All Lives Matter?
Well of course they do.
No one is refuting that statement, but that is not the problem; the problem is that when Black people are being publicly murdered at the hands of police without any repercussions [for police]. Black lives matter too and we do not want to hear that “All Lives Matter” when it is Black lives that are in danger.
Do you need further explanation? Here it is.
On an episode of Comedy Central, guest comedian Felonious Munk was interviewed by Larry Wilmore and gave a great example of how “All Lives Matter” excludes all lives that are not white.
Munk explained, “If I break my leg, I do not want the doctor telling me ‘All legs should be healed’, I want the doctor to fix my leg.”
Wilmore then says, “So you’re saying Black Lives Matter is a specific cry for something, whereas ‘All lives matter’ is just a way of shutting down that cry?”
They both responded in the affirmative.
Saying “All lives matter” is an erasure of why Black lives also matter. “Black Lives Matter” is not anti-white, or anti-police, no matter what people might think. It just means that our issues are important too, we are important too, and we’re tired of feeling like second class citizens and want to stop being targeted based of the color of our skin.
All Lives Matter is something that white people say because they think “Black Lives Matter” is an anti-white movement and of course we need to preserve the white population.
White people think that Black people are getting “too smart,” trying to steal white jobs, like becoming president of the United States. To discriminate is not something we are born to do; it is something that is taught.
Dave Chapelle is a Black comedian who has done multiple skits about how, while he does not dislike police, he would not call them if he were in danger. His skits can be found on YouTube, particularly one entitled “Dave Chappelle: Black People and Police.”
In this skit, Chappelle says someone once broke into his house but he did not call the police because of how he imagined the encounter going down. He said that the officers might think his house is too nice for a Black man to live in, that they might think that he himself was the burglar and shoot him on site.
Not too different from the case of Tawon Boyd who called 911 for help after he was not feeling well, called the police and was punched by them; he later died in hospital. Chappelle then goes on to say that to the officers this would be an open and shut case because, of course, a burglar would have pictures of himself and his family on the walls and on tables throughout the house.
While the audience might’ve laughed at his jokes, this is the reality of most Black people.
They know that while they have valid reason to call the police, their lives can still be in danger from the police.
White people do not know this fear.
This is the Black Lives Matter activists chant: “Say Her Name! Say His Name! Black Lives Matter!” in the streets and on social media as a hashtag (#) so that we can continue to give these people a voice after theirs has been [senselessly] silenced.
On Twitter, someone named Todd Dillard posted a story that happened to him, which left him outraged.
He says two of his white friends found a gun on the playground, so they called the police, who noticed a group of young Black men standing nearby who asked the two white guys if they called the police. When they said yes, the young Black men said “thanks.”
They were waiting around to make sure no kids were picked it up, and that they did not call the cops because they were afraid that they would all be arrested. When the cops showed up, the young Black men decided their good deed was done and started to walk away. The police officers then asked them where they thought they were going.
Now let me ask you: Does it seem fair that these caring, young Black men, who were just making sure no one touched the gun were immediately assumed by police to be the ones that put it there?
If these young Black men had left the gun there and a little child had picked it up and pulled the trigger, probably harming themselves, or others, would there not have been an outcry about how no one saw the gun and called the police before? There is no winning now, is there?
The next time you hear or see someone saying “All Lives Matter” ask yourself, does that include Black lives? LGBTQ lives? Native American lives? Who does “all” consist of exactly, and what makes their lives worth more than others? I think you know the answer to that.
So, “All Lives Matter,” yes. But “Black Lives Matter” too.
Did I make you uncomfortable at any point? I hope so, because that means you are listening and understand what I am saying…
Jenna Graham is a Women’s Studies major at Concordia University. She is also a freelance graphic designer that hopes to use art as a call to action in her future endeavors.