“All Lives Matter.”
The first time I heard this expression, I thought, Yes. This solves everything. Why hadn’t I thought of that? It desegregates angered people and unites a divided nation. Included in this slogan are both the young black men who have been unfairly killed, as well as the brave police officers who have found themselves wrongly vilified. There. Problem solved. Or so I thought…
At a time of such unrest, people naturally tend to take sides. You’re either with the victims of color or the heroes in blue. But I can’t even begin to emphasize how outrageous that truly is. Once again, people try to generalize and label and stuff each other into neat little boxes (metaphorically, of course). And once again, that’s just not possible.
The color of your skin is not a representation of the knowledge in your brain or the love in your heart. A man who has committed manslaughter and is sitting in jail is black. But so is the president of the United States. Color is meaningless.
Likewise, the occupation you choose doesn’t determine the type of person you are. Just because you put on a uniform, doesn’t mean you’re automatically a good person. At the same time, it doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you a person. You go to work, eat 3 meals a day, and say goodnight to your family at bedtime. You’re human.
There are good cops and there are bad cops. There are cops who are mean and cops who are nice. Cops who are funny and cops who are not. The same goes for black people. Particularly, young black men.
So how can someone possibly take a side? There are no sides to take. It’s not a case of good vs. evil. It’d be easy for me to tie up my argument here and slap on a giant bow that reads, “All Lives Matter.” But honestly, that would be the most ignorant, nonsensical thing I could possibly do.
The “All Lives Matter” quip came as a response to the all-too-familiar “Black Lives Matter” movement. At its core, BLM is a wonderful thing that garners attention toward a horrible thing: innocent black men falling prey to the bullets of policemen. Unfortunately, it has escalated into hate and violence. Blacks – and whites – all around the country are burning down businesses, assaulting police officers, and setting fires. While doing so, they chant their motto: Black Lives Matter. As easy as it is to now look at this movement with disgust, you have to remember that this wasn’t the original intent. But when you see the fires and murders and violence, it’s easy to forget and it’s easy to counteract BLM with our own mantra; one that’s not seeping with violence or hate. It seems, as I thought upon first hearing it, to be the much more practical solution.
But it’s not.
I thought about it like this: Pretend you’re holding a charity event for gallbladder cancer. You gather a bunch of friends, unite under this wonderful cause, and raise a lot of money. But then, all of a sudden, a mob of people rush in and shut down your event. They kick over your money box and rip down your signs. The reason? All cancers matter. What about leukemia? they sneer. Is that not important too? Yes, leukemia is certainly important too. So is cancer of the brain, skin, and colon. But right now it’s about gallbladder cancer. Right now the mortality rate is almost 100%. People are dying of this disease more than any other. Right now those dying of gallbladder cancer need us. You can go and have a fundraiser for whatever cancer you want, but right now, this is what we’re doing.
That’s kind of what this whole Black Lives vs. All Lives is like. Yeah, white people matter. So do brown people and yellow people and orange people (spray tan crew, where you at?). But right now, black people need our attention; our help. Right now, they’re the ones suffering.
I will support the Black Lives Matter movement that was originally created. My hope is that they look to the nonviolent people of history who forged a path for us all. I hope they put away their weapons and put down their fists.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said: