The problem with other “Lives Matter” movements

“Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” delude the purpose of the “Black Lives Matter” movement

Anjali Darji, Opinions Staff Writer

Black Lives Matter: a movement that sparked worldwide attention and made headlines in 2020. Despite existing for a substantial amount of time, the movement gained momentum and recognition after the death of George Floyd and the anger sparked by police brutality that resulted in his death and the death of so many other Black people. The common factor? “Over the life course, about 1 in every 1,000 Black men can expect to be killed by police.” By one estimate, Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police during their lifetime.  

In a research article “A Bird’s Eye View of Civilians Killed by Police in 2015,” it was concluded that “Black people who were fatally shot by police seemed to be twice as likely as white people to be unarmed.” Police brutality is prevalent against Black people by white officers; this is not to say that white people or people of any other race or ethnicity have not been targeted – it is merely a fact and a problem. The Black Lives Matter movement was created to combat and draw attention and awareness to a neglected problem. 

Black Lives Matter is a movement because people can’t sit by and watch others be killed without justice because of racial bias, because they are born with a certain skin color. Our society has forced people to bear a burden of constant fear due to a factor of their identity that they were born with. But many do not understand this.

An education gap, a lack of understanding and willingness to listen, is what divides us. It is a natural human reaction to become defensive when one feels threatened. This is why other ‘lives matter’ movements started.

Victimizing oneself often excuses guilt, but that only invalidates the person or people who really need help.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter Too” adds a simple word that I truly believe would have gotten through to the ignorant. I have said it already and I will say it again: “Black Lives Matter” is a movement to point out an extreme problem with our society. And movements like “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” not only do not make sense, but they invalidate a cause that truly needs as many eyes as possible to hold those with power accountable for their actions.

“Blue Lives Matter” is a movement that is more complicated than initially thought. It has origins and it has reasoning, but it is still a countermovement fueled by the motivation to undermine “Black Lives Matter.” As laid out by Dr. Christopher E. Smith, a professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, “The Blue Lives Matter organization identifies its founding moment as the murder of two police officers in New York City that it blames on Black Lives Matter: ‘On December 20, 2014, NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were ambushed and murdered by a fanatic who believed the lies of Black Lives Matter, the media, and politicians.’ In the years that followed, the organization found reinforcement for this motivation and explanation of events in subsequent injurious attacks on police associated with protests under the Black Lives Matter banner… Blue Lives Matter organization does indeed blame Black Lives Matter for encouraging individuals to inflict harm on police officers.”

People with similar views but different plans of action are different. Although the gunmen have also condemned racially motivated police brutality, this does not make everyone associated with “Black Lives Matter” like this too. Because they aren’t these gunmen who have undermined the movement. 

Death is tragic. I believe the death of anyone is a horrible event. So yes, I sympathize with the deaths of these officers. They should not have died. But that does not give a countermovement like “Blue Lives Matter” the right to undermine advocates for those who have faced a similar situation for a long time. In addition, the comparison of “Blue Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter” should not exist, for they do not exist on the same plane: officers can take off their uniforms; Black people cannot take off their skin.

the comparison of “Blue Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter” should not exist, for they do not exist on the same plane: officers can take off their uniforms; Black people cannot take off their skin.

I do not know if I am arguing against the police. The common response from the dissent that “not all cops are bad” gets to me. Because in reality, not all cops may be bad as people, but they enforce a system that is. And yes, maybe I am blaming a lot of the problems on the system. But at the risk of being existential for a second, this system controls our lives. We live by its rules.

“All Lives Matter” is another “Black Lives Matter” counter-movement. It evolved from “Blue Lives Matter” and attempts to use sentiments of “equality” against “Black Lives Matter.” The irony? “Black Lives Matter” is arguing for equity. We cannot all be equal until we are all treated equally. The whole point of “Black Lives Matter” is to highlight Black people’s inability to feel safe in public and fear of being brutalized by the police, up to where others, such as white people, are.  

I am not a Black person. Our life experiences will differ due to this, as will our outlook on life. Just because this is, does not mean I cannot be an ally. I can identify injustice and use my own life experiences and standing in life to work towards a solution. We cannot continue to perpetuate racism. But that is exactly what these counter movements are doing. If these movements were to truly raise awareness for the causes they claim to support, the parallelism and blatant ignorance placed within the movements would not exist, because they too would be fighting for a cause, not undermining and invalidating the struggles of their fellow humans. 

The difference between the “Black Lives Matter” and other “Lives Matter” movements is that, at their cores, “Black Lives Matter” is trying to save lives, while other “Lives Matter” movements are trying to justify their actions.