'Blue Lives Matter' Is Not About Respecting Police — It's About Upholding White Supremacy

by Sa'iyda Shabazz
Originally Published: 

As a group of incensed white Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, they very clearly had one mission. They were going to make sure the whole world knew they were angry. Too angry to accept their guy lost, they were hell bent on letting everyone know how they felt. And as they took the Capitol building under siege, they made it clear they would take out anyone who got in their way. So when Capitol and local police tried to stop them from entering the building, these insurrectionists made one thing abundantly clear. Despite being the type of people to proclaim Blue Lives Matter, they don’t actually believe that. For these people, blue lives only matter when they’re on the same side. Which makes it clear that Blue Lives Matter isn’t actually about cops. It’s about maintaining white supremacy.

Blue Lives Matter exists as a direct response to Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is a group who exists to fight police brutality. Feeling a large anti-police backlash as the public became aware of police brutality, police around the country needed a diversion. Enter the counter movement. Blue Lives Matter was founded back in 2016 after two New York City police officers were killed during a targeted attack. Though the two officers who were killed were men of color, the group’s most vocal supporters are largely white. Because of this, it’s easy to see the group’s roots in white supremacy. As a result, it’s not surprising that many Trump supporters also support this particular “movement.” And the support is anything but quiet. If you see photos from the Capitol siege, there are plenty of participants waving flags with thin blue lines or more blatant solidarity with police.

So what happened? Why did these ardent supporters of Blue Lives Matter suddenly turn on police? Well, the answer is quite simple. These white people only support the police when the police are killing Black people. As soon as police have to do their jobs, they are no longer seen as allies — they’re the enemy. But that’s the thing these supporters of the police seem to forget. At the end of the day, police officers are doing a job. “Blue lives” aren’t a real thing — they’re people who are doing a job. And while some of them definitely agree with the people storming the Capitol, those aren’t the people they answer to. Whether they want to or not, police officers have to do as they’re told. If they have to bust heads to get people to not storm a federal building, that’s what they’re going to do.


AFP via Getty Images

“In general, the public has this mistaken assumption that the police are there to serve and protect them,” John Jay College political science professor Maria Haberfeld told The Washington Post.

Well of course that doesn’t sit well with these people. In their minds, because they’re allegedly on the same side, they’re above the law. How dare these cops do their jobs? Who do they think they are? Many of the insurrectionists believe they’re above the law, especially because of their support of Blue Lives Matter. They also believe their whiteness makes them impervious to consequence.

“This is not America,” a woman said to a small group, her voice shaking. She was crying, hysterical. “They’re shooting at us. They’re supposed to shoot BLM, but they’re shooting the patriots,” The Nation writer Andrew McCormick overheard a participant saying.

And there you go. That’s why these “patriots” were so quick to turn against the police. Because white people want to be able to do whatever they want. One of the many benefits to their whiteness is supposed to be that nothing ever happens to them. All of their behavior is a direct result of their belief that they can do no wrong. The imagined lack of consequence is the only thing that could make them turn on the police. Because why else would the people holding a Blue Lives Matter sign begin assaulting the same people they claim to support? These people will turn on anyone who gets in the way of them having what they want. Even though they claim to be in support of law and order. That law and order can only be used against Black and brown people. Not fine, upstanding white nationalists like themselves.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty

CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

By now, you’ve likely seen footage of the mob literally attacking police officers. In every one of those interactions, it’s proof that they don’t believe blue lives matter in the least. A vicious mob swarmed officer Eugene Goodman as he tried to hold them off for a whole minute. Others hurled insults at officers, using words like “traitor” and imploring others (presumably white) to stand with them. Police were literally attacked by these rioters using things like a hockey stick, a crutch and ironically, an American flag pole. U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was bludgeoned in the head with a fire extinguisher. He later died from his injuries, and it was announced that his death is going to be investigated as a homicide.

But it’s not only the people at the Capitol proving Blue Lives Matter is a total sham. In December 2020, Danny Presti, owner of Mac’s Public House in Staten Island, New York hit a police officer with his car. For those who don’t know, Staten Island is full of the Blue Lives Matter crowd and Trump supporters. Presti repeatedly held super spreader events at his restaurant despite N.Y. governor Andrew Cuomo’s order that bars and restaurants stop serving customers indoors. After yet again defying the rules, Presti tried to sneak out of the restaurant, finding police waiting for him out front. And instead of being a big boy and admitting to being wrong, he got into his car. Driving into the crowd of officers, he hit a sheriff’s deputy, who was then “thrown onto the hood of the vehicle,” according to a statement.

Whether people want to believe it or not, Blue Lives Matter isn’t real because there are no “blue lives.” And it isn’t a movement formed from real concern. It’s a troll group that people use to silence people with legitimate concerns. And those who support it are white people who wear their hate openly. Now, they’re finally making it clear that they will throw anyone under the bus who tries to get in their way, including the police they claim to love. Hopefully now that they’ve attacked the police, we’ll begin to see that it’s not about the movement. It’s about continuing to uphold white supremacy, no matter the cost.

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