Blue Lives & The Permanence of Racism
In true dystopian form, the killing of unarmed Black people by the police has sparked a national narrative about the suffering of police officers. “Blue Lives Matter” has become the rallying call for those offended by the suggestion that we should hold police officers accountable for killing unarmed Black people. According to a December 2016 poll, 61% of Americans believed that there was a “war on police,” and 68% of Whites had a favorable view of the police as compared to 40% of Blacks. Lawmakers around the country have been proposing Blue Lives Matter laws that make it a hate crime to kill or assault police officers. This strange twist of events is perverse given the social context. Why should the police be viewed as victims in need of additional protection at precisely the same moment that many have questioned their victimization of Black communities? This Essay considers this question and argues that “Blue Lives Matter” is evidence of the permanence of racism as a juridical and discursive matter in this country.
Cornell Law Review Online, 2020