A digital billboard along a busy Chattanooga street is catching the attention of residents, all with differing opinions about the “Blue Live Matter” message.
Charlie Hunt, with Lookout Advertising, said the company created the billboard as a sort of tribute to law enforcement and no type of negativity was intended.
“We did not want to divide anybody or anything, especially with this Black Lives Matter,” Hunt said. “All lives matter, and there is nothing racial about that.”
But local resident Norman Williams, who is also known as “Friday Mac,” believes the billboard, which rotates through various ads every few minutes, isn’t exactly inappropriate.
“All lives matter, but we’re the ones getting killed,” Williams argued, adding that the sign is “disrespectful.”
Williams said social media has been abuzz about the billboard.
“They wanted to tear it down, to burn it down,” he said, “but I was like, we don’t need to take that approach. There are other ways.”
Robert Durán, a professor of criminology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, agreed that the billboard is diverting attention away from the real problem as he sees it – policing of the black community.
“It’s minimizing to trade one experience with the other when they are totally different,” Durán explained.
Lois Presser, associate head of the sociology department at UT, was of the same opinion.
“[Black Lives Matters activists] are making a historical statement, savvy to the history of police and minorities in the United States,” she said. “To say ‘all lives matter’ or ‘blue lives matter’ is to take the whole thing out of context.”
But many law enforcement officials, including Sheriff Jim Hammond, feel it’s nothing more than a positive message aimed at law enforcement, who are often seen in a negative light.
“I feel it’s great that so many people across this country, including our own county, want to recognize our local law enforcement community and all first responders who put their lives on the line for our citizens every day,” he said in a statement.
[ Times Free Press ]