Black Lives vs. All Lives
When I first started writing and reporting on stories, I never thought racism would be a topic I would have to deal with. After desegregation in the 50s and the first black President of the United States being elected, I was sure that racial issues only survived in history books; however, I am surrounded by reminders that it is still an explanation for certain behaviors within our society.
Whether it be a questionably racist statement from Donald Trump, or a video of a black person being killed by police without a justifiable reason, racism is now America’s hottest topic. With the recent set of upsetting videos of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the Black Lives Matter movement has again resurfaced with a vengeance.
Arguments can be made on both ends of the spectrum on whether their deaths are justifiable or not, yet the main factor in the controversy is the race of the police and of the victims.
With everyone talking about black lives, some people are sympathetic but argue that all lives matter, not just the lives of black people.
You might ask: Are black people seeking special treatment?
To best answer this question, it might be helpful for you to go back to the inception of the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
Back in 2013, when a young, unarmed, black male named Trayvon Martin was killed by community watchman, George Zimmerman, people gathered in protest when police initially released Zimmerman stating that he acted in self defense. As a result, “Black Lives Matter” arose as the go-to term to condemn both the unfair killing of Martin, and law enforcement’s failure to properly inflict consequences on the accused.
One year later, in Ferguson, Mo., 18-year-old Michael Brown, was also shot and killed by a white officer. This time, after a grand jury decided not to indict the officer, the city responded in an uproar. Violent riots filled the streets and toxic smoke filled the air as people set fires to buildings. Again, the Black Lives Matter movement was put into the national spotlight.
Between the killing of Martin and now, Black Lives Matter has lived on as both an official organization, a grassroots movement, and an often misunderstood cable news talking point.
Now, in a country where black people are shot by police at 2.5 times the rate of white people,according to a study by the Washington Post, it is clear that a systemic problem has formed.
To those who are tired of seeing the “Black Lives Matter” picket signs or Facebook posts because you feel that ALL lives matter, recognize that it is not the intention of the black community to be superior to other races, but instead an effort to seek fair treatment. Understand that discrimination and unfair treatment of black people still exists. For non-black people, it is hard to have an opinion on this as we don’t experience it first hand.
The racial bias of America’s justice system is put into question when a white male like Brock Turner, a white college student, is charged with raping an unconscious person and sentenced to three months in prison, while Cory Batey, a black college student, is charged with the same offense and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison.
It should not be a competition on whose lives matter more, but rather, a collective fight for equality for whichever race is not receiving it.
Our country is going nowhere fast with the common use of racial labels. Headlines read “a white cop” and “a black person.” While ethnicity can be effectively used to describe a person, it seems to be used in the media in order to craft a narrative and inspire a certain reaction only enlarging Americas racial divide.
Although we can be sure that it happens, hardly do we see the story where a “black cop kills a white person.”
I look forward to the day when a criminal or a victim’s race is but a small detail in the story as opposed to the opening headline.