Obama Talks “Black Lives Matter”

As President Barack Obama approaches his last year in office, he is constantly reminding us that he is far from through. This became increasingly apparent when he spoke at a White House panel discussion focusing on criminal justice reform on Thursday Oct. 23, and gave what many are calling his most powerful comments concerning the Black Lives Matter movement thus far.

President Obama’s once hesitant position on black politics and Black Lives Matter has rapidly evolved into a firm sign of support of the movement.

“Even though many people criticized President Obama for not focusing enough on the Black Lives Matter movement efforts, I think it’s important that he spoke out at all, especially now,” Morehouse Junior Economics Major Dakarai Barclay said.

The president explained that the slogan “Black Lives Matters” itself is not a term which dismisses the lives of other races.

“There is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities,” Obama said.

Obama’s explanation of the deeper meaning behind the catchy, though often criticized slogan is additionally monumental because it may help to clear up some of the assumptions that have been circulating across the country since the movements’ creation.

Obama proceeded to talk about the history of the country that has caused the emergence of such a movement, discounting any notions that the Black Lives Matter movement is without a viable cause. The president said that the movement is bringing to light a serious issue that needs to be discussed.

“It’s real, and there’s a history behind it,” he said.

It is a reality that has become increasingly important for those supportive of, and dismissive of the movement to grasp in order to see the verity of it.

Although Obama speaks powerfully and whole-heartedly about the “Black lives” involved in the Black Lives Matter campaign, he is not so quick to be one-sided.

“I think it’s important…to understand the overwhelming majority of law enforcement is doing the right thing and wants to do the right thing,” he said.

In this last statement he veers away from being too definitive about the issue being one of “all bad” versus “all good,” and returns to the balanced voice of reason for which he is known.

The president’s comments about the Black Lives Matter campaign at the White House panel discussion have by far been the most aggressive and supportive yet. He subsequently provided solutions for not only the Blacks live suffering from mass murder and unjust incarceration, but also for the police in these communities who genuinely want to put an end to this tragic phenomenon just as much as the Black lives matters movers do.

“While much of what he said was obvious to us that live the Black experience daily, it was encouraging to see our first Black president reaffirm and support what should be common sense in the American public,” Morehouse Junior Philosophy major Malcolm DeFrantz said. “We [Black people] are tired of second class citizenship. His words were consistent with the symbolic nature of his presidency.”

Haili Blassingame

Features Columnist

hblassin@scmail.spelman.edu

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