Of course they do! You won’t hear any argument from me that police lives are less valuable than the lives of other folks.
So what makes this a Stupid Bad Meme? Well, it’s a play on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which started in 2012 following the death of Trayvon Martin and gained steam when Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black citizens, were killed by law enforcement officers in 2014. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” isn’t meant to suggest that other peoples’ lives don’t matter; it’s meant to draw attention to an issue that is sorely pressing – namely, the fact that black people are, on average, more likely to be the victims of police brutality than are people of other ethnic groups. Furthermore, there is shockingly little accountability handed to the police officers who take the lives of unarmed black citizens.
The words “Black Lives Matter” form a statement that should be obvious, but apparently is not universally accepted. The statement calls attention to the fact (and yes, it is a fact) that black lives are undervalued by the modern power structure. Police brutality against unarmed minorities is just one symptom of systemic racism. If we, the nation, will claim to be founded on the twin pillars of justice and equality, then we have to stop this. We cannot continue to ignore or downplay the value of black lives. That’s what “Black Lives Matter” is all about.
But wait, you ask, don’t police lives matter too? After all, they’re in a dangerous job and anti-police sentiment seems to be boiling over lately.
Yes, police lives do matter. Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful for police officers who protect and serve, just like it says on the badge. But the value of a police officer’s life is largely accepted without question; ergo, the “Police Lives Matter” meme is wholly unnecessary. This is reminiscent of the “Straight Pride” meme. Somebody has taken an important message and corrupted it to support something that hasn’t been maligned. In doing so, they have diverted the focus away from a major problem, and in doing that, they have become part of the problem.