It is barely six months when another police shooting involving a black teenager, Carnell
Snell Jr happened. Like always, the news on his shooting that occurred on 107th Street in South
Los Angeles became the talk of the press within minutes attracting attention from people all over
the US, especially from the African Americans. It was another senseless shooting of a black man
barely a month after another killing was reported in San Diego. These two are just a few
instances where senseless police shooting involving black people has been reported. The killing
of Carnell Snell Jr sparked a chain of protests all over the country especially in Los Angeles in
the name of Black Lives Matter (Phillips 5). The intense protests that later turned to be violent
sought to air matters on injustice concerning racial profiling and inequality within the criminal
justice system and the police brutality on African Americans. The protests following the killing
of Snell who was just a young black teenager raised concerns on racism that has had a long
history in the USA since the 18 th century when slaves were released to be free men. The criticism
has been that the US is yet to be an equal society that embraces people of different races apart
from white Americans and for sure, America is far from being an equal society.
The history of police shootings aiming at African American citizens is what created the
Black Lives Matter movement. This movement is similar to other civil rights movements created
to fight for freedom of the black race in America. As a universal activist movement, BLM has
been on the forefront to campaign against systemic racism on African Americans and violence
on them (Day 1). The movement that has become popular in America has devised protests as the
primary way to air its grievances. Unlike other civil rights movement, BLM has no history of
organizing protests, but the demos are as a result of opportune when violence such as the brutal
killing of African American is reported.
The climax on tolerance of police shooting climaxed in 2013 following the acquittal of a
white police who had been charged with wrongly shooting an African-American teenager,
Trayvon Martin. Nevertheless, the movement did not gain national popularity until 2014 when
mass protests rocked Ferguson following the killing of another black teen, Eric Garner (Day 1).
The intensity of the protests caused uproar from Americans acting in unison with the protesters,
and consequently, the police officers involved were arrested. Barely two months after, another
black teen by the name Michael Brown was shot dead in New York, and this time, the demos
became worse with crimes reported such as looting in the US city of New York. The protests
spilled into the next day in various parts of the country mostly involving African Americans.
The move to have the lives of African Americans valued and equality applied to them as
the rest of Americans appeared to take national attention in 2016 when the BLM became
involved with the presidential elections campaign. The efforts to have the rights of African
Americans respected have taken not only the version of demos but also political and legal
address. The involvement of the BLM in the presidential campaign is seen as a way of gaining
political attention on the significance of African Americans. In the past, injustices towards the
African American race had taken a legal and political course when the civil rights movements
either went to court all sought political backing to air their grievances. For instance, Martin
Luther Jr fearlessly led demos against racial inequality and sought to have the Injustices towards
African Americans put to an end through the legal abolishment of the segregation and other
discrimination practices towards black race (Day 1). This culminated to the introduction of civil
rights bill which President Kennedy pushed forward to have it passed. However, his
assassination didn’t stop his efforts as the succeeding President Johnson signed the bill into law.
In conclusion, the background information concerning the history of civil rights
movements and injustices towards the African Americans in America assists us to understand the
genesis of the current problems facing people from the black race. Despite legislation and
political representation of African Americans, they are yet to be treated as American citizens
owing to the recent brutality perpetrated by white police officers. The formation of civil rights
movement such as Black Lives Matter in 21 st century confirms that the inequality and brutality
on African Americans did not die but became suppressed waiting any time to erupt. The reported
cases of African American teenagers being killed by police officers even when they were not
armed are just a few isolated cases that came to the attention of the public. More cases are likely
to have happened without the knowledge of the public. Whereas American society appears to be
a perfect and civilized, racism especially to black race is live and real.
Day, Elizabeth. " #BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement." The Guardian
19 July 2015.
Phillips, Kristine. "Police say black teen shot by LAPD was armed with a handgun when he was
killed." Washington Post 3 Oct 2016: 5.