23, 2019), https://wgntv.com/2019/08/22/protest-held-at-police-headquarters-to-address-fatal-shooting-of-joshua-beal/

[3] Faith Karimi and Emanuella Grinberg, “Texas ex-officer is sentenced to 15 years for killing an unarmed teen,” CNN, August 30, 2018 (Accessed August 23, 2019), https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/29/us/texas-jordan-edwards-death-sentencing-phase/index.html

[4] Mark Moore, “Dolton Woman Shot After Picking Up Kids From Day Care Dies: The shooting prompted a massive investigation, including a SWAT response at a nearby home,” NBC News Chicago Channel 5, August 23, 2019, https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Woman-shot-in-dolton-after-picking-up-kids-at-daycare-dies-558032891.html

[4] Mark Moore, “Dolton Woman Shot After Picking Up Kids From Day Care Dies: The shooting prompted a massive investigation, including a SWAT response at a nearby home,” NBC News Chicago Channel 5, August 23, 2019, https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Woman-shot-in-dolton-after-picking-up-kids-at-daycare-dies-558032891.html

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