The Increase Incarceration Rate and Crime Rate Increase has to do with Black Lives Matter Movement because of Police Discrimination and the Group’s need for Attention
The fear among the black Americans and the law enforcement personnel has been so intense that the interaction between them has been minimal and associated with violence. Although discrimination and racial division have reduced in America, the beginning of 21st century has been accompanied by powerful and significant symbols of racial division. The past decades in American justice system has been associated with overt discrimination; however, the racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has significantly reduced. This, however, does not mean that there are no traces of racial division and unfair treatments of one race by another. The majority of the minority racial groups in America still experience unfairness, especially from the law enforcement agencies. The recent increase rate of incarceration and crime in the streets of the main cities has been blamed on the Black lives matter movement which advocates for justice for the black Americans who are brutally murdered by the police. This paper will examine the influence of the black lives matter movement on the recent increase of incarceration and crime rate.
Black Lives Matter Movement started as a way to end the fear that majority of African Americans feel whenever they come in contact with the police officers. The social movement emerged after the death of Trayvon Martin and extended with the several deaths that followed after Martin including Michael Brown (Siscoe). Although the fear can be justified with the increased discrimination and brutality of the police to some extent, it is not justified. However, the recent activities of the black lives matter movement have proven to be a threat to the peaceful coexistence between various races in America and also among politicians. The movement’s motives have also proven to be a threat to the law enforcement agencies. The recent demonstration in Dallas by the black lives matter movement supporters that left five police officers dead and many others wounded has proven that the movement is a threat to law enforcement personnel (Tuttle). The rift between the whites and the blacks has now involved other innocent people who are there to keep peace such as the whites. In the recent tragic demonstration where a gunman came out of nowhere and started shooting at the police officers claimed that he was angry with the whites (Tuttle).
Research indicates that the rift between the police and the minority groups in America especially African Americans has been mainly caused by the mass killing of the civilians by the police. A sample study carried out in some of the major cities across the United States indicates that the murder rate has recently increased in the big cities. For instance, the rate of murder increased in Chicago between the year 2014 and 2015 by 20%. The murder cases reported in Chicago in 2014 amounted to 244 which increased in 2015 to 294 cases (French). In New York, the cases rose by 9%, New Orleans by 22%, Philadelphia by 4%, and Milwaukee by 76%. In Milwaukee, the number of murder cases reported in 2015 amounted to 59 which tremendously increased in 2015to 104 (French).
Mass incarceration has also contributed to the recent increase unjustifiable activities by the black lives matter movement. Most of the American prisons are flooded with African-Americans and other minority groups (Van Cleve & Lauren). However, this does not mean that everyone locked away in the prisons are guilty of the offenses they are accused of. Civil right activists claim that the branding of innocent for the crimes they have not committed can contribute to the tension between the law enforcement agencies and the victimized groups. Most of the African Americans are linked with crime related activities; the black live matter movement was formed to help eradicate this perception that every black person is considered a criminal by the look. Research indicates that almost 40 years ago; approximately 100,000 people were incarcerated and locked away for the crimes they do not know (Van Cleve & Lauren). America has the highest incarceration rate than any other country; maybe because of the diverse racial communities living in America. We cannot also use the fact that America is composed of people from all over the world as the claim and justification that can explain the persistent incarceration across the major Southern States. The perception that black people have been branded has caused the problem (Rosich).
The formation of the social movement by the name “Black Lives Matter Movement” followed the mass killing of innocent and unarmed black Americans across the streets with the claim that they are criminals (Siscoe, 5). Historically, police brutality and unfairness in the justice system is not a new topic or issue in many people’s ears especially for someone who understands the history of America (Porter). As Rosich explains in her article Race, ethnicity, and the criminal justice system, America is a diversity country which does not belong to any one particular race; it belongs to everyone staying in the country. Everyone living in the country including both majority and minority racial groups equally fought for the independence of America; therefore, they should be allowed to enjoy the freedom that they fought for. The intention of starting the black lives matter movement was aimed at proving to the police and the government that the black people equally deserve to stay and live in America just like any other American. Siscoe further explains that, the movement came up in response to the deaths of innocent black Americans and with the aim of promoting the humanization of the black race.
