#AllLivesMatter is missing the point

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In light of the mass amounts of media attention put on unarmed black persons killed by the police and the awakening of the BlackLivesMatter movement, I was mortified when I saw the AllLivesMatter hashtag trending on twitter.

The first tweet I saw was in reply to a comment made by a twitter user comforting the family of Philando Castile, the six hundred and sixth person killed by police since the year started. It read: “Where was this sympathy when GilbertCollar was killed #Alllivesmatter.”

In all honesty, I had never heard of the case for Gilbert Collar but I felt there was time to educate myself after coming to terms with how they justified the new hashtag, so I clicked on it. AllLivesMatter was being used as a smoke screen to devalue the BlackLivesMatter movement.

In almost every instance, it’s used to pit lives against each other as if to say that having a non-black person killed by police equates or is more than the life of a black person who was. It serves as a backlash to people who are bellowing their voices in a call for treatment with equality, justice, dignity and respect.

These are ideals that, in 2016, should not have to be asked for. But as it is, the black community is in desperate need.

The ideology behind AllLivesMatter, itself, is not wrong. Adam Campbell’s Facebook post sums it up better than I ever could. He writes of “Bob” sitting at a table with no food. Bob says he deserves food. The people who are eating respond that everyone deserves food, continuing their meal. Everyone does deserve food, but that does nothing to change that Bob has nothing to eat.

We know that all lives matter. There is no disputing that.

However, we cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in our black communities.

We cannot accept that all lives matter when the news headlines tell us that the black community is consistently being mistreated. We have very different experiences of the same things.

Listen to the rhetoric from black parents to their children. They’re teaching them not to wear hoodies. Not to talk back to the police. Not to walk with too many friends.

Then we see video footage of young black men adhering to all these rules and moments later their lives are still reduced to a hashtag.

And although most of the hashtagged names speak to black men murdered by police, let the memories of Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Korryn Gaines and Jessica Williams prove that this violence is not gender exclusive.

The fact that this is not a problem in the white community is why AllLivesMatter echoes bullshit when we hear it.

Black people are living in constant fear. Stop belittling our experiences. Stop telling us that we are imagining the things that are happening to us. Stop yelling AllLivesMatter in efforts to shut us up.

Start showing us that all lives do matter by having these discussions and acting on them to end the systematic oppression of people because of their skin colour.

When will all lives matter? When we start to consider black people a part of that whole.


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