Katie is a passionate reader of politics and has joined in with protests around the UK for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Racism, prejudice, injustice. These are all words we hear on a day to day basis, and whilst we find it upsetting and shocking that racism still exists in our society, nothing seems to be changing. Since the death of George Floyd in May 2020, the Black Lives Matter protests have blown up all across the world, despite the movement having started 7 years earlier in 2013. People from around the globe were shocked by the actions of ex-police officer, Derek Chauvin, and the work of all those before him who have mistreated people due to their skin colour and still walked free.
However, for some people, the protests have been seen as more of an opportunity to promote other opinions. In this article, we will explore everything that's wrong with how some people are manipulating the Black Lives Matter movement for their own selfish reasons, and why these acts are taking their toll on the whole protest.
"Take eggs, for example. It doesn't matter whether they're white or brown on the outside. In the end, they're all the same on the inside."
— Based on a Black Lives Matter Protestor's Words
Stop Staying "All Lives Matter"
"All Lives Matter". When replying to the statement "Black Lives Matter" with these words, many people do not realize that they're undermining the whole message of the protests. Whilst this statement is completely true, all lives do matter, these individuals seem to be mistakenly interpreting the phrase. The expression isn't "Black Lives Matter More Than Others", it just means that "Black Lives Matter Too".
See, the whole point of the movement is to bring equality to all, meaning that every ethnic group has the same rights in the eyes of the law. At present, particularly in the US, black lives are undervalued compared to others, with George Floyd's death proving this. A Twitter user explained this well. He said:
"Do people who say "All Lives Matter" crash a stranger's funeral and shout "I've felt loss too!"
What he means is that you wouldn't try to ruin someone else's funeral just because you wanted them to know that you had suffered through death in your life too. That would be like saying "It happens to everyone, what's the big deal. Get over it!" And that is exactly what commenting "All Lives Matter" is.
By using those words, it shows that people don't understand there is still white privilege within our society and that prejudice due to skin color does exist. Frankly, the statement downplays the prevalence of racism in today's world, making it seem like all lives are being treated unfairly when there is in fact inequality between different ethnicities. And ultimately, it shifts the focus of the protests.
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Stop saying "Black Pride Lives Matter"
Again, this seems to have been a very common feature in recent months. Whilst posting "Black Lives Matter" with the pride flag isn't quite as intercepting of the message as saying "All Lives Matter", it again takes focus away from the main concept of the movement against racism.
The statement is true, of course, black pride lives matter just as much as all others, but this again takes strength away from the major idea at hand. Obviously, we should be celebrating all different people, whoever they are, but Pride Month is already a huge part of international culture and Pride Festivals take place everywhere.
Think of it like this. Would you turn up to a Pride Festival shouting "Black Lives Matter?" No, because it would ruin the beautiful atmosphere created and decrease the power of the amazing celebration of pride lives.
So now answer this. Would you turn up to a Black Lives Matter Protest saying "Pride Lives Matter?"
The point is that whilst the two are related in terms of fighting for equal rights for all, a protest can become very confusing when more than one opinion is displayed. Additionally, anyone storming the streets saying "Black Pride Lives Matter" will think of their actions as an innocent way to help create a better world, but others may see it as an act of selfishness and jealousy.
Fighting for equal rights, no matter what your race, gender, sexuality, or religion, is extremely important, but lots of people see pushing opinions on Pride into Black Lives Matter protests as a way to make it all about something else, all about you, which of course it isn't. However, if people perceive Black Pride that way, then it could diminish the fight for both altogether.
Throughout the world, we are fighting against all kinds of prejudice - feminism, racism, sexualism, religious discrimination, and everything in between. It is vitally important that we keep protesting against unequal rights, but it also crucial that we keep each of these causes separate. Keeping the focus on "Black Lives Matter" during one of those protests is the only way to keep building the strength of the movement. Equally, saying "All Lives Matter" will also decrease the chances of racism being abolished. Just remember to be cautious when using these words, because if you do, we can start to construct a brighter future for all.
- @arthur_affect on what he thinks of saying "All Lives Matter"
- @j0eymccullough fixes racism with eggs on twitter
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.