The political movements #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter affect Lowndes High School students. We are constantly inundated with opinions and events based on the movements through our social media and news outlets.
The conflict began in 2012 with Trayvon Martin’s, the 17 year old who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, death. From his death emerged the movement #blacklivesmatter. As years progressed more unjustified African American deaths appeared, the hashtag grew and became a voice for African Americans to express their outrage. Confusion ensued that #blacklivesmatter was excluding other races and the #alllivesmatter emerged.
Opponents to #blacklivesmatter suggest that black lives are more important than others. That is not the case. There is an implied “too” at the end of #blacklivesmatter. African Americans want to convey that their lives matter too because frankly the hatred for Africans Americans in today’s society is real. People try to deny it and ignore it, but racism is very much alive.
“It’s annoying, we know everyone’s life matters, but right now let’s focus on black people,” said DeeDee Salgado, sophomore. When #alllivesmatter is said over #blacklivesmatter, it is like a slap in the face to black people. Black people try to stand up for themselves, then #alllivesmatter supporters silence them. Usually when all lives matter is heard, people are using it to throw off black lives matter instead of embracing it.
Why bring in color? Why can we not just all be humans? People of color have no choice but to see color and face a system which places white people on top. When minorities try to speak up on this and other injustices, it is really unhelpful for white people to speak over minorities. Plus, if all lives really matter, then one would speak up on issues affecting minorities rather than trying to silence them and include themselves in issues that do not affect them.
Usually when all lives matter is heard, people are using it to throw off black lives matter instead of embracing it.
According to blacklivesmatter.com, the movement is really, “A chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life.” Getting justice for wrongfully killed people, bringing the African American race together to work on the uplifting of black people as a whole. #blacklivesmatter is not anti-police. Those who are anti-police, do not represent #blacklivesmatter as a whole. They are separate people with their own radical thoughts. The hashtag is challenging a history and system of racism in America, not a specific person or persons. It is more a call for recognition that there is still a problem and divide in America.
Yes, a higher percent of white people are killed by police compared to black people. But, there is a higher population of white people than there are black people in America. According to Chicago Tribune, white people take up 62 percent of the population in America while African Americans make up only 13 percent of the population. This means black people are shot at two and a half times more than white people. Black men make up 40 percent of all unarmed people shot and killed by police in 2015 despite only making up 6 percent of America’s population.
Black life in America is a sensitive topic given the past, especially between police and African Americans. Instead of creating other groups to silence #blacklivesmatter, people should support the movement. America is about freedom and justice; everyone who lives here should feel they have that.