- Niya Marie
All Lives Can't Matter Until Black Lives Do
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was founded on July 13, 2013, after George Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, an African American teen, was acquitted of all of the charges brought against him. BLM is an international human rights movement that campaigns against violence and systemic racism aimed towards black people.
This movement was never intended to belittle the problems that other races face around the world. However, some people are misinformed about the movement’s intentions and religiously use the phrase “All Lives Matter” to criticize and counteract the work of the Black Lives Matter movement.
When asked about All Lives Matter, President Obama said, "I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else's lives matter [....] rather what they were suggesting, was that there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that is not happening in other communities."
To look at this from a different perspective, let’s say that you are sitting in a circle with five other kids and a teacher. After sitting for a while you get stung by a bee. You’re crying, you're in pain, and you need help. The teacher rushes to get you an ice pack and a band-aid. They give you all their attention until the pain is gone and you stop crying. The teacher is not going to give every single kid in the circle an ice pack and a band-aid.
However, this does not mean that the other five kids are any less than you. You were in constant pain because of that bee sting, and if the teacher did not give you their undivided attention, then you would have stayed in pain, and the teacher would not have been doing their job to care about their students.
The people protesting on behalf of the All Lives Matter movement are acting like the teacher who doesn’t care about the one student, which in this case, is the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter was created to say, “Stop killing us for no reason and without punishment!” Black Lives Matter does not mean that we are the superior race. Of course all lives matter. But, are all races being routinely killed by the police because of the color of their skin?
Here is another example that I will leave you with: If your neighbor’s house is burning down and you call the fire department, would you expect them to put water on every single house in the neighborhood? No! It is obvious that your neighbor’s house needs the water immediately. They need undivided attention, just like how the black community needs undivided attention now.
White lives have always mattered in the eyes of the government and the police. The same cannot be said for people of color. No one is saying that your life does not matter. However, until the day comes that Black Americans are not shot in their homes, in the street, and in their cars, you cannot tell me that all lives matter in the eyes of our society. All lives simply cannot matter until black lives do.