Black Lives Matter has come under fire from over 100,000 people who have signed on to have the anti-police brutality group classified as a terrorist organization in a White House petition. However, the signatories may learn that petitions don’t matter.
A petition seeking to classify the civil rights organization Black Lives Matter as a terrorist outfit has exceeded 100,000 signatures on the White House’s petition center, We the People. Any initiative that receives at least 100,000 signatures is placed on a list of pending petitions to which the administration must respond within 60 days.
The author of the petition, known only as Y.S., created the petition a day after Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the same day that Philando Castile was shot during a traffic stop in a St. Paul, Minnesota suburb.
However, what may have helped the petition truly gain speed was an attack on police officers in Dallas, Texas the following evening.
The murder of five law enforcement officers and wounding of six others, plus two civilians, has cast a harsh light on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The shooter, Micah Johnson, had no direct affiliation with the group and had been blacklisted from several black-power groups due to his history of sexual harassment and emotional instability, the Daily Beast reported.
The lack of a direct connection to the BLM has yet to stop many people from assuming that the African-American shooter was a member of the movement. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick placed the blame for the attacks on the shoulders of the BLM, saying, “I do blame former Black Lives Matter protests.”
The petition reads, “terrorism [sic] is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims’. [sic]” and adds, “This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations.”
The justification for being on the same level as the Islamic State comes from “its actions in Ferguson, Baltimore, and even at a Bernie Sanders rally, as well as all over the United States and Canada.”
Although the petition has gained notoriety across the internet from both supporters and opponents, there is a strong chance that the Obama administration may not respond within the standard 60-day period.
Many petitions, such as one to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden, end up, as one 2014 petition to request the White House answer petitions did, unanswered.
The logistics of classifying BLM as a terrorist organization may not be as simple as it seems. Given that BLM does not have a centralized command base and seeks to encourage reform over revolution, the chances of it being elevated to the levels of IS are slim.
Reynaldo Anderson, associate professor of communications at Harris-Stowe State University, told St. Louis Today that comparing BLM to a terrorist group is “not only unwarranted. It’s not logical.”
In addition, other controversial groups in the US have managed to avoid the terrorist classification, such as the Ku Klux Klan and Stormfront, another white power movement.