In a world where it takes a petition to request the removal of clothing glorifying and profiting from slavery, the Fraternal Order of Police wrote a letter to Wal-Mart expressing their offense to a Black Lives Matter T-shirt that shows the word “bulletproof” on one side and requested its removal from Wal-Mart’s website.
Racial tensions continue to plague relations between the black community and law enforcement officers and the misrepresentation of the Black Lives Matter movement as “inherently racist” makes the divide between the two larger and becomes a dangerous step in possible first amendment infringement.
This certainly isn’t the first time a group has requested offensive material be removed from their shelves, as evidenced by the petition posted above, but it becomes very problematic when we watch the role the White House may play in controlling the media and now even the free market in an attempt to control the perception of groups it disagrees with. The Trump team has been accused of manipulating media for its own benefit by retaliating against media outlets that he feels have unfairly targeted him or shown him and his incoming administration in a negative light. New concerns are bound to grow based on actions like this one. Considering that the Fraternal Order of Police also threw its support behind then Republican Nominee Donald J. Trump for president back in September, the situation promises to become more intense and that is dangerous for everyone.
Defining Black Lives Matter as a hate group as no different than the Ku Klux Klan continues to be a point of contention as the Black Lives Matter Movement was started in response to police brutality when interacting with communities of color. News publication Breitbart, where Steven Bannon, the President-Elect’s choice for Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, is Executive Chair, has been lauded by the
alt-right bigots for playing a pivotal role in helping Donald J. Trump win the November 2016 election against former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and taking the term “ alt-right” White Supremacy mainstream.
Many have accused Trump of being obviously inadequate in matters of diplomacy and conflicts of interest and this is unlikely to improve that image. But, more importantly, it shows how easily propaganda could become an integral tool of one of the most powerful democratic nations in the world, in order to use its power to further disenfranchise already vulnerable groups of Americans.