Paper 1 Student Voices

I believe the counter movement still wants to continue the status quo. However, in the words paul and I quote “white man’s profound desire not to be judged by those who are not white, not to be seen as he is, and at the same time a vast amount of the white anguish is rooted in the white man’s equally profound need to be seen as he is, to be released from the tyranny of his mirror.” This quote shows a problem that many Americans do not reflect on the history of the United states of America and ignores  the problems of today that of the past. My thoughts on this matter are as follows: we need to recognize the flaws  of the current system and build a new one that addresses the flaws of the old system.

So having a race that has been oppressing us for years, killing us, enslaving us, and stealing our lives have the nerve to say ALM when we say BLM? it’s just showing us that we’re in a never-ending cycle that our ancestors had to endure but just in different forms. Just as James Baldwin was trying to steer his nephew away from the downtrodden lifestyle handed down by the “white man” but it never changes and his story is a prime example.

Humans should not be valued over property. Humans are the reason we are all moving. I do understand property investments is highly needed to make us survive in a way society as well, but it should be an equal way to do it. I feel controlled living an unhappy life having to pay for everything. I have to pay high levels of taxes for the law either for property interest or not for my own. I want to live a peaceful mind; I need great leaders that understand law should be equally used. Humanity needs an understanding and not everyone deserves be treated unfair.

When it is clear that they are not being protected by the law, but instead, oppressed by it, the only thing that is left is to protest and to try to uproot the system that perpetuates injustice. As the Black Lives Matter movement protested police brutality in Ferguson, a counter-movement arose in the form of White Supremacy. Hate groups began targeting African Americans as in the massacre in a black church in Charleston (Lawrence, 2015).  In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and calls to reform the police and root out systemic racism, there is a proposed “new law” of new law and order rhetoric voiced by political leaders. The Black Lives Matter movement and counter-movements fits the pattern identified by Lawrence of protest in the face of a failure in the law to address injustice and a “new law” moving in to counteract legislation and social change meant to promote racial justice. The pattern will continue, according to Lawrence, until systemic racism is rooted out (Lawrence, 2015).

I feel that law is being understood in the Black Lives Matter movement as an unjust or unfair way to keep people of color from progressing  or even living in peace one might say, even after the abolishment of slavery, such acts were created to belittle and make people of color feel inferior even stopping people of color from gaining political positions and many time from buying property , acts like black codes, chain gangs, and Jim Crow laws which replaced the Reconstruction acts and both the 14th and 15th amendments were of little to no importance in the south, this is stated one page 390 (Journal of Legal Education) in “The Fire This Time: Black Lives Matter, Abolitionist Pedagogy and the Law”. I believe that The Black Lives Matter movement shared many viewpoints with Sir William Blackstone one being the fact that slavery  shouldn’t not and simply cannot coexist with human freedom in any way, shape, nor form.

Throughout the text Charles Lawrence discusses the numerous antidiscrimination laws that weren’t effective at all. In the text it states “In 1963, the unemployment rate for whites was 5.0%; for nonwhites it was 10.9%. About a fifth of the whit population had incomes below the poverty line, compared with about half the black population. In 1067, the unemployment rate for black youth between the ages of sixteen and nineteen was 26% twice that of white youth.”
This goes to show that even though there were laws put in place to make sure that people of color received fair treatment it never happened. Although Jim crow was canceled in 1964, it didn’t mean that it didn’t get rid of the private capital white people had on people of color. People of color worked for little to nothing, under slave like conditions to find any way to make ends meet. Over the course of the years, life has gotten better for people of color, but it isn’t an ideal life. Everyday were fighting at the hands of people that consider themselves to be our superior.

But with the help of people who fought for justice, Black people have made a lot of progress in stories. Still the dominant power is white supremacy notes the author. Despite this, black people sought the abolition of the confederate flag in some places. Unfortunately, material injustices still remained. After all this, “Black Lives Matter” movement fights against everyday violence, inequality and fear. From the life of Blackstone, I could understand that his works were widespread, including in America. Some businessmen began to conclude contracts and publish American publications. Many people inspired by the work of Blackstone have done great things. Such as writing declarations of independence and of course, some high-ranking people were preferring their children to become lawyers.

Professor Lawrence goes onto say that “revolutionary transformation comes out of active resistance”, however I don’t see any justification of the burning down of cities, small time businesses or the act of violence upon innocent civilians. Although the Judiciary Act was supposed to impose checks and balances throughout the court system, the process has come into question when as individuals of color over represent the majority of the incarceration rate within the United States. Not to mention the fact that these practices were written during a time of which not all men were created equal. From what I’ve read about Sir William Blackstone, I gathered that he was the fundamental foundation for what we know today as civil law in the British Empire. Those judicial practices then carried over in the newfound land of America.Charles R. Lawrence III, professor of law and author of The Fire this Time Black Lives Matter, Abolitionist Pedagogy and the Law. Mr. Lawrence dives into a dark side related to the founding’s of this very judicial system and how it still holds prejudice towards colored individuals. At first reading it I was reluctant reading over it at first just due to the sensitivity of the subject but soon after reading over Mr. Charles’ section on three reasons for ‘Critical Race Theory’ made have some questions about the grounds of the judicial system and their possible racial disparities.

