Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, ALL Lives Matter
Is it just me or does this feel like a competition? Since when has the need to feel heard and supported become a competition? These words aren’t just fancy hashtags. In fact, Black Lives Matter is a movement. But what about Blue Lives Matter and ALL Lives Matter? Where did they come from? What do they represent and why do they even exist in the first place? As I see it, this is why there is pushback from the black community. Yet again, such a serious issue as unarmed black men being killed unjustly by police has somehow led to a need to feel validated, or as I like to call it, The Battle for Respect! Is this who we’ve become? Proving who or what is most important?
Let’s break this down for a moment. I mean REALLY break this down. Another black man gets killed on camera where all of the world can see there’s no weapon. The suspect is on the ground, apprehended, a knee on his neck, pleading that he is unable to breathe and as a result, he dies as his airway was obstructed for almost 9 minutes. And your response to the black communities outrage in this very moment is ALL LIVES MATTER?! No, what you’re really saying is, how dare you to leave white people out in this moment, we matter too! Let’s be honest, that….is….selfish. The pure fact that one feels the need to push back, make themselves relevant at a moment of hurt, pain, and injustice, is beyond selfish. This is no time to interject your own relevance. This is the time to live up to those words you have no business shouting in the first place.
For years the black community has continually fought to prove that they are as deserving as the next. Starting with slavery, black people were brought to a foreign land, unable to speak the language and were tortured and beaten for the purpose of doing manual labor to build a country already inhabited by indigenous people. The treatment of indigenous people is a whole other topic this particular blog isn’t even ready for. As we move through the Civil War onto reconstruction, black people have taught themselves the language, how to read and write, and even volunteered to fight a war in a foreign land when promised freedom to only be denied equal treatment by those they fought alongside after actually winning the war. Then comes Jim Crow enforcing legal segregation, torment by the Ku Klux Klan and continued disenfranchisement of black people. As we move through time and the Civil Rights Movement ensues, blacks continue to march the streets shouting for equal treatment by those who continue to oppress through redlining, hindering access to a decent home, an adequate education, viable employment, and many black men are even drafted to fight in Vietnam and STILL return to unequal treatment. Sure, we finally desegregated, but the disparities continue to exist as I just stated. Moving forward to 2020 with continued harassment by law enforcement, being hunted down by “citizen” vigilantes and mass incarceration, you STILL have the nerve to interject that ALL Lives Matter?!
This blog serves as a small snapshot of the continued "Battle for Respect” black and brown people continue to fight for. The battle only exists because those who benefit continue to fight us with their words, with their stolen hashtags and most of all with their failed support to stop the cycle of systemic racism. So let’s stop battling for respect and instead show some, to and for each other. No more ALL Lives Matter, at least not until they really do.
Written by Jeronica Cain – Social Worker and Woman of this World