Anyone who knows me would know that I am an equalist. I believe in spreading love and that everyone should have basic human rights despite their gender, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc. Since middle school debate, I learned that you should always try to understand where the other side is coming from which is something that I have always carried with me. But there is one exception, where I just feel like the other side is just flat out wrong. The one thing that always seems to get under my skin is when someone says “all lives matter”. I honestly can’t stand it when someone #AllLivesMatter or tries to say something along those lines. Now let me preface this and say all lives do matter but in this context when someone usually says all lives matter they are rebutting the Black Lives Matter movement and that is something I just can no longer sit by and watch.
My disgust for “all lives matter” has been something I have wanted to write about for a while but have continuously convinced myself that it was unnecessary. I have read numerous articles on why people should stop saying “all lives matter” and figured there was enough out there that I didn’t need to speak out on it. But I knew I had to say something when it started to hit home. One day I was in the car with a friend and she spotted a Black Lives Matter sign on someone’s front yard. She told me that she hated it and that all lives matter not just black ones. For me I was really confused because I felt as a black woman and mother of black kids, she should understand the purpose of Black Lives Matter (BLM), and I couldn’t wrap my head around why she didn’t. But then I started to grasp that she truly did mean well, all that she meant was that everyone’s lives mattered just as equally as the next person. As an equalist, on paper it may look as though I would have agreed with her, but there is something people who could be quick to label me as such did not understand.
“I think everybody understands all lives matter, I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
President Barack Obama
I think the confusion people have with BLM is that they think it means that other lives do not matter and that is far from the truth. BLM is pretty much here to say ‘hey our lives matter TOO’. The movement started after George Zimmermann was acquitted for the death of Trayvon Martin and started to gain more attention around the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. It is here to show the world that our lives have been taken for granted. Too many of our brothers and sisters have fallen victim to police brutality and have not been given the same justice that specifically our white counterparts may receive.
Someone holding a BLM sign is not trying to belittle another race or hold black lives above another; truly it was not created to mean any harm. When someone says all lives matter they are telling me that when I say Black Lives Matter, I am wrong for doing so. That because I am not including them and the other races, that I am being unfair. But am I? I am only trying to point out that I feel like my race is not being supported, that we are being treated unfairly and I just want to voice it. I do believe that all lives matter but I don’t think my message will really come across if I walk around with those three words on a shirt. #AllLivesMatter is deliberately dismissing the claim that black lives are not held to an equal standard. The opposite of BLM is not saying that White, Asian, Indian, etc. does not matter. Supporting BLM can very well mean that you support all lives. It’s another human right’s fight, so don’t disparage it with all lives matter propaganda.
“The universalizing politics of “All lives matter” is one of racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial. The insistence that Black lives matter accordingly is necessary only because, unlike “all lives,” in this society, black lives are too often taken not to matter. Black lives are presumed too readily in the U.S. not to inhabit the universal.”
David Theo Goldberg
David Theo Goldberg wrote an article for the Huffpost perfectly titled Why ‘Black Lives Matter” Because All Lives Don’t Matter In America.
Goldberg made a case for Black Lives Matter and why the movement is important in our society. He explained that although all lives do matter that is not the case in America– that is not the case for black Americans. Goldberg truthfully spoke about how the presence of blacks tends to raise suspicion for no other reason other than the color of their skin. He goes on to reaffirm the significance and relevance Black Lives Matter is to our society today, so if you have a chance I would really read more about what he has to say.
If you still don’t get it imagine this, you go into work tomorrow and your manager decides to give everyone a raise, except you. You may want to walk in to your manager’s office and tell her that you didn’t get a raise and that you deserve one since everyone else did. Your manager smiles and replies that everyone deserves a raise. When you walk out that room you feel a bit worse because not only did you not get a raise but your manager totally dissed the point you were making. I don’t doubt that you believe that everyone deserved a raise but you were trying to voice that you didn’t get one and that you should be a part of everyone. That’s what the BLM movement is all about; it’s saying ‘hey we’re here too. Look at how we are treated unfairly and please treat us fairly.’ So if you are saying All Lives Matter then not only are you are taking away from the Black Lives Matter movement you are also proving why it is so important to have the movement in the first place