Why “All Lives Matter” is Problematic, Irrelevant and an Attack to “Black Lives Matter”

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“Black Lives Matter” is a movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. This movement was organized via Facebook by ​activist, ​Alicia Garza​, ​Patrisse Cullors​, and ​Opal Tometi​, following the murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was able to walk away free for his heinous crime against a young black life, along with several other caucasian assailants for different murders of black people years after. This expanded “Black Lives Matter” from a social media movement to a fervent cry and global mission against racial injustice. To the dismay of several, an adjacent chant was developed, “All Lives Matter”.

“All Lives Matter” is not a movement nor a mission but rather a dismissal of the issue at hand pertaining to the endangerment of black lives in America. “All Lives Matter” was not heard of or mentioned widely until roughly 2015, two years after the “Black Lives Matter” movement
took off. This was done with the intention to minimize the severity of which black lives were being taken and mistreated.

​According to​ Professor of Critical Race Theory, ​David Theo Goldberg​,​ “All Lives Matter” reflects a view of “racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial.”​ ​Philosopher Chris Lebron describes “All Lives Matter” as a “disingenuous retort” that misunderstands the problem raised by “Black Lives Matter” proponents. The response of “All Lives Matter” does nothing to address the fact that black lives are being disproportionately hindered in the U.S. with little to no justice provided.

Several citizens and experts have endeavored to provide an explanation to those that prefer the “All Lives Matter” chant to that of “Black Lives Matter”. ​Parents.com​ provided a list entitled “6 Reasons All Lives Matter Doesn’t Work”. Most of the examples on the list used analogies to other everyday things with the view of “All Lives Matter” to explain why the phrase was rude and ineffective.

While “All Lives Matter” is not only irrelevant as a response and problematic, and quite frankly aggravating to hear, it can also be taken as an attack on black lives. In July 2016, ​USA Today ​concluded from the thoughts of ​Columbia University​ Sociology professor Carla Shedd, that the phrase “‘All Lives Matter’ can actually be interpreted as racist”. The phrase itself does not innately make one racist, however, the avid defense and use of it by an individual would show clear ignorance and proud anti-blackness. No one that is truly for the advancement and protection of black people from racial injustice and violence, in other words isn’t racist, would feel the continued need to use the phrase “All Lives Matter” after knowing how it is dismissive and problematic nor would they be offended by the movement or chant of “Black Lives Matter”.

The fact of the matter is, if all lives truly mattered then “Black Lives Matter” would never even have to be a thing. Those that fail to realize this simply need a reality check, privilege check, and a serious history lesson. “Black Lives Matter” is a movement for a much needed change globally as it relates to the treatment and value of black lives. “All Lives Matter” is nothing but a response used to silence black voices and redirect necessary attention.

 

Ayanna Samuels-Francis is a Junior Broadcast/Mass Communications major from Las Vegas, Nevada. She will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle for the 2020-2021 school year.

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