“Black Lives Matter” will continue to be chanted until the world recognizes they do.
But as protests for the lost lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks continue, “Black Lives Matter” has been countered with the phrase “all lives matter.” The conflict between the two perspectives has sparked worldwide conversation through various social media platforms, the most notable being Twitter.
Not every promoter of “all lives matter” uses that slogan to dismiss and delegitimize the Black Lives Matter movement. Some believe it calls for the unity and racial inclusion of all and promotes the human race.
But being a Black woman myself, hearing the phrase “all lives matter” used in response to my cries for freedom and racial tolerance has always confused me. If I am grieving for the unjust murder of people who resemble me and my family, why scream a different phrase if you consider yourself aligned with my fight?
I can recall several instances of microaggressions and explicit racism at the hands of those who claimed “all lives matter.” I have been called racial slurs and been passed up for opportunities due to the color of my skin by those who “don’t see color.” The “all lives matter” phrase is often used by those who preach equality but choose to ignore and participate in the systemic and social racism toward Black individuals.
It is Black lives that are reduced to thugs and felons. It is Black lives that die almost three times more than their white counterparts during childbirth. It is Black lives that live in underfunded and overpoliced neighborhoods. It is Black lives that receive less than favorable education and resources.
The “all lives matter” hashtag appeared on Nov. 25, 2014, the day after it was announced the white police officer who shot Michael Brown would not be indicted. On that day alone, the hashtag was used over 14,000 times.
This has resulted in the belief that the hashtag is used exclusively by those who want to discredit or undermine the Black Lives Matter movement. Even when the response is intended to unify the races, it remains a silencer for the Black Lives Matter movement.
It should go without saying that all lives matter. However, it has been made clear through legal practices and societal discrimination and intolerance that Black lives do not matter.
According to statistics gathered by the African American Policy Forum, Black women are one of the most marginalized groups in America. Similar to Black men, Black women are incarcerated at significantly higher rates than any other race. In fact, Black women are incarcerated at three times the rate of white women. Black teenagers are also twice as likely to get pregnant than white teenagers.
As a Black woman, I must battle statistics and circumstances every day. Hearing people discredit my struggles and experience in Trump’s America only makes my struggle that more real.
While the Black community continues to face discrimination and racism, the Black Lives Matter movement ensures that the voices of the oppressed are heard.
The Black Lives Matter movement has transformed from a Twitter hashtag to a global movement, with no intention of stopping until Black lives are among those defended and respected systematically and socially.
Jasmine Rodgers is a contributor and a journalism major.