*Those in doubt about where President Barak Obama stands on the Black Lives Matter movement can now fall back as he voiced that “legitimate” concerns exists with the effort and activists who support it.
Speaking Thursday (Oct. 22) at an event at the White House on criminal justice reform that was moderated by The Marshall Project, Obama acknowledged that Black Lives Matter activists are generating exposure to a legitmate concern regarding whether African-Americans are treated unfairly in specific jurisdictions by law enforcement or receive excessive force more frequently, The Huffington Post reports.
As he expressed the legitimacy of the Black Lives Matter movement, Obama called on activist to recognize that officers have a tough job, adding that the “overwhelming majority of law enforcement is doing the right thing and wants to do the right thing.”
“We as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously,” Obama said about the reality that African-Americans are treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. “The African-American community is not just making this up, and it’s not just something being politicized. It’s real, and there’s a history there.”
Obama’s comments come amid a shaky relationship between law enforcement and the black community, which has been in the spotlight in recent months after a series of fatal encounters involving officers and unarmed black people.
Addressing the crowd at the White House event, Obama went on to emphasize the importance of recognizing that the criminal justice system is a reflection of society.
“We as a society, if we are not investing in opportunity for poor kids, and then we expect just the police and prosecutors to keep them out of sight and out of mind, that’s a failed strategy. That’s a failure on our part as a whole,” he said. “If kids in the inner city are not getting treatment and opportunity, that’s as much of a problem as if it’s happening to our kids, and we’ve got to think of all our children in that same way.”
In addition to the Black Lives Matter movement, HuffPost noted that Obama touched on the “All lives matter” response that is frequently given to the “Black lives matter” refrain. In his eyes, the president feels that Black Lives Matter movement organizers were not suggesting black lives are more important than others. Instead, organizers wanted to get out that some things happen in black communities that wouldn’t be tolerated in other communities, he stated.
“I think everybody understands all lives matter,” Obama said. Everybody wants strong and effective law enforcement, he said, and nobody wants to see police officers hurt who are doing their jobs fairly.”