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Is All Lives Matter a legitimate protest for equality? Show more Show less
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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."
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All Lives Matter only exists to undermine Black Lives Matter

The purpose of All Lives Matter is to take attention away from the racialised injustices the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to redress. By distracting from these inequalities, All Lives Matter prevents meaningful action to promote equality.

The Argument

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement brings out an uncomfortable truth – it forces people to analyze their privilege. The BLM movement says black people are in danger and need immediate attention. It serves to highlight how little black lives have mattered in America. Black people fighting for their rights and freedoms does undercut other causes. People fight for what they know, what they feel to be true. The need to protect one’s family from injustices, inequality, and murder is natural. All Lives Matter (ALM) has only confused and misguided people. It has taken away attention and tried to delegitimize the BLM movement. The majority of people don’t fully understand the implications of the ALM slogan, with many celebrities and high-level politicians, such as Hillary Clinton, receiving backlash for repeating the saying.[1] The ALM hijacked the phrase to undermine the BLM movement. Chinese-American police officer, Peter Liang, got convicted for killing the unarmed black man Akai Gurley. Many people in the demonstrations were chanting “All Lives Matter” and demanded the police officer’s freedom. The protestors ignored the fact that Liang was brought to trial and convicted by a jury for murdering someone. Even if the police officer was a minority, it does not change that the crime happened—claiming that “All Lives Matter” is extending the privilege to everyone but black people. This opposing movement highlights BLM’s message of black being undervalued and considered expendable and the need to fight to change that sentiment.[2]

Counter arguments

All Lives Matter does not undermine the BLM movement; instead, it is a better term to help fight for equality for black people and other minorities. Black people are not the only minorities to face racism and inequality. Every minority group in America is facing some struggle and oppression. Incidents with racists misidentifying a Sikh person as a Muslim or the chanting of “Jews will not replace us” are examples of these racists not being able to differentiate between minorities. Singling out one particular group would not solve anything and will only alienate people. It would also hinder progression in the overall fight against racism.[2] Chanting "Black Lives Matter" (BLM) moves the focus from the overall issue of racism and narrows it down to one victim group. The slogan "All Lives Matter” (ALM) can serve as an umbrella term to combat this problem. Adopting the phrase will eliminate the implication that black people are the only ones who are affected by it.[2] Previous activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for equal rights for everyone and promoted nonviolent tactics and strategies. They welcomed everyone and fought against all injustice. BLM is attempting to do that and is undermining its message and purpose. Using an umbrella slogan like ALM would also dispel any doubt about the BLM cause and message as it promotes the message of shared humanity.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/16/us/all-lives-matter-black-lives-matter.html
  2. https://www.theperspective.com/debates/living/black-lives-matter-fight-lives/
This page was last edited on Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 17:37 UTC

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