argument top image

Is All Lives Matter a legitimate protest for equality? Show more Show less
Back to question

In 2013 policeman George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder, after shooting black teenager Trayvon Martin to death. Many saw this as an example of racially motivated police brutality, and symptomatic of wider racial prejudices in the West. As public outrage grew, "Black Lives Matter" (BLM) became a rallying cry across the internet to protest against these injustices. The "All Lives Matter" (ALM) movement mobilised in response, seeing BLM as an affront to non-black rights. This has divided people. ALM argues that achieving an equal society requires inclusivity, and that focusing only on black lives is misleading and offensive to non-blacks. Meanwhile, their critics see the ALM movement as proof that black lives remain unequal. It is regarded as a problematic campaign. One that gives non-blacks license to distract from the uneven levels of inequality and prejudice faced by black people, and undermine their cause. With public figures including Richard Sherman , Ben Carson and Tim Scott active supporters of All Lives Matter, is it a legitimate protest for equality? Or does this campaign only deepen existing prejudice?

No, All Lives Matter is not a legitimate protest for equality Show more Show less

All Lives Matter is a movement to distract attention from inequalities faced by blacks. As UC Irvine Anthropology Professor Theo Goldberg explains: "The universalizing politics of “All lives matter” is one of racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial."
< (2 of 2)

All Lives Matter does not address the rampant injustice faced by black people

All Lives Matter fails to acknowledge the reason for the Black Lives Matter movement. That is, to highlight systemic injustices that cut across justice, education, opportunity, wealth and political representation in Western society.


The All Lives Matter (ALM) movement states that all lives should be viewed and treated equally. ALM comes as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and believes that black lives are not specifically more important than other lives.[1]

The Argument

ALM misses the point of BLM. It ignores the current state of race and inequality in America and the historical events – such as slavery and Jim Crow laws – that led to it. BLM doesn't strive to diminish other ethnic groups' worth but bring awareness to problems that plague the black community. BLM seeks to highlight and change systemic injustices ranging from education, mass incarceration, and economic opportunities, among others. For instance, black children are three times more likely than white children to live below the poverty line. In part, this has to do with the high unemployment rate for Black Americans, which has neared 15 percent once every decade for the past 50 years. In comparison, the unemployment rate for white people has never neared that figure. [2] Housing and education are also affected. Redlining, a practice banned 50 years ago, prevented black people from securing mortgages. Now the net worth of white families is ten times greater than black families. Education is also affected as white schools receive $2,220 more per student than nonwhite schools.[2] Police brutality also threatens black communities, with black people are three times more likely to be killed by the police than whites. Police officers killed more people in the first half of 2020 than the last two years. [3] Black lives are disproportionately undermined and undervalued. The BLM movement is attempting to change that. The founders of BLM want to "imagine and create a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.” [4]

Counter arguments

ALM does not ignore the rampant injustice that is happening to black Americans, as it includes black lives. The main message of this movement is to value the lives of other people as well. Claiming that one group of people are more important than others undermines that. BLM and its supporters have directed their anger at the wrong targets. For instance, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul feared for his life when confronted by protestors who were angry over the killing of Breonna Taylor. Their anger was misguided as Sen. Paul was the one who introduced the “Justice for Breonna Taylor Act,” which prohibits no know warrant that led to Taylor’s killing. [5] ALM is a legitimate protest as it helps unite people and moves society forward. As South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott stated, the phrase “All lives matter” is not offensive. He believes that people are better together, and unity is what is needed to fight against the problems faced today. [6]



Rejecting the premises




Not sure yet? Read more ↑


This page was last edited on Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 06:34 UTC

Explore related arguments