Will the Black Lives matter movement create lasting change?

There’s no question that the wave of protests against police violence and racial injustice across the country has had a tremendous impact. “It’s different this time” has been a frequent sentiment among historians, activists and other experts. Is it too early to tell?

Yes, the #BLM Protests will create lasting change

It's different this time: while modern U.S. history has no shortage of social movements, today’s effort is more focused and universal.

It's not just a black movement anymore

“The long history of black folks in this country is conflict and struggle, between ourselves and the state and other interests within the society so that we can live free. And this is the first time that I think a lot of us have felt that the battle was legitimately joined, not just by white people but other people of color.” - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vox

Political winds are shifting in the direction of change

“The evidence of police brutality has become too widespread even for elected officials to ignore. They can no longer easily coddle police unions in exchange for political support; now ignoring police misconduct will become a political liability, and perhaps something will change.” — Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

There has been a remarkable change in public opinion

“In what may represent one of the more rapid shifts in racial attitudes in recent U.S. history ... a broad majority of Americans now believe that both the police and society as a whole are beset by systemic racism.” — Andrew Romano, Yahoo News

There is a clear set of proposals to defeat systemic racism

“The protesters who have turned out over the past week also seem to be more aware of structural racism in the past, and prepared to combat it. Many seem to recognize that the criminal justice system is just one part of a panorama of structures of oppression across this country, from the criminalization of the poor to widespread, unequal access to housing, nutritious food, employment, environmental safety, health care, clean air, water and citizenship.” — Peniel E. Joseph, Politico

No, the #BLM Protests will not create lasting change

Like so many movements before this one, the social injustice and systemic racism will remain long after the protests have died down.

A backlash to the movement is inevitable

“There will be a backlash to these actions. ... That backlash may come at the ballot box, or it may come in some other indirect form. Some people aren’t interested in direct confrontation in the streets. They may simply prefer to express their opposition in a way that these protesters expect it least — businesses moving out, reluctance to hire, reluctance to visit a neighborhood, effectively abandoning a community.” — Jim Geraghty, National Review

Partisanship may prevent any major legislative changes

“Admitting there’s a problem with policing and racism in America seems to have bridged the partisan gap that, well, there is a problem. But creating policy solutions will be harder, and like in so many other instances where there is broad bipartisan support for action (immigration, guns), it may be a partisan divide that prevents anything from changing.” — Amber Phillips, Washington Post

Democrats haven’t shown the ambition needed to tackle the scale of the problem

“Already Democrats are at odds with activists and even popular opinion over how to address police brutality.” — Alexander Sammon, American Prospect

Systemic racism is a constantly moving target

“The United States has the remarkable ability to reconstitute old oppressions from the ashes of social movements.” — Tressie McMillan Cottom, Politico
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This page was last edited on Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 10:36 UTC