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?
Yes, All Lives Matter is a legitimate protest for equality
All Lives Matter is a legitimate protest calling for the end of racial prejudice, and recognition that people are equal irrespective of their skin colour.
All Lives Matter calls for the end of racial hierarchy
All Lives Matter is about elevating all lives to an equal standing. There is nothing in its mission that suggests one race is superior to another.
All Lives Matter addresses the anxieties of a silent majority
There is growing disenfranchisement amongst white populations in the West. This group feels that despite being the majority in their societies their systemic problems are frequently overlooked in favour of championing minority rights.
No, All Lives Matter is not a legitimate protest for equality
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."
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.
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.
White Fragility refers to white performative outrage in response to accusations of racism. It is a distracting strategy to avoid engaging with the issue of racial prejudice. All Lives Matter typifies this phenomenon.
Black Lives Matter was formed as a protest against the prejudice faced by black people in their everyday lives. All Lives Matter cannot be a legitimate protest for equality until all lives are treated equally,
All Lives Matter fails to acknowledge that all lives are not equal
All Lives matter is problematic because it considers all lives equal. As countless examples of institutional racism show, this is not the case, and therefore, the movement is based on a false assumption.