The commentaries by William Blackstone and the Judiciary Act relate to the Black Lives Movement because they all had common laws in them. For example, rioting. Not to riot of destroy someone’s property was and is a common law. This relates to the commentaries because the commentaries talked about common laws. The judiciary act made federal courts to address and enforce the common laws. The black live movement had peoples properties destroyed and taken. These to relate because it is all common laws that the commentaries were talking about which influenced the judiciary act of 1789. The judiciary act also talked about “The Whiskey Rebellion”. Which was that groups of farmers refused to pay federal tax on whiskey. The common law was to pay tax for whiskey. But a group of farmers rebelled against that in which it was addressed in the federal courts.

These articles will help me show my understating of law and the effect it has on the Black Lives Movement and Countermovement. Black Lives Matter has taken over 2020 vastly, but there are still people who are missing the point to it all and they are a part of the countermovement.This movement is to help us gain respect, equality and most importantly to end racial injustice and racism. Racism and racial injustice actually should have been ended and now we are demanding it to end. We have shown the length and measures we would take in order to see the change happen. Everyday there is another death or another racial profiling and it’s time for things to be different. Everyone has gotten too immune to living unequally and now is the time to speak up and use your voice. The Black people have started to stand up and created a movement called “Black Lives Matter”.  The laws never discriminates, it is the people who are enforcing, them that are using their power to wrongly treat poor and colored people. White people in my opinion feel like they have the peer to say and do anything and the justice system has proven them right so far. True progression takes time and will not happen over night but with everyone’s contribution change can happen and we can be reformed. “Our laws have failed to achieve racial justice because racism has shaped our law’s DNA. The United States was established and constituted in law that valued property over humanity”. When I read these two sentence I felt the truth in them. Property is definitely valued more over human life and that should not be.

There are men and women of all races that have been arrested during protests and other forms of promoting BLM. However, there are police officers that have committed very serious crimes which have been completely ignored by our law system. This a huge issue because people are going to stop respecting the law system which will eventually lead to them failing to obey it. “Black folk hear the news and feel the terror as if we were present, knowing that we might well have been in that prayer circle, knowing that the killer cared not which of us he killed.” This quote shows how black people feel every time they hear about a black person being murdered by police. They mourn the victim as if it was a member of their own family because they know in their hearts that if they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is very possible for them to share the same fate. William Blackstone was a very influential figure who helped shape the American legal system we have today. His commentaries helped the founding fathers develop the basic principles for our legal system. Today some of these basic principles are being ignored leaving us with a lack of justice and a lack of support for our law enforcement. No one is above the law and there is no reason that a police officer should be able to get away with the things that they can. We need to reinforce these basic principles and regain the trust and support of the American people before it is too late. Without change our country is going to become a very violent and dangerous place to live.

As an individual whose initial goal was to join the NYPD, I have given a lot of thought as to the changes that must happen if we are to move forward as a country. Aside from the blatant accountability issue within the police force, proper training for the officers is also necessary. The Judiciary Act was a good starting point for a new nation, but over 200 years later it doesn’t hold up as well in our society. Real change must occur if we are to prevent the chaos and disorder that Blackstone had referred to. The Black Lives Matter movement sees the law as unjust and biased towards white people and those in power. The countermovement believes that many of the men and women killed by police were not innocent, and that the BLM movement is a sham. I personally believe that both sides spend unnecessary amounts of time attacking the other, while no real change is occurring. Crime in society will always be evident to some extent, and the real change needs to occur within our judicial systems ability to interpret and uphold those laws. The idea behind Blackstone’s work was to simplify the law in England and help bring chaos to order. People cannot be expected to follow laws that they don’t understand and giving the people the tools to understand is the one of the first steps to bringing structure to a society. His commentaries would later help influence the newly formed Unites States of America and their Judiciary Act.

Generally, everybody who participated in the marches and the riots felt that the law was oppressing the people of color, mainly the African American people. He is very articulate in claiming that he does not wish to say that the law has failed or that the civil rights have become corrupted; however, the examples he gives, the side of the story he narrates, and the quotes he uses show that failure is what he is implying.
On the other hand, the law begins to cater to people of color when the street protests have been successfully challenging the morality of the racist structures and contests the justification of the structures by legal narratives and by politics (Lawrence, 2015). He is distraught that the law itself is protecting and justifying racism. I think that he has a point when he claims that the law is unable to fight off racism because racism is embedded in the law’s skeleton. I believe so because most of the instituted laws during the slavery period and the American civil war were only amended or partially changed. However, I believe that the right course would have been to altogether abolish the law and come up with new building structures for the law. In the context, the law is viewed as a failure in that it has been unable to institute a free and fair country for all people, including people of color.

