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#thankublu - #BlueLivesMatter Campaign Causes Stir Among #BlackLivesMatter Supporters

Business Insider
Since the Black Lives Matter movement was first given a name, certain individuals have attempted to counterbalance it by asserting that, in fact, All Lives Matter. It's true, fundamentally, but many have argued that such an argument devalues both the term and the entire social movement surrounding it. The argument was never that black lives matter more, but that they are being undervalued and oppressed. They don't matter more, but some have had to fight to prove that they even matter as much.

In perhaps the most polarising response to the campaign since it started, billboards across America have started to appear with 'Blue Lives Matter' daubed across them. The blue, in this instance, refers to the colour of police uniforms. The message behind the billboards is that the good work police are doing should be appreciated, and that hatred and violence towards police officers is unacceptable.

There's no arguing with the message, it's just the method of delivery that needs to be reconsidered. By selecting 'Blue Lives Matter' as a slogan, the campaign has become inextricably linked to Black Lives Matter. This is bad for two reasons, firstly because many of the deaths which have galvanised the African American community into civil rights action involved police offers and secondly because reworking the slogan makes it look as if they're drawing a line in the sand between the police and the black community. This obviously wasn't the intention, but it's easy to see how it could be interpreted that way.

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Interestingly (at least for my part, because it allows me to talk about it), this very topic was actually covered aptly in a recent episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. For the unfamiliar, it's a sitcom about an NYPD precinct in Brooklyn. In the most recent episode, former Nine-Nine captain turned PR manager Raymod Holt (Andre Braugher) starts up a campaign to use billboards to improve the NYPD's image. It backfires as the posters, which feature an officer looking clean cut and (supposedly) friendly, are all vandalised. They solve the problem by developing a new poster saying 'We Can Do Better' and featuring Holt's email address, so that he can respond to public complaints and suggestions.

I wouldn't be bring this up if I didn't think that the show writers had absolutely nailed the solution to this real-world issue. If police departments in the US want to improve their image they have to accept that incidents like the deaths of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and others have unjustly but undeniably tarnished their general public image and make it clear that they're committed to improving. What social media campaigns like this suggest is that they are effectively accusing their critics of being wrong about them. Pulling Black Lives Matter into the debate is only going to fan the flames.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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#thankublu - #BlueLivesMatter Campaign Causes Stir Among #BlackLivesMatter Supporters Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, October 17, 2015 Rating: 5

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