When ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's declared its support for Black Lives Matter on Thursday, the company said it was "comfortable" with any backlash that might come from endorsing the pro-black, anti-police brutality movement.
Then on Monday, the law enforcement blog, Blue Lives Matter, called for a boycott of Ben & Jerry's. In a post, the blog author accuses the ice cream brand of peddling "a misinformation campaign" that might prove "dangerous" to officers. It also disputes that Black Lives Matter, a global network of activist chapters, is a civil rights organization and dismisses the policy demands put forward by dozens of movement-affiliated organizations.
"Ben & Jerry's went beyond making a statement in support of civil rights when they actively accused law enforcement of widespread racism," the blog post read. "By spreading these false and misleading statements, Ben & Jerry's lends an appearance of legitimacy to the baseless claims that police officers are killing men based on the color of their skin."
The author continued: "Black Lives Matter is made up of political organizations with political goals that most of Ben & Jerry's customers would disagree with."
This statement was a reference to the Movement for Black Lives' policy platform that calls for divestment from policing and reparations for victims of chattel slavery and police violence in the United States, among other demands.
In its entirety, the Blue Lives Matter statement rejects the ice cream company's own assertion that "systemic and institutionalized racism" in policing are a threat to the "lives and well-being of black people." But the Blue Lives Matter blog leaves out a few key facts about law enforcement in the U.S.
Racism is widespread in policing, contrary to the blog author's claim. Whether it's traffic stops, searches, arrests, shootings or convictions, black Americans are more likely than whites to encounter the criminal justice system through policing.
No one — not Black Lives Matter nor Ben & Jerry's — has explicitly stated that police were killing men (and women) because they have black or brown skin. But it cannot be ignored that blacks are twice as likely as whites to be shot by police, according to federal law enforcement data recently cited by President Barack Obama.
Blue Lives Matter also clearly glossed over the part of Ben & Jerry's statement where the company explicitly stated its support for police officers:
We want to be clear: we believe that saying Black lives matter is not to say that the lives of those who serve in the law enforcement community don't. We respect and value the commitment to our communities that those in law enforcement make, and we respect the value of every one of their lives.
Inspired by the scrutiny of an officer involved in the August 2014 shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the tragic December 2014 assassination of two policemen in New York City, Blue Lives Matter is run by working and retired law enforcement officers who hope to build up the image of the hero police officer. They also argue against the de-militarization of police departments, which is part of the Movement's platform.
Like the police unions that predate them, Blue Lives Matter seems committed to ignoring facts and evidence to hold up the "blue wall of silence." Even if many officers manage to perform their duties without infringing on civil rights or firing their service weapon at citizens, there are also many among their ranks willing to turn a blind eye to misconduct, perpetuate an "us versus them" mentality, and applaud the lack of accountability for officers.
In need of evidence for such a generalization? Read how the group lays all the blame for poor community-police relations on the public.
"In today's evolving society, an increasing number of citizens fail to accept responsibility for their actions and attempt to escape the consequences through outward blame," the group states.
Perhaps some people won't find it deliciously ironic that a group blaming citizens for the lack of trust between communities and police targets Ben & Jerry's and not the culture of policing that perpetuates injustice against black Americans.