America has reached the tipping point on an issue that has plagued the minds of most Americans for many decades. Following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, thousands of protests ignited across the country. Those in attendance began demanding reform in America’s police departments. The chant “Black Lives Matter” emerged once again, and stirred up the divide between liberals and conservatives.
The controversy did not start until a select handful of these protests turned into violent riots. Countless stores and businesses were looted and destroyed. In effect, these riots muddied the core message of what the largely peaceful protests represented. The conversation turned from “How can we bring about police reform?” to “How can we maintain law and order?”
Those towards the left emphasized the need to listen to the core message of the protests, while disregarding the rioting. Those towards the right emphasized the need to maintain law and order amidst peaceful protesting and stopped short of listening to the core message of the protests. Additionally, more liberal individuals would encourage saying “Black Lives Matter,” while more conservative individuals chose to say “All Lives Matter” instead.
The debate between which slogan is better to say is irrelevant to the goal of the movement for racial justice because people who say “Black Lives Matter” know that all lives do indeed matter and people who say “All Lives Matter” know that black lives matter too.
According to the Boston Globe, a black person is three times more likely to be killed during an interaction with the police than a white person. The article also points out that one study cited to dispel any notion of disproportionate killings of black people at the hands of police officers are “mathematically incapable of supporting its central claims.” In other words, they’re arguing a point that can’t be proven right or wrong.
As with most situations in politics, the solution to this issue lies in the center between both extremes. Liberals, for better or worse, have the right idea in emphasizing the importance of the core message of the protests. There is undeniably an issue in America involving police brutality of unarmed civilians, whether the victim is white, black, Hispanic, etc. It just so happens that black Americans are also more likely to have more encounters with police officers than white people, even in areas without high crime rates.
The problem conservatives tend to have with this is not the need to reform the police, but the implication that some institutions in America may be racist. This article is not arguing whether conservatives are justified in believing this, but, if they are, the goal should still be the same for both sides involved.
Conservatism is largely based on limiting government involvement in citizen’s lives, knowing that less government means more freedom for the individual. In enacting police reform, conservatives are doing just that by at least attempting to reduce the number of interactions, and therefore altercations, people may have with the police.
What racial justice means in all of this, is that every American, regardless of their skin color, need not worry about being unlawfully nor unjustly shot and killed.
Conservatives should embrace the movement for racial justice because, to put it plainly, it’s in line with the core values of conservatism in the first place.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.