Even though they have used unjustifiable means to express their concerns like openly shooting at the police officers like what happened in Dallas several months ago, but this does not give the police also the mandate to retaliate by targeting the black race and supporters of the movement without listening to their voices as well. Every American is protected by the Constitution and entitled to freedom of expression and right to life just like any other American like the whites who have prolonged claim that America belongs to them (Van Cleve & Lauren). All lives matter including the black lives and no one is more special than the other. However, targeting and killing the black people proves otherwise and contrary to this statement that every life matters in America. Killing black people mercilessly proves that the police and the American government try to send a message to the rest of the world that the life of a black person does not matter and deserve to be disposed or killed at any time (Siscoe, 2016, 5-6). This is not the kind of society that we want to create for the children and their future generation.
Many people have claimed that the explosion of incarceration was associated with the increase in crime rate (French). This statement is not true; however, whether it is not true it does not mean that there was any crime recorded. Crime has been existence for many years; there is no place without crime. Again, crime does not depend on the color of skin or the race where one comes from (Rosich). Crime is everywhere; however, racial discrimination and mass incarceration have only contributed to its increase. Historically, crime can be said to have reduced as compared to almost 40 years ago. However, incarceration has always been up to whether the rate of crime is going up or coming down.
It is also important to accept that the social movement claiming to be advocating for the rights of the black people also have got it all wrong (Tuttle). As much as they want their claims and ideas to be accepted and listened to by the policymakers and the law enforcement agencies, they need to act maturely and reasonably. The recent activities of the movement during their demonstrations have proven to be otherwise and contrary to the ideas that they are expressing. The whole things look like they are after revenge for their loved ones who were brutally murdered by the police officers. Whether they kill the police officers who killed their people will not bring them back to life. Therefore, as Tuttle explains, taking matters into their hands and claiming that they are advocating for the rights of the black people by publicly shooting at police officers and killing and wounding many others is not the right response to their claims.
Despite the several attempts by policymakers to reduce the cases of racial discrimination, the strategies have not been successful as the majority of the minority groups still experience overt discrimination. Every American citizen has a right to protection ad this includes the black Americans. The motives of the social movement are perfect because they are claiming for what their rights which they think that they have been denied; however, the strategies they are using to claim their rights are wrong. Therefore, the supporters and proponents of the movement need to reexamine and restructure how they can approach the policymakers and implementers through a peaceful negotiation and not violent approach that led to tragic incidents like what happened in Dallas in July. The government and the police institutions also need to listen to the social movement activists because they have a responsibility of protecting and taking care of every individual in the United States. Criticizing the law enforcement agencies and the policymakers is not the answer to their questions and will not give them the rights that they claim that they have been denied. However, sitting together and discussing the things they want without hurting or losing innocent people in the process. The police officers are given the mandate to protect the civilians and not mercilessly murder them in cold blood. Therefore, the government needs to examine how the police carry their operations, and anyone found guilty should be prosecuted and punished.
In conclusion, United States comprises of more than 300 million people who come from different racial backgrounds. The rift between the majority racial groups, the whites, and the African Americans has not been eliminated as it only takes a different shape. Police brutality has been said to be the motive by the police to oppress the black Americans. It is hard to establish the relationship between the incarceration rate, crime rate, and police brutality. Therefore, it is not easy to claim that increase in incarceration and crime rate is mainly the fault of the black lives matter movement supporters because of the police discrimination and their claim for attention.
French, D. #BlackLivesMatter Cost Black Lives. National Review, September 2, 2015. Accessed on December 10, 2016 from http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423453/blacklivesmatter-costs-black-lives-david-french
Porter, Nicole D. “Expanding Public Safety in the Era of Black Lives Matter.” U. Miami L. Rev. 70 (2015): 533.
Rosich, K. J. Race, ethnicity, and the criminal justice system. ASA, 2007. Accessed on December 10, 2016 from http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/images/press/docs/pdf/ASARaceCrime.pdf
Siscoe, T. # BlackLivesMatter: This Generation’s Civil Rights Movement, 2016. Accessed on December 10, 2016 from http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1327&context=honorstheses
Tuttle, I. (July 12, 2016). More Hypocrisy from Black Lives Matter. Too Many protestors choose to escalate Tension and Increase the Likelihood of Violence. National Review. Retrieved from http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437694/black-lives-matter-hypocrisy-cheering-violence
Van Cleve, Nicole Gonzalez, and Lauren Mayes. “Criminal justice through “colorblind” lenses: A call to examine the mutual constitution of race and criminal justice.” Law & Social Inquiry 40.2 (2015): 406-432.