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Chicago protests about media coverage for Trump, #BlackLivesMatter

Written By | Mar 17, 2016

LOS ANGELES, March 17, 2016 — Few memes are actually clever or convey any significant truth. Most are reaction generators that perpetuate falsehoods. However, this meme from Rick Sarmiento’s 2 Million Bikers to DC’s Facebook page is striking:

Rick Sarmiento

The contrast is startling. While there is hyperbole here, there is also a grain of truth.

What is untrue about the meme is that some members of the Chicago community protest against the violence in their neighborhoods, and they do it on a regular basis. An article from DNAInfo Chicago highlights these brave people and organizations who are making their voices heard and have had some measure of success in this long-standing war.

But here is the element of truth: Where is the consistent mass outcry on this matter that fuels major protests like the one against Trump last Friday?

Trump canceled his appearance at the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion, fueling the protests between his supporters, Black Lives Matter and various other organizations. Those protests leave us with a sad truth: Blacks would rather come out en masse to protest a candidate who has not yet won the nomination than organize and do the hard work of changing the situations in their neighborhoods.

The tenor and circumstance of the perpetual violence and unrest in Chicago give Trump’s candidacy fuel to pour on the fire. If these protesters were as organized and up-in-arms about the neighborhood violence as they are about a presidential candidate, there would be much less to feed the rhetoric Trump spouts.

Think about that.

It would be easier to respect the Black Lives Matter crowd if they were truly about saving black lives. That they ignore organizations like Tamar Manasseh’s Mothers Against Senseless Killings, which seeks partner organizations, and instead mount protests against political candidates and police departments shows where their true interest lies.

The GOP establishment versus Donald Trump

It is telling that the most prominent heads of this movement, DeRay McKesson and Shaun White, are now running for political office and doing “social justice writing” for a major newspaper, respectively. Are they helping to change matters in the so-called black community? This is not apparent; what is apparent is that they have gained a platform and notoriety while the protests over issues remain.

I wrote on this in 2014:

Protesting is an American right, whether over social media or done in an orderly fashion as is happening now in the cities of New York, Boston and Chicago over the Garner decision. Here is the problem: it is not Blacks being targeted by a white, militaristic police system or a justice system that is fatally flawed. It is Blacks’ devaluation of their own lives and the refusal to deal with systemic issues in urban communities.

Had #BlackLivesMatter remained a consistent mantra over the last 50 years, we would not have the fatherlessness, crime, and poverty that perpetuate the vicious cycle of violence, excessive policing, and loss of life.

An article on sheds light on the protests that the mainstream news services appear to be either downplaying or ignoring. We know that the protests were organized far in advance of the date of Trump’s Chicago rally and that the protest organizers had a particular strategy to ensure they were not ejected as has been done in Trump’s past rallies. Why not bring that level of organization to communities that so desperately need it?

Let me guess: no guaranteed media coverage.

Trump is the one who chose to cancel that rally, without informing the Chicago Police Department or UIC security. In doing this, Trump not only actively contributed to the chaos, but lied in claiming his first amendment rights were violated.

Why feed the media coverage for someone who is simply playing you for his own strategy?

Trump has a right to campaign, and people have a right to protest. But when the goal of protest is to bring attention to yourself rather than effect change, then you feed into the warped mentality of the Trump campaign and many of his followers, while fueling memes laden with half-truth.

Jennifer Oliver OConnell

Jennifer Oliver OConnell offers witty, insightful, and direct opinion, analysis and musings on local and national politics and popular culture, with occasional detours into reinvention, food, and Yoga. Jennifer also teaches Yoga, and coaches clients on careers and reinvention. You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website.