When Activism Turns To Extremism: Why the BLM Movement is Doing More Harm than Good to a Worthy Cause

Written By Charles Gao

Earned an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition

     On the 26th of August, three NBA playoff games were postponed in light of another global event: the shooting of another unarmed black male Jacob Blake through the action of a police officer in the State of Wisconsin. In the place of scheduled sporting fixtures, viewers are now seeing, or witnessing, a disparate type of fixture: the almost daily rioting and looting as BLM activists–or extremists, to be more exact–loom over the streets. 

     Almost two months after the death of George Floyd by the hands of Minneapolis police officers, we find ourselves taking stock of the impact on social progress in America. Has the international public outcry towards police brutality and its resultant impact on the Black Lives Matters campaign made positive or negative strides towards resolving the issue?  Conversations are happening and boundaries are being crossed– both the actual ones in the streets and the ideological ones on social media platforms, in which BLM activists in full fury galore. 

     Whatever the cause, whatever the root, the issue is fraught and thousands of people in America have now taken to the streets in protest. The results – while positively opening up discussions between police departments and citizens – has also seen a rise in opportunists using this matter to incite violence in the streets of cities everywhere.

     The current occupant of the White House Donald Trump has lashed out over the NBA as “a political organization” and what happened are “going to destroy basketball.” On the protesters, Trump has also elected to make his very own pejorative statement against them: “they are not protesters; those are anarchists, they are agitators, they’re rioters, they’re looters.” 

     Now, these “looters [and] rioters” marching on the streets could be divided into three major groups: the ones who are deeply struck by the nonsense of police brutality against all races and genders in the United States, the ones who are reaping their own benefits from the social turbulence (e.g. those who ravage luxury stores in LAC), and those who do not know how to solve the essential problem raised by Floyd’s death but blindly follow the alleged “social justice.” 

     Despite media coverage overwhelmingly supporting almost all BLM-related activities–even if it’s one of those organized by the above-mentioned latter two groups–it has long ceased to give a voice to some voters, let alone to dictate what they, rather than those who regard themselves as the moral exemplar of the society, believe. Ever since George Floyd has sadly perished, these self-declared moral exemplars, who often regard themselves as BLM activists, have been unrealistically anticipating that  they could eliminate systemic racism in the United States by plainly informing (us) voters how racist they/we are or their (our) country is. 

     Trump voters–or those who typically face a charge of exercising racism–will not abandon him but by suddenly coming to their senses about why contending with systemic racism would be more important than those aspects in which they share sufficient regard at: either overcoming the pandemic or preserving jobs. This style of speaking, advocated by the “activists” that bends toward the malicious end of extremism, only alienates voters they wish to convert their political philosophies at the outset.

     There is a yawning mismatch between the number of dissenters against the BLM movement and the volume of noise they produce. While the right-wing politics has its platforms in Fox News etc., most of the mainstream media is dominated by the left. Based on the premise that the media shapes people’s discourse, the assumption the mainstream media makes between BLM and moral virtue–or between white America and racist cops–is in the main but a partisan representation of reality. This bias, or distortion of facts, merely does nothing less than impelling polarization in a yet erratic society that has the storm of division brewing within. 

Published by haringeyunchained

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to show case the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. We think that through the promotion of our creative thoughts, we can educate our community, bringing to the foreground the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant school in a deprived part of London. We are endeavouring to provide this blog as a platform for our community, giving the space to those whose work otherwise might not be seen or read. Being that the cuffs are off, we are able to express through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, what’s really on our minds. We are free.

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