Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by a white police officer on February 26, 2012. The very same officer was acquitted on July 13, 2013 after claiming it was self defense to an all female jury. Following this acquisition, three black organizers created the movement known today as Black Lives Matter, all by creating the new hashtag #blacklivesmatter. Though they officially coined the term, there is no official leader, no rulesheet, just a call to value black lives for what they are – human beings. “In a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise, it is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression”(Khan-Cullors).
Yet arguments continue to go around, with another popular hashtag eventually reaching trending called #alllivesmatter. They criticize the black lives matter movement, saying we are all brothers and sisters, that the saying is too “narrow”. Aren’t they right? In the end, shouldn’t every person be valued the same as the other? Or maybe something else has gone into the slogan of Black Lives Matter, and not them putting their own on a pedestal.
The idea that racism no longer exists in America shouldn’t even be a thought racing in someone’s mind, yet people continually believe we could end racism when Jim Crow laws ended. But did we really? If we did, then why, when we hear about someone gets murdered by a police officer, see a black person more often than someone white? “People of color represent thirty eight point five percent of the population, but fifty one point five percent of all lives lost in the years 2015-2016”(Fox, 2018).
Police violence is disproportionately affecting black people, along with Hispanics and people with native American backgrounds. Yet, we have seemingly ended racism so, it’s just a coincidence, right? We, after all, did elect a black man to become president, so this is obviously a post-racial America. A post racial America where all lives should matter instead of just the ones being disproportionately shot and killed by police officers. Bill Maher expressed that “All Lives Matter implies that lives are equally at risk, and they’re not.” By saying “All Lives Matter”, it is an attempt to diminish the ongoing reality of the fact that white supremacy still exists. By saying “All Lives Matter,” they are silencing those trying to make a difference and take down the unjust that holds racial equality at bay.
The All Lives Matter movement is a declaration of color blindness, a declaration of everyone is equal so everyone’s lives should matter. In a way, they are right. American football player Richard Sherman said “I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are all human beings.” In 2017, police shot and killed just short of 1,000 people, tallying in nine hundred eighty-seven people dead at the hands of the officers. “White males continued to account for the largest group of people killed while armed with guns or knives, at 330 of those killed. Black males armed with guns or knives were fatally shot in 160 cases last year”(Sullivan, Anthony, Tate, & Jenkins, 2018.) Seeing as more white men were killed by police, shouldn’t all lives matter? Shouldn’t everyone be fighting for all lives to be stopped by police brutality. “When asked which statement is closest to their own views, 78% of Likely U.S. Voters say all lives matter”(Rasmussen 2015) All Lives Matters claims they are not doing anything wrong, they are just fighting for us all, believing that everyone are brothers and sisters and should be treated equally, no race above another one.
For more than four centuries, black people have experienced more hardships than one can imagine, from slavery to civil rights to the continued prejudice against them today. They are standing up for themselves with Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter is racist. Black Lives matter was never intended to imply that on black lives do matter. None of that is hate for white living. It is about realizing that white people already have privilege and do not need to constantly worried if there is a target on their back. It is about recognizing that while our lives do matter, there are other lives right now, that matter more. There are other lives that have been full of hardship, that need help from others with privilege. By saying All Lives Matter, you are erasing that cry for help. By saying All Lives Matter,you are pretending nothing’s wrong. Black Lives Matter is saying that they recognize that white lives already do matter. It is a statement of their lives also matter ing. It is saying black lives matter, too.