Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
There are people in America that makes us wonder why there is a world to begin with. There are people who represent the greater good of the world, and there are others who are unfortunately not for the greater good of the world. We have to constantly deal with those whose only goal in life is to bring the lives of others down to the ground; to shatter and to break them. This is what is happening now in the world, and this most likely will never change. As a result of trying to change the ways in which we live and interact with these people, there was a movement that wanted to change the lives of African-Americans, as well as other races. This movement was called “Black Lives Matter”. The people who were responsible for the creation of this hashtag, which then expanded to be a movement, were three women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. Garza talks about what the movement is all about in her article “HerStory”. She says that, “Opal, Patrisse, and I created the infrastructure for this movement project—moving the hashtag from social media to the streets” (Garza). They were able to expand it to be something much more. Their reason for creating this movement was because of the case of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. He was murdered on February 26, 2012 by a Caucasian man named of George Zimmerman. He fatally shot and killed Trayvon, and he wasn’t held accountable for his actions. Many African-Americans were outraged by this situation, because Trayvon wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was going about with his business, until his life came to an end because someone thought he was a “threat”. This became the inspiration for the movement for these three women, and many others in the world. “Black Lives Matter” is a movement in which African-Americans and other racial groups come together out of anger in order to fight the constant oppression and destruction of the general African-American race. In the New York times article “The truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’”, it talks about the “Black Lives Matter” movement as a continuing movement from the past. This relates to all of the backlash that African-Americans were facing from years in the past. In the article, it says, “’Black Lives Matter’ movement focuses on the fact that black citizens have long been far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police, and is of a piece with this history” (Truth of). This is what the movement is being revolved around: the terrible news and crimes that are created that are targeted towards African-Americans. The “Black Lives Matter” movement takes place anywhere and everywhere throughout the United States. The parties who are involved are mainly African-Americans, and mainly Caucasians. There are of course other people and groups who support “Black Lives Matter”, so it’s not just one group or race that participates. What is happening is important to the parties involved because this will, and already is, effecting the way in which these people live and learn in the world. African-Americans are the target of Caucasians, and Caucasians are the target of African-Americans. This means that they are both trying to spread their messages to their appropriate audiences; Caucasians are trying to end the lives of African-Americans who are mostly not at fault, and African-Americans create multiple protests in order to show that they won’t stand for all of the unfair actions and reasoning that Caucasians create. This matters to the world beyond because people all over are constantly being killed or murdered because of where they stand in the world, and others don’t want them to have that stand or they want to bring them down so that they can be the “superior” ones. Of course, it’s not just African-Americans that have to face these terrible and unfair realities of being the minorities, but this race has always been the main target of ridicule and other things.
The senses of the people that are being used is the people as underdogs. The way that the people are being used in this topic area is that it implies this notion. In this topic area, “Black Lives Matter” is referring to African-Americans who are treated unfairly and blamed for the things that doesn’t have anything to do with them. This ranges from small offenses in crimes, or from them being seen as a threat. In this case, African Americans are treated as the minorities, therefore making them the underdogs. This does not include the entire population within the world, but rather, to the people that are considered to be oppressed and not the “elite”. Margaret Canovan says “In a more restricted sense, the term can be contrasted with some kind of elite or upper class to refer not to the whole community, but to the less privileged majority of its members,” (Canovan 315). This means that “the less privileged” would refer to African Americans because they are considered to be on the lowest level of society, making them not inferior and or not important. Their community is the only one that is threatened, clearly because of their whole idea of white supremacy. Many of the people who participate in “Black Lives Matter” protests and rallies are the people who are targeted because of their race. In the article “3 Women and a Hashtag: Birth of a Movement”, Judith Brown Dianis talks about the overall goals of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. She explains how there are other groups of people involved in this movement. She says, “By refusing to quietly accept injustice, by insisting on vocalizing the pain African Americans feel in response to being profiled, harassed, and killed, Black Lives Matter ignited an impressive wave of activism, particularly among teenagers, college students, and other young people” (Dianis). By involving these other groups of people, the issue becomes a much bigger known topic. The whole movement itself is a representation of the people as underdogs. It addresses African-Americans, among other groups of people within this category, as being the ones who are not the “elite”. These groups of people are being labeled for the ways in which they live and for who they are. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, who are the creators of this movement, are some of the many voices of the people as underdogs. These people speak for others and for themselves while participating in this movement, in other words, they speak for the people as underdogs. The underdogs speak for the underdogs in this case. What these parties are gaining by using the people is that they are trying to appeal to their target audience. They are trying to be the voice of the people as underdogs so that they can create more connections to others and fight this issue at hand.
The key symbols and meanings at play in the interview with Marcia Chatelin would be #blacklivesmatter and protests. The hashtag is a very powerful tactic. It provides a lot of meaning making, because when people see this hashtag, they will know what it stands for. The protests also provide meaning making because they use posters and other forms of symbols. The meanings of the people in play would be the people as underdogs. Marcia Chatelain is an active member of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and she talks about how women are also the main target of “Black Lives Matter”. Many people always get the idea that African-American males are main targets in this movement because they are the ones who always arrested and or killed by Caucasians. She says that, “It is also forcing a conversation about gender and racial politics that we need to have—women at the forefront of this movement are articulating that ‘black lives’ does not only mean men’s lives or cisgender lives or respectable lives or the lives that are legitimated by state power or privilege” (Chatelain). Even though it involves a vast array of groups of people of different races, they are still referred to as underdogs. They still have to face the same difficulties of living in this world because of the ways in which they live and for being the type of people that they are, and that’s what creates the category of the “lower class”. The lower class is what African-Americans are automatically referred to, so the others who classify in this way take what they already know about them and they’re placed in that social class. Some of the concepts of culture that are at play are values and beliefs. In the interview with Chatelain, she talks about her values and beliefs about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Her participation in the movement has made her see and values things about the movement that are considered positive to her. She says, “As a black woman in America, this movement is fundamentally about my life and the lives of those I love. I’ve participated in student-led actions—like die-ins and social media campaigns—and I consider myself a student of all these amazing activists” (Kaavya). She believes that by joining and participating in this movement, she will be able to help spread the message of “#BlackLivesMatter”. By using these values and beliefs, she can then spread these ideals to other people so that they can understand and support these ideas. There are some emotions that are being used that involves African-American males and females. Since the focus is more on sexism and the “Black Lives Matter” movement, it creates a very powerful emotion. If people are able to understand the certain issues that goes on within society pertaining to the movement, then there would be a better understanding of the values and beliefs. The binary oppositions would be majority/minority. Caucasians are considered to be the majority because people tend to think that they are the superior race, meaning that they are at the “top”. At the same time, the majority can also be African-Americans, mostly African-American women, because they are the ones who are facing the backlash from Caucasians, making anyone who is African-American automatically a minority. Both of these groups are considered to be the majority, meaning that they are the groups that tend to fight against one another. The minority would then be African Americans, because they are often looked down upon, ridiculed, and treated unfairly. African Americans aren’t really considered to be on the same level as Caucasians, so they think that these groups of people aren’t relevant. The definition of cultural practice that is being used is when people use symbols that involve the change in power. These symbols are then used so that people can exert some kind of message to others. Since this movement itself can be considered cultural practice, it posits something about the world. The #blacklivesmatter creates the very meaning of the movement. This message can be seen on various platforms on the internet, so it therefore, it plays an important role in the movement.