Photo by Brett Sayles

“All lives matter” is a controversial movement propagated by people who don’t want to pick a side to fight for, especially when it comes to racial injustices. What is the problem behind this concept, and why shouldn’t we subscribe to it?

“All lives matter.” You might have heard of it by now, with the recent racial injustices in America experienced explicitly by Black people. Police brutality, fellow hostility from Americans, etc., are just some terrible treatment that Black people still get, even after breaking free from slavery decades ago.

The book American’t by King Bell is a good example that explicitly illustrates the Black struggle and how Black people have power through the racial hellscape of the so-called Land of the Free. We must be well-informed about the hardships of black people. 

Black people will continually struggle not just to be treated like normal human beings but also to be heard as they are. Where did this phrase come from? How did other people ride along the concept as an attempt to erase the constant battle for Black rights in America? Let’s find out how problematic the ‘All lives matter’ idea is.

Where did ‘All Lives Matter’ come from?

The statement was born from the BLM or ‘Black Lives Matter movement. BLM was a slogan meant to respond to racism and perpetuate violence against the Black community. History is abundant in records proving the horrific events that transpired, affecting millions of Black Americans, even until today in the modern era.

The BLM movement heightened during the pandemic, where even with the ongoing virus that’s taking people’s lives, racism had to jump in and make things harder for Black people. This pertains specifically to what they experience under the hands of police brutality. Sadly, the perpetrators can walk free while the Black victims are long gone.

That’s when the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter took social media by storm, as people channeled their rage towards the incidents to various online platforms. It didn’t stop there; many also took to the streets to actively stand against the system that worsened institutional racism. With people worldwide now aware of what Black people have to go through daily, concerns and anger about the injustices towards them grew exponentially – but so is the performative activism and attempted neutrality.

How bad is the ‘All Lives Matter’ concept?

Since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, people have mistaken the slogan for contentious and divisive. It was taken as a way to exclude other races from social injustice. It’s like saying, “But what about—. ” That alone dismisses the essence of the battle that Black people collectively fight.

It must be known that Black Lives Matter wasn’t meant to diminish others. Due to the stigma, marginalization, and discrimination against Black people, the movement was to recognize that Black lives matter.

Suppose someone says that all lives matter and dismisses the fundamental issue of racism. It erases the necessary conversations, ignores, and denies the outcry of every Black person. Responding with “All lives matter” is an evident backlash and, simultaneously, an opportunity for people who want to remain comfortable in their privileged bubble. There are many ways to call them – centrists, pacifists, fence-sitters. By definition, they’re not all that bad. But because of the alarming socio-political situation, now’s not the time to play safe when others’ welfare and human rights are at risk.

The implications of this alarming statement

Many have already used the slogan to criticize the BLM movement. Even crucial political figures in the United States like former president Donald Trump, former vice president Mike Pence, and other significant conservatives like Rudy Guiliani backed up the “All lives matter” statement to trivialize the issue.

What does this entail, and how does it enable the ones who aren’t welcome to fight for Black rights?

ALM almost sounds like a racist dog whistle rather than including every other race out there. The logic may be jumbled, but the ones who subscribe to this belief are the ones whose thought process goes like this:

“At the end of the day, we’re all a human race, so why would Black lives matter?”

As mentioned, BLM was supposed to promote a peaceful protest against racism. It’s not trying to one-up the others at all. Yes, there are minorities experiencing racism in America alone, but BLM doesn’t dismiss their struggle. BLM is a call towards decisive action to end racism systemically and socially. Calling for ALM is equivalent to siding with the oppressor, no matter how often it’s twisted. Fence-sitting is the same as not doing anything for the other person because they’re too bothered to wrap their heads around the problem.

Putting a stop to the harmful rhetoric

Every time BLM is dismissed, a Black person is silenced and will remain oppressed until you choose to listen to their outcry. It’s not just limited to social media anymore, as the statement has been around the streets lately. And if you’re undecided and want to stay that way, take your time to educate yourself about the situation of every Black person in the world suffering from racism and how to use your voice for them.

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