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Why #BlackLivesMatter is Still Relevant Today

Why #BlackLivesMatter is Still Relevant Today?

 


Tonight, I had the privilege of attending #MyBlackUTMatters event hosted by the Students for Equity and Diversity. This event was a chance for black students at UT, as well as other students, discuss their feelings and opinions of the recent incidents of police brutality. It was also a chance for people to come and learn about the BLM movement.

After the event, I was experiencing a variety of emotions. I was angry that something like this could still be happening. I was deeply hurt by the injustice in America towards black people. I felt helpless. But through that I felt that I needed to do something. I couldn’t just keep silent anymore. So I decided to write about a few reasons why the BLM movement is still so important today.

To my knowledge, it’s been a few weeks since the last incident of police unrightfully killing a black person. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time for us to just pack up and leave. The BLM movement is calling out a system of oppression in America that has been around since slavery. Slavery may have ended in the 1860’s but it wasn’t until the 60’s that black people received many of the rights that their white counterparts already had. Realistically it has only been around 150 years since slavery ended, and while we’ve made progress there is still a lot of work to be done. Racism nor the systems of oppression hasn’t left, instead they have simply changed their appearance. Instead of worrying about being lynched, now we need to be mindful of the police. We have to be careful about “looking dangerous,” or saying the wrong thing. The BLM movement, however, goes beyond just the police too. It refers to all the ways that the black community is oppressed in America. For example, the microaggressions that black people face at their places of work, on campuses, at stores, or just walking down the street. For example, a friend of mine was walking in west campus and some white boys in a car took it upon themselves to call them stereotypical “ghetto black names.” Why was it necessary? They could’ve just drove by and went about their business. Instead they chose to try to offend my friends. This isn’t the only incident of things like this. A group of white boys threw a television out of their window trying to hit a group of black students. What instigated that kind of behavior? Nothing. Even less serious things like strangers feeling they have the right to put their hands in my hair because it looks different. I’ve always found it funny how they look to get offended that I don’t appreciate their hands in my hair. It boils down to respect. I have never walked up to a white stranger and ran my hands through their hair because it’s just so “interesting looking.” Yet it’s happened to me so many times, I get tired of correcting people.

So what does all this have to do with the BLM movement? To me, the BLM movement is to tell people that black people are people. You would think it was obvious that we are. But apparently, we still have to let people know. It wasn’t too long ago that black people were dehumanized and treated as animals. And if you look today, you can still see the aftershocks of that. Have we made progress? Yes, America has made progress. However, it is not enough and I will not be complacent with how far we’ve come. Black lives do matter.

I am a junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying psychology and sociology. I hope to further the knowledge of behavioral and emotional disorders through research. I started writing for Her Campus because I wanted a platform to discuss issues that are important to me. I want to start a dialogue about the issues society is still too uncomfortable to openly talk about.
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