By: Brycen Brackett
All lives matter. Obviously. We already know that and nobody is saying otherwise. At first, the hashtag #AllLivesMatter seems like a great idea in response to #BlackLivesMatter. It sounds like we should care about everybody and we should save everybody regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or any other category you could fit yourself into, and nobody is arguing that. There’s just one problem. Saying that all lives matter as a counter to #BlackLivesMatter minimizes the fact that people of color and specifically black people are being disproportionately killed by police. Black Lives Matter is not an attempt to separate people by race or an attempt at black supremacy or anything else that you can make up in order to justify your blind hatred. It’s simply an attempt to shine a light on the fact that black people are being murdered with no real consequences.
As a white person, it’s irritating to watch other white people claim “reverse racism” or that the Black Lives Matter movement is an “exaggeration.” All lives matter is an attempt make your sympathy vague and meaningless. It’s an attempt to pretend that racism doesn’t still exist, because as white people we feel guilty for racism. So it’s comforting to think that it doesn’t exist. But when black people are disproportionately killed by police officers or by domestic terrorists like what happened in South Carolina, white people pretend that it’s something else because if it’s racism then that makes us feel bad.
If we really want to end racism, the first step is to acknowledge that it exists. Black people in America are nearly eight times more likely to die of homicide than white people. The poverty rate in America among white people is 12.4%, whereas among black people it’s 38.2%. So if all lives matter, then show it by not ignoring that Black Lives Matter as well.