Since 2014 and 2015, the Black Lives Matter movement has had a monumental place among many social and political issues. The movement brought about many debates leading to a group of people who did not agree with the hashtag and the creation of “All Lives Matter”. Sadly, people still don’t understand the importance of Black Lives Matter as a movement and why All Lives Matter deflects from the discrimination and injustice that is a constant issue for black people. The Black Lives Matter website describes where the beginning of the movement started. “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.” The hashtag started to blow up online and on the news in 2013 and 2014 and then #AllLivesMatter followed. The “All Lives Matter” ‘movement’ was created to debase the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the main issue is that most people feel like Black Lives Matter is a way to exclude everyone else from being recognized as an important person. As a young, black female who has lived in the U.S. her entire life, I am aware that the black community faces issues that occur undoubtedly on a regular basis. Black Lives Matter is not used to decrease the value of all other lives, it is basically a way of saying, black lives are in specific immediate danger and require immediate attention. There is no logic in stating the obvious by claiming all lives matter because that has always been an implied truth. Those who preach “All Lives Matter” in response suggest that all lives are in equal danger or face equally severe issues which invalidates the specific troubles that concern people who are black. Imagine that there is a a street full of houses and one of them is on fire. If the firemen showed up and started to water all the other houses first, people would ask, “Why won’t you put out the fire at that house first?” Imagine hearing the firefighter say, “Well, all houses matter and we should treat every house equally as if they all need the same kind of help at the same time.” This is the way of thinking that causes people to feel like they are not being truly heard. All Lives matter should cease to exist because there is no reason to combat or distract from a major issue in our society.
In an interview conducted by George Yancy-an author and philosopher- with Judith Butler who is a professor in the department of comparative literature -and the program of critical theory at UC Berkeley- Butler states, “When some people rejoin with “All Lives Matter” they misunderstand the problem, but not because their message is untrue. It is true that all lives matter, but it is equally true that not all lives are understood to matter which is precisely why it is most important to name the lives that have not mattered, and are struggling to matter in the way they deserve.”
If the Black Lives Matter movement is the way that people of color feel they can call for action and bring attention to their struggles, there should be no debate because everyone deserves to feel that their well being is considered important.
So what can people do to change for the better? The truth is that all change takes time and an issue this grand may take more time than imagined. For starters, people need to be more aware and educate themselves because knowing the cause of the movement can help people sympathize. There should be a distinct shift in the idea that it is morally correct to devalue the purpose of the Black Lives Matter Movement. There must be a decrease in the use of “All Lives Matter” because there is no reason to protest a positive protest.
Contributing Writer: Queen Ceruti