President Obama is defending the Black Lives Matter Movement. During an event discussing Criminal Justice reform, the president told the audience that the African-American community was not just “making stuff up.”
During a Panel Discussion on Criminal Justice Reform at the White House yesterday, Obama described the Black Lives Matter as a social media movement that rose in the wake of Ferguson and the death of Eric Gardner in New York City.
He also defended the organization from being labeled as an anti-police movement, suggesting that the overall movement was based on a positive idea.
“Sometimes, like any of these loose organizations, some people pop off and say dumb things,” he admitted.
He also pointed out that the movement was sometimes misunderstood because of their slogan.
“The notion was somehow saying ‘black lives matter’ was reverse racism or suggesting that other people’s lives didn’t matter or police officers lives didn’t matter,” Obama said, referring to critics of the organization accusing them of being “bogged down” in negative stereotypes.
“I think everybody understands all lives matter,” he continued. “I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter.”
Obama insisted that the protests were based on a “legitimate issue,” pointing out that African-Americans were not being treated fairly in some communities. He urged critics realize that the African-American community was “not just making this up.”
“It’s real, and there’s a history behind it and we have to take it seriously,” he said.
But Obama called on activists to be more careful in their insistence on change, suggesting that they “back it up with data, not anecdote, to not paint with a broad brush.”
He called for all activists to understand that the majority of law enforcement officials were doing the right thing even if they were doing tough jobs in tough neighborhoods.
“We shouldn’t be too sanctimonious about situations that sometimes can be ambiguous, but having said all that we as a society particularly given our history have to take this seriously,” he said.