(Image courtesy of Triston Walker)
CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts

Opinion: Why ‘Black Lives Matter’

Triston, don’t you think your shirt should say “All Lives Matter” rather than “Black Lives Matter?” A question that I get asked more frequently than I would prefer. In America, we have been experiencing a genocide that started the day Christopher Columbus got ship wrecked in 1492. The first documented act of slavery in this county was in 1619 when African Slaves were brought to Virginia to grow tobacco. Legal slavery lasted for 245 years, but slavery itself did not disappear, it only adapted to our modern day. Slavery today is prevalent in the workforce, educational system, and the idea of self-worth in the black community. Eurocentric Beauty standards leave thousands of black men and women unemployed due to inability to assimilate to white hairstyles, appearing too ethnic, and overall not meeting the status quo.

Slavery can be defined as a restriction to one’s own freedom. So our country that is supposed to reign liberty falsely accuses average black Americans as a threat thus leading to the statistic that 24 black men are shot every 9 days. These unrighteous deaths are not something new, but have been going on for decades by the police force whose lawful duty is supposed to serve and protect. When Rodney King’s tape was released in the early ’90s, which showed him being beaten nearly to death by the police, it was the first time people got a very authentic view on what was truly happening with police and the brutality level that they were using. Thanks to social media today, we can get a glimpse at what the black community has been talking about for years. Being able to see Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Kajieme Powell, and many other people of color being murdered right on film can give new perspective to the idea of why black lives matter.

There is a strategic system at play with “All Lives Matter.” The majority of white Americans who want the slogan “All Lives Matter” want it for recognition that their lives matter as well, but we are not losing an unrealistic number of white Americans from police attacks. Black Lives Matter is not used to hurt or put down others, but instead to cause awareness. When I hear replace Black Lives Matter for All Lives Matter I hear, turn the “Black Entertainment Channel” into “All Cultures Chanel,” I hear turn Black History Month into culture month. Right now, black lives are being lost at a rapid amount. Right now, nobody is talking about Ferguson anymore, nobody is talking about Baltimore anymore, but these problems still exist for those people. So no All Lives Will not Matter until will actually recognize that Black Lives do Matter.