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A Proper Place For Protest

Black Lives Matter

In October controversy was sparked when a Dunkin Donuts employee in Providence, Rhode Island wrote “#blacklivesmatter” on a police officers coffee cup. The officer found this offensive and the executive board of The Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement saying:

The negativity displayed by the #Blacklivesmatter organization towards police across this nation is creating a hostile environment that is not resolving any problems or issues, but making it worse for our communities. They are doing this by increasing tensions amongst police and the people they serve.

– Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3

Following this incident was a similar incident in a Dunkin Donuts in Connecticut where an employee told a police officer, “We don’t serve cops here.” Dunkin Donuts later issued a statement of apology stating that these incidents in no way represented their brand’s commitment to fair treatment for all of their guests.

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Providence protestors rallied outside the Dunkin Donuts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the employee who wrote the message. One protester, Donna Schmader, expressed the group’s message saying:

 

We just want the police to say, in fact, black lives do matter,” she said. “Why can’t they just say that? No one is saying only black lives matter. We’re saying black lives matter. I don’t see a problem that saying black lives matter.

The Problem

The problem is that we refuse to acknowledge in public discourse that these officers who create and support clearly anti-Black Lives Matter messages such as “police lives matter” and “all lives matter” are trying to sabotage the movement and discredit its message. There can be no other reason why the police officer would feel offended by the message on his cup. And of course we know that in try ‘good ole boy’ fashion the Fraternal Order is going to support the officer and capitalize on the incident in an attempt to further smudge the Black Lives Matter movement.

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The Point

I would say that it is inappropriate for the employee to have written the message on anyone’s cup. Unless mandated from corporate leadership, politics has no room in the workplace. This is not only professional ethic but it also helps to manage potential opportunities for discrimination.

The opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement longs for mistakes like this so that they can add it to their list of reasons why Black Lives Matter is an aggressive, anti-police effort to influence the public to distrust the police. Which, I have to add, is completely ridiculous as many know that the public’s distrust of police has always been prevalent in Black communities and growing in the general public.

That, of course, has little to do with the Black Lives Matter movement and is based on the actions, incidents and patterns that have developed in the criminal justice system. That said, those who support the movement to not allow their passion to make them fall prey to moments like this that create ammunition for the opposition to the movement. There has to be a proper place for protest and a strategic way to go about it.

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

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