Research finds some BLM protesters weren’t actually marching for Black lives

A reported 19% of people interviewed in a survey said they protested for reasons unrelated to BLM’s goals

New research shows that some Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters were not marching for Black lives.

The Washington Post released research findings in an article published on Friday showing some protesters were demonstrating for other reasons.

As reported, they conducted two national surveys. In the first survey, they interviewed 1,028 people from June 25 through June 28, 2020 and in the second survey, they interviewed 999 people from July 18 through July 23, 2020.

When asked why they protested, most respondents said, “because of their concerns about racial injustice or police brutality,” which researchers classified as having BLM-related motivations, the Post reported. While the majority of people responded in this way, a reported 19% shared answers that were not connected to BLM.

Black Lives Matter Holds Protest Over Recent Police Killings In Stone Mountain, Georgia
Black Lives Matter protesters lead a march into Stone Mountain Park on June 16, 2020 in Stone Mountain, Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

The Washington Post reported the following from their findings:

“Their attendance was motivated by concerns like “justice for all,” “equal rights for all” or “all lives matter.” Some also mentioned a general discontent with the federal government or a desire to “protest against the government.”

The article went on to report that Republicans and/or white people were most likely to attend a protest without motives connected to BLM. Based on the research found and reported by The Washington Post, 24% of all Republicans who showed up to a protest in 2020 said they went for reasons unrelated to BLM. Meanwhile, 20% of white protesters went for unrelated reasons, the report shared.

Additionally, 15 to 17% of Black, Democratic, and independent protesters said they participated in protests for reasons that were not connected to BLM goals, the research showed.

The research findings also showed that people who were affected by the pandemic were more likely to protest. Researchers asked participants if they were affected in any of the following ways: furloughed, lost their job, seen reduced pay or work hours, seen less overtime, collected fewer tips, had to miss work to care for children, or worked while ill because they lacked paid sick leave.

Results showed that if people were affected in all seven categories listed, there was a 70% probability of them attending a protest. 

This comes after the world saw a dramatic increase in BLM protests during a global pandemic on the heels of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. According to data from polls shared by the New York Times, a total of 15 million to 26 million people came out to protest last summer in all 50 states in the U.S. and Washington, D.C.

Data collected by The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) also broke down some of the figures connected to the protests. 

“Between 24 May and 22 August, ACLED records more than 10,600 demonstration events across the country,” ACLED reported, adding that “well over 80% of all demonstrations are connected to the Black Lives Matter movement or the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Demonstrators carry a scroll listing the names of people killed by police during a march in honor of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2021. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The research shared by The Washington Post was published by LaGina Gause, assistant professor of political science at the University of California San Diego, and Maneesh Arora, an assistant professor of political science at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. They both focus on race and ethnic politics, among other topics. 

The team used a research tool called LUCID Theorem to recruit the samples.

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