All lives matter. It’s a true statement. But right now, the world needs the black lives to matter. The slogan, “All Lives Matter,” has been criticized for detracting from the statement “Black Lives Matter” for all the right reasons. Disagree? This is for you then.
First off, it’s important to understand what the Black Lives Matter Movement is about. The whole movement started from the roots of racism. Through generations, racism has persisted and hurt more people. It has always been there; however, the media coverage has not. Only now, when people started to pay attention to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and more, did the Black Lives Movement gain traction. The Black Lives Matter Movement stands for these people who were murdered because of the systemic racism in the police system. It represents the rights of people who deserve them just as much as everyone. It symbolizes gaining back what the race always deserved– their lives.
Now, take a look from a different perspective. For instance, American columnist Arthur Chu put it this way. Think of a walk for cancer. No one comes running through the walk screaming, “All diseases matter.” Another analogy posed by Jack Monroe sheds light on this as well. All houses matter, right? Every house is a home to another family. Each one must be cherished and loved. But when a house is on fire, the firefighters are going to go to that house and save it. They’re not going to visit every single house when the fire is present in only one house. The other houses don’t need the attention at that moment.
Of course, all lives do matter. All lives are special and unique. But by making it about all races, when the fire is only devastating one of the races, we are letting the BLM movement lose traction. All lives are not getting killed because they are of a different color. All lives are not being discriminated against this much. But black lives are. And as a result, the Black Lives Matter Movement needs us—all of us—right now.
By saying “All Lives Matter,” we are taking away the meaning from the BLM movement. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about a race that has been continuously targeted throughout history. It’s about people who are killed for no reason besides the color of their skin. It’s about systemic racism in the police and in our justice system and what we collectively must do to stop it.
The slogan, “Black Lives Matter,” is not trying to say Blacks are better than others. It doesn’t say “Black Lives Matter More.” I am not black, and I understand. I understand that my life does matter, but right now, that’s not what everyone needs to hear. I know my life matters just as much as black people’s, but I also know that, to our systems of law enforcement, their lives do not matter just as much as mine. Their lives are the ones in danger, and their lives are the ones that people need to know and learn about. It’s not about me, or you. It’s about them, and the discrimination against them. It’s about their lives being lost.
Saying “All Lives Matter” downplays racism and takes away from the focus of the whole movement– Black lives. The movement was created for a purpose of saving Black lives. Stop changing the focus from the real issue and making it about something else. Save it for another time, after Black lives begin to matter.