Updated: Jun 22, 2020
There was a recent post I came across on Twitter that led me to post on my FB and IG about why using #AllLivesMatter is problematic. The Twitter comment was in response to Lin Manuel Miranda apologizing for not speaking sooner on behalf of himself and the HAMILTON family; saying that he and the Hamilton family stand in solidarity with the side of justice and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Someone responded with this tweet saying, "Yes, Black Lives Matter but so does my life and other peoples lives matter too..." ending with #AllLivesMatter. Myself along with many others began to comment to her tweet before it was taken down--on why her comment and use of hashtag all lives matter was a plain out ignorant response.
I have seen many people post hashtag all lives matter since protests have started, in direct response to the murder of George Floyd by a White police officer. My issue with the all lives matter hashtag is that it suggests we live in a country where everyone's life is valued and everyone is equal. This of course is not the America we live in. The America we live in is was built on systemic racism and white supremacy. And if you are non white, you are subject to the systemic oppression, systemic violence and systemic disenfranchisement that is bred from the system. Black people in American have spent hundreds of years just fighting for America to see their humanity. From the first slave ship in 1619 to now 2020, America has a dark and horrifying history of treating Black people in inhumane ways. This is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact.
The fact that Officer Chauvin casually--with his hands in his pockets, placed his knee on George Floyd's neck, while he was handcuffed, crying out "I can't breath" and calling for his dead momma and after 8 minutes and 46 seconds took his last breath is horrific. The video is proof that this was a modern day lynching. The arrests for all four police officers did not happen until social pressure made it happen--all of this sends a message that his life did not matter. Breonna Taylor, a Black women who was shot at least eight times after Louisville police officers forced themselves into her apartment with a no-knock warrant, is another incident. Her murderers have not been arrested. This is sends a message that her life did not matter. Tony McDade, a Black Trans man who was shot and killed by police in Florida is another story. His murder has not had a full investigation. Last night, June 12, 2020, Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed in the back after fleeing during a struggle at a Wendy's drive-thru by Atlanta Police. Another incident of a Black person being killed by the police. There is also: (click on names to read their stories)
and there are many many more.
These handful police killings are not isolated incidents but a collective history. What makes this moment we are in now different, is that the murder of George Floyd, whose death sparked the movement we are in today, was witnessed by the entire world. Now American is confronted, full on by the evil that Black people have been subject to and still are as we speak. People from different racial backgrounds are seeing more clearly or seeing for the first time how the system we live in in America was built to operate the way it has been since its existence. So for those who stand by hashtag all lives matter, I wonder, whose life are you saying matters? Why do you feel the need to respond to #BlackLivesMatter with the all lives matter? Do you understand that #BlackLivesMatter is in response to the systemic violence Black people have endured for hundreds of years?
One cannot look at the history of violence that police have done and continue to do to Black People and say all lives matter. No. The fact that people from around the world from different racial backgrounds are in the streets in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter movement should spark more of a response than all lives matter. There seems to be either a disconnect or refusal to admit the system is only meant for those few who benefit from it. Because the truth is: all lives do not matter until Black lives matter.