More than 300 billboards around the country have been emblazoned with the phrase “Blue Lives Matter.”
The boards, owned by Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, feature a bright blue background and a mock-up of a police badge, accompanied by the hashtag, #thankublu.
The billboards are seen by some civil rights activists as a misplaced appropriation of the Black Lives Matter movement — a grassroots organisation born out of protests of the killings of unarmed black people at the hands of police.
Trace Hallowell with Tactical Magic, the PR company behind the billboards, says, “The heart of the message is that no human should be hated or targeted for violence simply because of the colour of the clothing that they wear,” according to Vocativ.
Hallowell appears to be suggesting that that colour, blue, represents the police uniform.
Some critics are not buying that claim.
Lincoln A. Blades at The Grio writes that it’s upsetting that people choose to “conflate” the two concepts — Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter — as “dueling ideologies.”
The notion here, according to Blades, is that “Blue Lives Matter,” much like the “All Lives Matter” catchphrase that preceded it, devalues the core premise of Black Lives Matter. The premise being that black people should not be “killed in the streets for frivolous reasons” due to police brutality, as Blades puts it.
He says the Blue Lives Matter billboards amount to an effort to “discredit” the movement that protests police violence against unarmed citizens.