November 25, 2020
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  • 2:50 pm “All Lives Matter” actively diminishes the true message of Black Lives Matter
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By: Emily Biesterfeld

Line O’ Type Co-Editor in Chief

This past summer, the rise in police brutality (rather the rise in video evidence of such) has sparked a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement. With this spark, there has been a lot of strife and litigations to the organization and the saying. Most famous, is the rebuttal of “All Lives Matter.” While at first glance, saying all lives matter makes sense and is the obvious belief by most of the population; however, upon further research, all lives matter is nothing but a saying that has been used to damage and discredit the Black Lives Matter movement into being something that it is not.

As a basic phrase, “black lives matter” does not have “only” in the middle of it; it also does not include “more.” Black lives matter is the result of deductive reasoning. All lives matter is the broad statement. “All” encompasses all people, all ethnicities, and all races. For 400+ years, specifically in the United States, the black community has been continuously discriminated against and systematically oppressed. Therefore, there is a need to say “Black lives matter” because black lives are not being protected in the current governmental, business, and societal environment. Black Lives Matter is about bringing attention to the community that is hurting the most. That is not to say other communities aren’t, just that they have been for the longest as a result of systemic (not systematic because racism is built into the system, not a result of the system) racism.

Now, with a quick Google search, the top result for “black lives matter” is the organization’s home page with a mission statement, history, and ways you can help the movement. The first result for “all lives matter” is an article by CBS News criticizing the statement (as of October 11th, but I doubt the results will change anytime soon). According to blacklivesmatter.com, it became a real organization in 2013 after the “acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.” Further, “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization… whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” Black Lives Matter is intersectional, meaning that it includes ALL people within the Black community because its end goal is to celebrate all black lives, not just a handful. Black Lives Matter has a clear and set vision in how they want to affect change in the future to promote growth in Black communities. “All lives matter” has done nothing of the sort. There is no group or organization backing it. It hasn’t been around prior to Black Lives Matter, and it has been nothing but a weapon against Black Lives matter, and more importantly, Black lives. 

If someone says “black lives matter” and someone’s response is, “Well, all lives matter,” then they are actively rooting against black lives. Obviously all lives matter, with an exception to a few, so why are you so angry about the phrase “black lives matter?” If all lives mattered, then you would be fighting for black lives, for queer and trans lives, for the Latinx community, for immigrants. They should be and need to be included in “all lives.” And if you don’t want to fight for the aforementioned communities, then you don’t believe all lives matter. There is an astronomical amount of privilege riddled in with saying “all lives matter.” People who believe in it or say it are choosing time and time again to see the real struggle of the Black community in the United States and worldwide. They are choosing to be ignorant of the police brutality problem that is rampant in our country. Choosing to not admit that the system of police work easily leads to abuse of power and the direct impact it has on minorities is ignorance. 

Black Lives Matter is not an extremist organization that believes only Black lives matter and that Black people are superior to white people. Wanting equality and equity does not mean taking away rights from others. If the response to the fact that Black and brown people are disproportionately killed by the police, that white people are killed too, that still should raise a concern. Police should not be killing anyone, guilty or not. If customer service workers, nurses, doctors, and any other sort of job that directly deals with irrational people everyday can resolve the issue or handle it without using lethal force, so can police. Nurses, paramedics, and ER workers especially are dealing with highly erratic people that come close to threatening their lives almost daily, and if there is any sort of malpractice done intentionally, or even unintentionally, their licenses are revoked, and they are no longer allowed in that practice.

As mentioned countless times, all lives matter is nothing but a hashtag or a slogan that has, historically, only been used to contest the “black lives matter” counterpart. If the statement “all lives matter” was true, then we wouldn’t be seeing the current civil unrest. If “all lives matter” was true, there wouldn’t be hundreds of Hispanic children going missing at the immigration detainment centers. Women in those centers wouldn’t be forced to be having hysterectomies. The same-sex marriage decision would not be in question to be overturned. There wouldn’t still be gay-panic laws in America. It wouldn’t be a criminal, and sometimes deadly, offense to be LGBT in 142 countries. Among many other discourses, it is so clear to see that in the current state of America and other countries, not all lives matter. All lives can’t matter until Black lives finally do.

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