People spend about 30 percent of their time on the Internet using social media, according to the Global Web Index report. When news reports air, we see discussions on all of Twitter’s trending topics and Facebook’s most viewed videos. The more we post about topics, the more we see that same topic on our news stations, on our home pages. We dictate media coverage now more than ever.
But the more posts that read #AllLivesMatter, the less we see the significance of #BlackLivesMatter.
An important movement has been hijacked and an even more important discussion has been derailed. The more posts reading #AllLivesMatter, the more media coverage there is regarding the problems with #BlackLivesMatter. It’s no longer a discussion of what’s being said, but rather what’s wrong with how it’s being said. #AllLivesMatter is distracting and immobilizing.
What does #AllLivesMatter communicate, exactly? Maybe the intent is to show that all lives matter equally under the law. Or perhaps that no race at all should be discriminated against by law enforcement. Now, does #BlackLivesMatter somehow not communicate those things?
Realistically, shifting the discussion to the equal importance of all lives does exactly nothing beyond putting an important movement in syntactic limbo. It’s an idealistic approach to a discussion that demands addressing the reality, not ideology.
It’s widely agreed that racism is bad. No one likes a racist. No one would put in their Facebook profile their racist tendencies. But it’s this exact fear of being labeled a racist that prevents people from recognizing the institutionalized injustices put on people of color. We’d all love to believe that we’re beyond racism, but the facts are as follows:
– According to the Sentencing Project, African-Americans are nearly six times as likely to be imprisoned than whites, with Latinos being approximately twice as likely.
– The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that police are three times as likely to search the cars of stopped black drivers than of white drivers, and police are twice as likely to arrest a black citizen for a drug related-charge as a white citizen, despite comparable drug use.
– University of Michigan Law School published a study that found sentencing for black men is on average 10 percent longer than sentencing for whites that committed comparable crimes.
– A study by the Urban Institute stated that blacks are more likely to have their probation revoked, even after adjusting for age, crime severity, and criminal history.
To say out loud, “Black lives matter,” is to say that all races are not being treated equally under the law. It brings to light the systematic racism that exists in our government-funded protection agencies.
Combating against #BlackLivesMatter on the basis that all lives matter equally is a lot like fighting the efforts of environmentalists in protecting an endangered species. ‘Yes, I understand that the Black Rhino is critically endangered, largely by poaching, but what you seem to ignore is how many mice people kill in their garage. The mice matter too, you know.’
#AllLivesMatter is a way to avoid talking about race, and that’s all. It’s destructive to a discussion that hinges on race and racial injustice.
No one wants to be labeled as a racist. So much so, that rather than address obvious racial inequalities, #AllLivesMatter emerged as an opportunity to ignore the above stated facts and maintain the racially silent status quo. People believe that if no one talks about race, racism doesn’t exist.
All facts to the contrary.