While Black Lives Matter continues to make headlines amid news of more horrifying shootings, which include the massacre of five Dallas police officers, there are some that are wondering if all the uproar is creating a rift between cultures that may soon be unbridgeable.
“We have these two separate parties that are screaming so loud, and it’s creating this really harsh noise, and it’s really hard to make sense of it,” Philadelphia writer Kyle Hiller, who is black, said of the clash, according to Toronto Star. He said he was so “numb” as a result of the killings that he could barely get out of bed Friday.
Time reports that former United States Representative Joe Walsh, now a radio host, blamed Black Lives Matter for the current racial tensions in a series of tweets, in addition to blaming President Barack Obama.
Walsh’s tweets, however, spawned a series of responses, many of which accused Walsh of being racist, which he has been accused of previously. Walsh has seen his radio show temporarily pulled from the airwaves for racist slurs he allegedly used on air, and has made racist comments regarding President Obama.
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) July 9, 2016
The tweet that perhaps garnered Walsh the most notice about Black Lives Matter and President Obama continues to cause Walsh grief, as he says he has received death threats for his statements.
Of his statements effectively accusing Black Lives Matter and President Obama of fueling the current spate of gun violence, Walsh said, according to the Washington Post, “Of course I didn’t mean ‘let’s go kill Obama and Black Lives Matter.’ I was not trying to incite violence against Obama and Black Lives Matter. That’s crazy and stupid and wrong.”
He continued, “There’s a war against our cops in this country, and I think Obama has fed that war and Black Lives Matter has fed that war…. Obama’s words and the deeds of Black Lives Matter have gotten cops in this country killed.”
Black Lives Matter, however, denounced the violence which killed five Dallas police officers, saying that the shootings were the result of one individual rather than the organization, according to CNN.
#BlackLivesMatter advocates dignity, justice and freedom. Not murder.— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) July 8, 2016
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said that during an NAACP-organized march in Georgia – a march that he was a part of – only 10 were arrested, which he took as a signal that the voices of young black people were making some progress.
“One of the things that is exciting about this protest tonight,” he said. “Our young people have an expectation that they will be treated fairly and justly… Every generation makes their demands. Their tolerance level is much different to perhaps my parents’ generation or their parents generation.”
In what was perhaps a sign of support for Black Lives Matter, people in San Francisco, California, banded together in front of the waterfront with signs saying, “Stop racist police terror in the U.S.”
Reed said that although there are police officers who may let racist beliefs motivate them more often than not, there are still a lot of officers on the streets that believe more than just Black Lives Matter; they believe all lives matter, and they are continuing to try to do good. While not directly talking about Black Lives Matter, Reed added that society still has to speak out when law enforcement or government does not do the right thing.
“We have to respect the 99.9% of law enforcement officials who do good everyday but we have to act decisively when individuals in the law enforcement community do wrong,” Reed said.
Time reported that because tensions were high, the Black Lives Matter community found it hard to believe that an African American would choose to use what was a peaceful protest as a place to gun down police officers. Members of the Dallas Action Coalition, one of the protest organizers, spent July 8 combing through videos for any sign of the shooter at their peaceful protest.
There were those, however, who weren’t sure what was going on and continued to voice distrust of police officers.
“How do we know [the shooter] was targeting white cops?” La’Shadion Anthony says. “The only people who heard that was white cops. How do we know who he was or what color he was? He was blown up. There’s nothing left of him. We don’t trust anything they say.”
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 9, 2016
Demaria Laforte, one of the few at the protest Thursday to see the shooter, said while the protest might be her last, she knew there was no way everyone could be controlled and that there was still a possibility someone intent on violence might still show at a rally. She still wanted to hear what the Black Lives Matter community had to say in response to the shooting.
“We can’t control the entire population,” she noted. “If a crazy person wants to show up they have the right to do that. We don’t know what’s going on in a person’s mind. I don’t want to have to fear for my life. I’m waiting on what they say on the Black Lives Matter Dallas Facebook page—that’s how most of us heard about this. I want to see what they think is true.”
[Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]