One of the biggest debates in the media and on social media websites is whether or not it’s okay for people to say, ‘Black Lives Matter’, or should everyone instead say, ‘All Lives Matter’? Those who have a hard time deciphering why the Black Lives Matter movement is in existence are either a part of the problem or just ignorant on what the movement is actually about. The movement is not meant to exclude any lives at all; it is meant to bring into light the systematic struggle that blacks still face.
The Black Lives Matter social movement started after the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida. The movement started in the African American community and has now become a worldwide movement with even people in London and France participating. The movement primarily focuses on protesting against police brutality, racial profiling, and racial inequality. The movement is mostly mentioned and debated on after many controversial events. For example: Whenever an innocent or unarmed black man or woman is shot or killed by a police officer, the hashtag springs to life across social media.
Several people attempt to silence the movement by responding with the All Lives Matter “movement”, which only is brought up after a person has mentioned the BLM movement. Doing this is wrong considering the fact that we would not need to say “Black lives matter” if all lives really did matter. Doing this is also contradicting because saying “Black lives matter” is also saying “All lives matter”. We know that all lives matter but it has become apparent that the justice system and much of society does not seem to believe that black lives are a part of that statement. When we are out on the streets protesting, we are not saying that white, hispanic, asian, etc lives do not matter, we are simply saying that our lives matter too. If you truly believe that all lives matter then you would be protesting too and you would not be offended by the movement. Why? Because you believe that all lives matter and black people should be included in that statement. The movement doesn’t cause division (the presidential nominee Donald Trump causes division). The movement causes unity because the people who are out on the streets protesting and contributing to the campaign actually do believe that all lives matter.
The movement is called “Black Lives Matter” because we are focusing on the fact that despite us making up only 13% of the United States population, we make up 24% of the people that have been killed by officers of the law. Yes, white people make up a large percentage of the murders, but white people also make up a larger percent of the American population. ( 62% of the population, but only 49% of those killed by police). (According to The Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-police-shootings-race-20160711-story.html ). Don’t see the problem? Then you’re part of the problem. If we called it “All Lives Matter” then there would literally be no purpose behind it because all lives aren’t being seen as worthless.
Americans also attempt to silence the movement by bringing up black on black crime whenever we are angered by an officer of the law killing a black person. Mentioning black on black crime is irrelevant to the BLM movement because the movement is focused mainly on racism and black on black crime is not. Black people are not the only people who kill their own race. There are several cases of white people killing their own families. Black on black crime is a myth. Blacks killing other blacks is because of proximity and living conditions. People in general are more likely to kill other people that they know and in a place that is familiar to them. All races have inter-community crime, meaning that in communities consisting of a majority of one race there would be things such as: black on black crime, white on white crime, hispanic on hispanic crime, etc. A person bringing up black on black crime when we mention the BLM movement is euphemistically saying that because of the crime in our community, our lives do not matter and we do not need justice for when we are murdered by those who are meant to protect and serve us.
All lives did not matter when African Americans were slaves, were branded, didn’t have their rights, and were considered property. All lives still do not matter when an unarmed or innocent black man is shot on video and no one is convicted. All lives still do not matter because a black person’s death can be ruled a homicide yet according to the criminal justice system there is no murderer. All lives still do not matter because people use the ‘All Lives Matter’ hashtag but say or do nothing about the murder of black people by officers who are sworn to protect us. All lives still do not matter because people were outraged over the death of five officers and blamed an entire movement that is against violence but when a cop kills a black person we aren’t allowed to blame all cops. All lives still do not matter because we are shamed for saying “Black lives matter”, but it is okay for someone to say “Blue lives matter” despite the fact that they are only ‘blue’ 40 hours a week, but we are black all the time.
No one can stand up and say, “all lives matter”, until they stand up for black lives too.