Ralph Bunche Journal of Public Affairs

Publication Date

Spring 2017


The paper implores a brief cultural analysis to examine racial tensions and injustices in the U.S. that have led to the Black Lives Matter movement. Specifically, implicit bias is of primary focus as the authors examine how bias of the Black male frames the “Black-as-criminal” mentality, as well as connotes fear of the Black male body. The authors further discuss how fear of the Black face and Black male body has led to discriminatory actions such as institutional racism and, in the most vehement yet consistent cases, the killing of unarmed Black men and women. Cases such as Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown are presented as exemplars of instances in which implicit bias and institutional racism result in malicious and racially framed discriminatory actions. The paper concludes with a presentation of how the Black Lives Matter movement is a modern-day representation of movements born from historical racial unrest for Black Americans around matters of social injustice, and how the movement can serve to project U.S. society toward an All Lives Matter position. The paper also presents implications that can be used for research and policy-level change



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