There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this picture: teenagers from a suburban high school confronting President Donald Trump and lawmakers like Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio about the urgent need for gun control, all while receiving sympathetic media coverage and widespread support. Many young Black activists, who are veterans of the Black Lives Matter movement, support the anti-gun effort but see a double standard.
There has been an outpouring of support for the survivors and 17 victims of the Feb. 14 horrific mass shooting at the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Why don’t Black people get to be victims? Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors asked during a Huffington Post Black History Month panel. She added: “When we go out into the streets, when we protest, when we demand for our lives to matter, we’re given heavy police repression.”
Some argue that the Parkland student protesters have articulated a specific policy demand that’s lacking from the Black Lives Matter movement. That’s simply not true. Young Black activists have several policy goals, articulated in the Campaign Zero initiative and that include specific policing reforms.
The reason for the difference is obvious to many: “It is because in America, Black lives often don’t matter,” Dahleen Glanton wrote in the Chicago Tribune. In addition to that, Whites don’t generally agree with Black people that the police are racially biased, she stated.
“In the backs of a lot of people’s minds, including some African-Americans, there is always the nagging question of whether people like 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling did something to provoke their deaths,” Glanton added.
There’s no jealousy or resentment for the positive attention the Parkland students have received. Black activists have noted the differences and moving on, wanting simply to have their voices heard too.