All lives matter, that is indisputable. As a matter of fact, it is an agreement among Americans that is built into our constitution under the guise of the words “all men are created equal.” It is an unspoken agreement. Yet time and time again in the midst of any sort of Black Lives Matter issues, it becomes something people feel is worth mentioning.
Here is the problem with “All Lives Matter”: On suicide prevention day people don’t say “well, ALL lives matter.” When we celebrate someone’s recovery after cancer people don’t say “well, ALL lives matter.” We don’t denounce birthdays because ALL lives matter. Yet in the current state we are in, the phrase has become the opposing force against the fight against police brutality.
Someone else’s hardships does not mean the absence of your own. This phrase represents an insecurity and insensitivity that several Americans reserve only for Black Americans, and that is the problem with “All lives Matter.”
We are fighting because all lives matter. We are fighting because we live in a society where Black lives matter LESS. This phrase is a common counterclaim to anything related to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is merely a deflective way to avoid talk of something that is foreign to you.
Predominantly white culture romanticizes black culture from the comfort of our drivers’ seat as we blast rap music on rural backroads. Those who don’t understand say all lives matter because when they get a speeding ticket they do not have to fear for their lives. They say all lives matter because wearing their hoods up makes them look cool, not like a walking target. They say all lives matter because it is all they know, from the moment they were born theirs always did in the eyes of America because of the color of their skin—but it is misguided, ignorant, and wrong.
To watch as the humanity of a whole race is being minimized and in the midst of it say that your life matters is a blatant disregard for the privilege that you have as a white person. If a house in your neighborhood was on fire would you continue to water your grass because all houses matter —even though yours was not the one on fire?
People fear what they can’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer. This ignorance has resulted in genocides, victor-less battles and the mass enslavement of hundreds of thousands of African Americans. With that being said, the ignorance that carries this phrase is lethal. If George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till or Sandra Bland were still alive they could tell you that is not being dramatic.
It is never too late to unlearn the things you thought you knew. By acknowledging your privilege and appreciating that this is something you cannot understand if you are not a person of color, you are making a difference.
We must spread love more than ever and in times like these that come in the form of simply understanding and accepting the things you can’t. This is not a battle between black and white, this is a battle between good and evil.