Not seeing relevancy of #BlackLivesMatter is part of problem

Addanaya Binder, Staff Writer

“Black Lives Matter” addresses lingering racism present in our society even today, while “All Lives Matter” ignores the problem and pretends it’s helping.
First, no one was saying, “All Lives Matter” until Black people started saying, “Black Lives Matter.” So it’s natural to say that “All Lives Matter” is a riposte to “Black Lives Matter.” Here’s a question for White people and others who support “All Lives Matter”: Why does “Black Lives Matter” cause discomfort? What about it makes it unacceptable?
“Yes, all lives matter, but we’re focused on the Black ones right now, OK?” Evan Le’Mon, Black Student Union leader of Wesley College, said after someone on his college campus tore his “Black Lives Matter” poster down, “because it’s very apparent that our judicial system doesn’t know that. Plus if you can’t see why we’re exclaiming #BlackLivesMatter then you are a part of the problem.”
Maybe the people against BLM don’t know what “All Lives Matter” is doing. This statement is a problem because it’s distracting and destroying the message that Black lives matter. Of course all lives matter, but the whole message behind “Black Lives Matter” is that Black people rightfully feel like they get no love or support from the police and from other races. “All Lives Matter” is just another name for “White Lives Matter” because whiteness is the “default” in our society.
A lot of people who say “All Lives Matter” also tend to say “Blue/ Police Lives Matter.” If “Black” makes people uncomfortable and “Blue” or “All” don’t, then “Black” is the operative word in that sentence. Many think that’s because the phrase “All Lives Matter” reminds everyone that race does exist and is hard to ignore ─ that a Black person’s life is very different from a White person’s in today’s society. So no, “All Lives Matter” doesn’t make race less evident; it shows everyone that race exists, and will always exist, by negating “Black Lives Matter.”
Maybe some people are raised to believe that they need to be “colorblind.” They were taught they shouldn’t see color in people and saying the word “Black” acknowledges the fact that they, in fact, can see color. The thing about being “colorblind” is that it’s a special privilege to be able to ignore race. Black people don’t have that luxury because they live in a society that constantly reminds them of their Black-ness. Social media and the media remind them of their ancestry and how they were treated, which is exactly why “Black Lives Matter” is such an important movement.
The phrase “All Lives Matter” reminds everyone of a dreadful and awful word: racism. Racism is still very much alive in today’s society. When the “R” word is spoken, everyone’s first instinct is to be defensive. People who say “All Lives Matter” probably think that since they have Black friends, they’ve never used the N-word, they’ve never discriminated against a Black person, and they aren’t racist. They also probably think that they’re not racist because they openly despise the KKK, but what people don’t realize is that racism comes in many forms.
“All Lives Matter” may not be as big as the KKK or as subtle as a racial slur, but it still has a huge negative effect. The racism we need to face today is usually viewed as unintentional because people will participate in racism where and when they fail to see it exist. They do so when they act like race is a problem only Black people notice, and when they seek comfortable responses like “All Lives Matter.”
“We treat racism in this country like it’s a style that America went through,” comedian and author Chris Rock said when asked about racism in 2014. “Like flared legs and lava lamps – ‘Oh, that crazy thing we did.’ We were hanging black people. We treat it like a fad instead of a disease that eradicates millions of people. You’ve got to get it at a lab, and study it, and see its origins, and see what it’s immune to and what breaks it down.”
Some would say that a second Civil Rights movement is upon us. Many years in the future, people will look back at this time and ask themselves, “Were we on the right side of history during the second Civil Rights Movement?” If we wish to inspire everyone in our near and far future, we have to make ourselves uncomfortable.
There is no comfortable way to change. However, change can start now with three powerful words that are igniting a spark that could lead to a revolution: Black Lives Matter.