It’s a Protest Against Our Protest: Black Lives Matter VS All Lives Matter 

Destiny Chatman 

 

It all started with a simple run to the store, a boy in a hoodie hoping to grab a few snacks and maybe catch a glimpse at the stars before going to bed. At 17 you never imagine that grabbing an Arizona and skittles would result in the loss of your life. You never imagine that someone could take your life and barely face any consequences because after all, this is America. Since kindergarten we’ve recited these few words: “With liberty and justice for all” and we’d believed them because this is our country, right? Well no. Trevon Martin didn’t know this and if he did, he wouldn’t have gone out in the dark, unaware and trusting. He wouldn’t have felt free enough to walk to the store or be out that late by himself; he wouldn’t have pulled on a comfortable hoodie to stop the nighttime air, and he wouldn’t have gone outside if he knew the fate he faced. Like many young black and brown boys he did not know his history or about the unnecessary hatred that he was born into. The unlawful death of an unarmed African American teenager by an armed white-hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, sent Americans into an uproar. Many questioned how someone could follow, harass, and eventually take another’s life, as they deemed fit and face no consequences. The lack of action taken by the police department regarding Trevon Martin’s death incited feelings of mistreatment within the Martin family. With a spotlight on this case people began to demand answers but received none, and after Trevon’s murderer was acquitted everyone knew it was time to take action, thus birthing the Black Lives Matter movement. 

 

Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi decided enough was enough, as they wanted everyone to acknowledge the unfair treatment of people of color. Black Lives Matter was built with the intent to push for Black liberation from state-inflicted violence. #BlackLivesMatter has been used on average 15,000 times a day in order to bring attention to unjust actions taken against black or brown people. This simple hashtag has seemingly changed the way Americans fight for freedom and has become one of the most influential social movements post Civil Rights era. Black Lives Matter has helped to expose corrupt judges, state attorneys, police officers, and politicians. Not only has the protest forced the public to address the illegal and unjust behavior towards people of color, but it has also greatly impacted black culture. It has made African Americans feel less helpless knowing that there’s no way a crime can be committed and not exposed online for millions of people to see. Incorporating social media was a stroke of genius by Black Lives Matter creators, and has now become a huge tool for other oppressed groups. However, with all the positives #BlackLivesMatter has created, it’s inevitable that there would be groups who also oppose the protest. 

All Lives Matter was created as a counter protest to Black Lives Matter. People who support the protest endorse the idea that Black Lives Matter is unneeded and only further pushes the racial divide in America. Supporters of Black Lives Matter have denounced that idea and reiterated that their protest is “neither separatist nor racist. It is not anti-white, and, contrary to what some in the media may say, it is definitely not anti-police. It does not denote, promote, or support hatred of or violence against any ethnic group,” Vanity Fair states, highlighting a drastically different purpose. 

Creating a counter protest for a protest that has meant so much to many has hurt Black Lives Matter supporters. The purpose of Black Lives Matter was to draw attention to a group that has been historically oppressed and ignored. When opposing such a protest one is endorsing racist viewpoints and inequality between races. All lives matter is not a call for equality. The Conversation states, “It represents a refusal to acknowledge that the state does not value all lives in the same way. It reduces the problem of racism to individual prejudice and casts African-Americans as aggressors against a colourblind post-civil rights order in which White people no longer ‘‘see race.”’ Saying All Lives Matter is an easy way to ignore the blatant unfairness in the way black people are treated in America. A supporter of All Lives Matter has to ask themselves if the situation was flipped would they still have the same viewpoints? If their lives were threatened on a daily basis would they feel safe? If their child, family member, or friend was Trevon, would they want justice? It’s easy to stand against something when you can’t relate or sympathize to the issue or the activists. All Lives Matter supporters have to understand how much the Black Lives Matter protest means to the Black community and realize how helpless one must feel when their protest which is a last resort, is denounced/dismissed. One race should not feel inferior to another because after all, aren’t we all created equal?