Why we shouldn’t quickly forget #BlackLivesMatter

Sophia Mackey, Reporter, Artist

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In light of recent news stories, the Twitter hashtag “Black Lives Matter” reached popularity within several controversial discussions concerning racial equality.

The phrase emerged after the brutal murders of Michael Brown  and Eric Garner. While these men alone do not account for the many acts of police brutality against African-Americans, their names tend to ignite the conversation. And although only witnesses know the full facts concerning murder (excluding the recorded killing of Eric Garner), these cases mirror a daunting cycle: police officers killing unarmed people of color (PoC) and suffering few consequences.

Cases similar to those of Brown and Garner, such as Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and a terrifying amount of other police murder victims, continue to spark the debate on “Black Lives Matter.” No one knows for sure whether these cases involve race-related motives or not; however, the PoC community and I deem the coincidence too strong to ignore. Our feelings alone should encourage the communities causing us discomfort to step back and reevaluate their actions.

Instead, many non-PoC community members took the wrong step and created responses that diminish the importance of “Black Lives Matter.” For example, they may say “Not All White People,” vouching that not all white people are racist, or “All Lives Matter,” as in not just black lives end in brutal ways.

While their statements hold truth, to introduce these ideas during a time of hurt and worry feels wrong. Rather than joining the battle against racism, these non-PoC community members arrogantly took offense to black people asking for respect.

As an African-American and Hispanic woman, when I hear “Not All White People,” I feel insulted. This phrase removes focus from the black community and places it back on the white community. In today’s society, the black community’s struggles and lack of safety deserves as much light as possible.

I do not believe all white people cause problems for PoC. However, I do believe that any white person should help the black community rather than tear down our arguments with distracting remarks.

Saying ‘All Lives Matter’ distracts society from the issue and disrespects the PoC community just as much. When we say “Black Lives Matter,” in no way do we mean that all other lives matter less. We mean that society must recognize that black lives hold equal importance to other’s.

No one needs to mention that all lives matter. Society already recognizes the importance of white life. We do not blame the entire white population for all black issues. Multiple factors contribute to black struggles, including some white people.

If society continues to cause and then ignore black struggles, true equality among races will never come to fruition. Let us keep “Black Lives Matter” trending until society meets our goals of fostering racial equality and general safety.

To see tweets discussing “Black Lives Matter” and the issues surrounding it, check out these posts: https://storify.com/sofamck/black-lives-matter