Blackstone is best known for the english law. Blackstone believed, were like scientific laws such as in creations of god waiting to be discovered just as Isaac Newton had discovered the laws of gravity a century before. Blackstone may have proved his best and worse when he stated “ It is best if the mass of mankind will obey the laws when made, without examining too nicely into the reasons for making them.” overall law is being understood and related to black lives matter as the BLM article states “As we hear each report of another killing, we feel sad, vulnerable, angry, and frightened to our children. This shows how bad it has gotten in today’s society with violence and brutality like the article says “ each day brings new news of police and vigilance violence against people of color.” overall all of this applies to the law because it is being violated on both sides from police using abuse of power and people looting and destroying others small business using “protest” as a shield to loot and become violent towards others and destroy.

Blackstone and Black Lives movement had a significant influence on shaping history and the evolution of the law. While the Black Lives identified the flaws in practicing the English common law, Blackstone influenced reformation in the Judicial Act, which is evident through his contributions in teaching the law. ording to Lawrence III, the laws were made to propagate racism among the citizens since they never created racial justice (400). The Black Lives’ perception of the law was that the failure of the civil rights law was justification and maintenance of racism among the people. The commentaries written by the Blackstone and the narrations of American history through the Black Lives indicated different perceptions towards the law. Blackstone enhanced the understanding and the establishment of the common law. On the other hand, Black lives pointed out the flaws found within the common law, which were propagated through the concept of racism. Overall, racism was perceived to occur as a result of civil rights failure. The interpretation of the law in the Black Lives focused on the propagation and maintenance of racism.

New abolitionist of the Black Lives Matter movements faces the same challenge as their ancestors in the black freedom movement. Here again those in power offer to take down the visible sign and symbols that designate the inferiority and non-citizenship. But the violence of structural and institutional racism remains in place, as does the constitution’s broader commitment to property over humanity. Lawrence R. Charles, The Fire This Time Black Lives Matter, Abolitionist Pedagogy and The Law, pg. 403. At a deeper level, Black Lives Matter articulates everyday with violence on black communities by the inequalities of segregated schools, unemployment, and wealth. Young people must expose the lies in the law’s narrative and speak directly to the people talking back, resisting power, telling the rest blacks have been the authors of their own freedom. They must know that Black Lives Matter is about saving lives, reconstituting the nation, by creating a revolution against law and culture that values property over humanity.

The failure of our civil rights laws refl ects law’s central role in the maintenance and justification of racism. Laws never create racial justice.” This means that those protestors believe that the government is not doing anything about racism, so they will keep fighting for their rights. I’m not sure if destroying properties and burning your own community down is “fighting for what’s right”. By saying “burning down your own community” I mean burning down small businesses, such as stores, stealing jewelry, breaking and destroying vehicles of the residents that live in the same community as you. And by saying “burning down” I don’t mean the same way the city Dresden was burning, as you have mentioned in the comment to my draft paper. But, I do agree that protesting should happen and should not be interfered, but destroying properties is not right and if those riots don’t stop, I believe that police must use lethal force to prevent more damage from happening. In the text Law and Society it states, “as in earlier freedom movements, what these community activists learned in the process of struggle was more significant than what they achieved through legislation or the courts. The plunderers’ and the law’s initial response to disruption was a combination of direct repressive violence and compromise. The most radical organizations and voices were targeted by FBI infiltration, police violence, and imprisonment. The new generation of black activists was easily portrayed in the stereotypes of dangerous, violent, and criminal that lurked in the psyches of white Americans.” This shows how the Counter-Movement believes that before, the freedom movements were more significant if used through legislation or the courts. I believe that the right way to fight for what’s right is to protest, but definitely not to riot and destroy your own community. In the text Law and Society, it says “They must know that Black Lives Matter is about saving all of our lives, about reconstructing our nation, by creating a revolution against law and culture that value property over humanity” I agree and support this quote very much. No human should have less rights because of how he or she looks.

Black Lives Matter movement shows us that law stops functioning if it doesn’t apply equally to everyone. Amendments were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms, and many more. Although many laws outlawed discrimination in employment and banned race-based segregation, as well as some efforts by successive US governments to tackle racial inequalities, racism still continues large in 21st-century America. Minorities in the US continue to receive discriminatory treatment from law enforcement officials and experience irregularities in the justice system. One simple example is when African-American wrongdoers and felons receive harsher sentences than white Americans when they commit the same crimes. These facts leave us with a question ”do laws actually work if our legal system is broken and we have communities where minorities struggle? If we think deeply, the answer is ”no.” White supremacy should be broken, we should end racially targeted violence, and fix the broken system in which Black people struggle more simply because of the color of their skin. This push to fix the outdated and racially targeted system applies to many different outlets such as schooling systems, housing, job opportunities, healthcare and so forth. These obstacles that millions of people face, shows us a lot about law and questions its effectiveness. Movement highlights the need to change law, its enforcement and criminal justice policies. The road ahead will not be easy for protestors, but only through placing sustained pressure on lawmakers in Congress can the Black Lives Movement achieve the changes necessary to end systemic racism in the US legal system.