Why "All Lives Matter" Is Wrong

By Melissa Aguilera on July 20, 2016

Image via startribune.com

Black Lives Matter is a movement against the systematic racism within the criminal and judicial institutions of the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement is an attempt to give a voice to the voiceless in the face of corrupt authority. The emergence of Black Lives Matter, spurned a whole new hashtag campaign known as “All Lives Matter.” Of course, all lives matter, but the truth is, innocent black people are repeatedly being murdered by those who are meant to “serve and protect” solely because of the color of their skin.  According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, “unarmed black people were killed by police at five times the rate of unarmed whites in 2015.” Police killed at least 346 black people in the U.S. in 2015.” The black community is begging for justice and for a solution to this critical social issue within our nation.

In Missouri, the grand jury declined to indict the police officer who shot unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown to death. In Staten Island, the jury decided to ignore it and again, not indict the police officer, who in this case used an illegal chokehold to strangle and murder father of six, unarmed Eric Garner. Similar graphic and tragic instances have occurred in the cases of Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, who was only 12 years old; the list goes on and on, all are people of color who were unarmed when killed by police officers.

The movement is not just about the killing of the innocent, it is about the consistent mistreatment of innocent black people by the hands of the police. There are, literally, countless videos on Facebook of police officers abusing their position of power and using unnecessary force with African Americans. Many people attempt to argue with me when I share these videos. They say that ”all cops aren’t this way” or “he is obviously resisting, he deserves it” or, the most frustrating “all lives matter.”

Black Lives Matter is a desperate outcry to the government and society as a whole. It is an attempt to correct the systematic problem at the source, within the training of the police officers. It is clear that our system is either not particular enough when choosing officers, or is conditioning our “protectors” in the completely wrong way. All cops are not evil, but instead of defending the police officers, we should acknowledge that there is an inherent problem within the way our police officers are trained. There is a definite power struggle and lack of humanity. Here is a link to a video, where Swedish officers who were on vacation in New York, handled a potentially dangerous situation by calming down the aggressor and simply talking to him, saying “everything will be OK”: Swedish Cops Calmly Stop Fight In New York. We can see that these officers are trained in connecting with the human and diffusing the problem, rather than instilling fear through a weapon and a loud voice. Basically, they completely showed up the NYPD.

Here’s the link to the video where people commented “he’s resisting”: 4 Cops Slam Down A Kid For Jay Walking. In response, I wrote this: “He’s ‘resisting’ because he doesn’t understand why jaywalking requires a baton. He’s terrified. The reason why I shared this video is to hopefully spread awareness about the realities of racism within the judicial and criminal system. I’ve jaywalked before, I’m sure almost everyone has. But I sure wasn’t tackled to the ground or threatened with a night stick. This video only emphasizes the deep, deep corruption and obsession with power within this nation. If you disagree, at least acknowledge that this kid did not deserve this kind of treatment. He may have ‘resisted’ by having an ‘attitude,’ but the kid isn’t selling drugs, isn’t armed, isn’t dangerous; just trying to get to school., He’s also BLACK, you know, the race that has been repeatedly mistreated by police. So yeah, I think it’s okay for him to be scared and ‘resist.’”

Image via pages.stolaf.edu

I was so appalled that this person would defend these very clearly aggressive cops, but I later realized that she and many others, are either misinformed or simply do not think deeply enough about the situation. Many people believe that any form of resistance is grounds for physical force. I doubt they would believe that if they were put in say, Eric Garner’s shoes, but either way, that’s what they believe. Now, that is a very, VERY serious issue. The fact that a person cannot verbally defend themselves against a corrupt force is a direct infringement upon our first amendment rights. That is unacceptable. In addition to this, the person being assaulted in the video was a kid…. jaywalking. Black children are learning through this repeated violence that their communities meet from police officers, that the police are actually out to get them. They learn that they are targets, even if they shouldn’t be, only because of their skin. They learn to be afraid and obey rather than befriend and praise.

All Lives Matter was created as a distraction from the actual problem. All Lives Matter is a clear diversion from what we really should be paying attention to. It is an obvious contender against the Black Lives Matter campaign , otherwise, why would it emerge at such a time? The best way to understand why black lives matter so much right now is through this analogy I found through Instagram:

Image via chainsawsuit.com

So, of course, all lives do matter! But the point is, right now the black community needs love and support. Period. We need to stop taking the attention away from our struggling brothers and sisters by saying “all lives matter.” We need to feel what they feel and start yelling “black lives matter.” They need to be heard and they need justice. For years upon years these people have been oppressed based on the color of their skin. It’s ridiculous that this is still a problem and it’s time we praise melanin for what it is; beautiful, equal, and worthy.


Currently a senior at FSU receiving a dual degree in Editing, Writing, & Media and Anthropology. Besides writing, I love hula hooping, contortion, yoga, and my dog Olive. Just another one of those positive vegan feminists.

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