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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The issue with saying “All lives matter”

The+issue+with+saying+%E2%80%9CAll+lives+matter%E2%80%9D

Of course all lives do matter. That’s, without a doubt, a true statement.

No one is going to disagree and say that there are lives that don’t. There lies the issue. All lives matter serves as a blanket statement used to diminish black issues.

Ultimately, it’s internalized racism showing itself. Many who use this phrase “Black lives matter” are often met with, “Well, all lives matter.” 

And yes, they do. But the purpose of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement isn’t to exclude, but to emphasize the lack of action and attention brought to the systematic racism and violence black people are facing. In no way is the movement meant to take away from the importance of human life of any other race, sexuality, ethnicity, age or gender.

“All lives matter” is always used at the wrong time. We don’t want you to say “All lives matter” as we cry over the bodies of our black family members, friends and community because they were “At the wrong place at the wrong time.” We are left in the hands of an institution that stems from a constitution that counted us as three-fifths of a person and continues to treat us as so.

Not once during this global pandemic did the hashtag “All Lives Matter” trend, instead we had different variations of us “all being together.”  But as soon as the black community brought up the BLM movement, “All Lives Matter” started trending. 

The murders that have happened in the past few weeks have shown that black people are not treated with equality. Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are the three most recognized innocent black lives that have been taken this past year. Taylor and Floyd were violently murdered by police. While jogging, Arbery was shot, unarmed, by two white men. Floyd, also unarmed, was being arrested under the assumption of using a fraudulent check and had an officer kneel on his neck until he died while handcuffed.Taylor, an EMT, was shot eight times in her own apartment after police entered with a “no-knock warrant,” meaning that they were allowed to enter her home unannounced and without having to state a reason. 

Seeing pictures of white school shooters being handcuffed and apprehended without violence while black men and women are treated as disposables for much smaller offenses, and in most cases, for nothing at all, is disheartening and the root of the BLM movement.

By coming back at someone saying “Black lives matter” with “All lives matter,” you’re silencing black people. This is not to exclude the importance of other lives, but to focus on the prevalence of black lives being taken by people who are supposed to protect them. If you hear someone say this in response to Black Lives Matter, remind them that the All Lives Matter movement is not as harmless as they may think. It has been used as a tool to invalidate  what the black community has experienced and the fears and problems we have. 

All we ask for, is to not say “All lives matter.” Do not group us with everyone else when we are not treated like everyone else. All Lives Matter is not a movement and shouldn’t be spoken as such.

Those innocent black lives were not seen as a part of “all lives.” This is why we say “Black lives matter.” Not to say that others don’t, but to say that we do, too.

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  • D

    Donna CJun 3, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I always use the analogy when trying to explain this to my white friends, that if your house was on fire and when the fire department arrived, someone in the crowd shouted, “But all houses matter, so direct some water on my non-burning house.” Would you feel at that time that you should be included in the “all houses matter?” ( of course not). Well, our HOUSE is on fire and it matters! I can’t make it any simpler than this.

    Reply
  • P

    PollyJun 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for this article. It has put into clear and powerful words what I was struggling to, I hope I can use it to help others understand too.

    Reply
  • Y

    Yvonne Gonzales MastersJun 3, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    I shared on Facebook as it’s a perfect explanation! Thank you and as a Latina, I stand united with the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Reply
  • H

    Henry CoteJun 3, 2020 at 2:58 am

    Thank you for explaining this. You’re a great writer.

    Reply
  • M

    MattieJun 3, 2020 at 2:21 am

    Thank you. This is well written and a concise explanation of why it’s a problematic phrase when used to counter ‘Black Lives Matter.’

    Reply
  • A

    A LiFEJun 3, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Your article is rubbish. Saying “black lifes” is racist. That’s a fact. Stop writting.

    Reply
  • M

    MadisonJun 2, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    This is well-written and articulate. Thank you for this article.

    Reply
  • A

    AmyJun 2, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you for this! I was just trying to figure out how to respond to family members who insist “All lives matter” in a respectful, succinct way and your wording is so clear, to the point, and earnest. Thank you.

    Reply
  • J

    Jarred YoungJun 2, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    You do realize that more whites are killed by police brutality than any ethnic colored group. In fact, whites account for 2/3 of all police killings in North America.

    Also, there are literally no laws that have been written that prevent any person of any color with less legal representational or rights than a white person.

    And to finalize that, because of the racism that exists in North America, there has been a larger movement from Federal Governments to provide a person of color with more financial and educational help then whites.

    So the issue will lie within the fact that it’s a Racial issue of RACISM and ARROGANCE. Not a legal standpoint or a human rights standpoint. Just go to China and find out how quickly a white person becomes the person hated and treated worse off.

    Reply
    • A

      Anna_leahxJun 3, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      In the US. 76.5% of the population is white and only 13.4% is African American. So when you say about 2/3 of the killings being white you are ignoring the fact that the African American population is so small in comparison.

      Reply
  • S

    SherylJun 2, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    All lives matter unless you are an unborn baby in the womb …

    Just sayin’

    Reply
  • W

    WorldTravelerJun 2, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    What about all the WHITE people killed by cops? Check your facts: MORE WHITE PEOPLE ARE KILLED BY THE POLICE than ANY OTHER RACE! I don’t see race in George Floyd’s MURDER. I see a BAD COP who would have done the SAME THING regardless of what color their skin was. Derek Chauvin needs to spend the rest of his life behind bars, and people need to unite together to end POLICE BRUTALITY.

    Reply