Protesters with Black Lives Matter signs occupy a Boyle Heights intersection on June 23.(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)
Gabrielino High School

Opinion: Why saying ‘all lives matter’ is problematic

Yes, all lives matter. However, the next time you see or hear someone use this phrase, you may want to think twice.

On the surface, “all lives matter” sounds like every person is united and should link arms to combat racism together, but the reality is that it actually takes focus away from the Black Lives Matter movement.

The purpose of the BLM movement is not to exclude, but rather, to bring people’s attention to the racism and violence that Black people face in their daily lives. The movement also aims to bring justice, healing and freedom to Black communities all over the world. By no means does BLM seek to diminish the importance of other human lives of any other race, gender, sexuality or age.

To understand the broader reasoning as to why the “all lives matter” slogan is more harmful than one may think, consider singer Billie Eilish’s statement in one of her recent Instagram posts regarding justice for Black victims.

“If someone’s house was on fire & everyone is stuck in the house, are you going to make the fire department go to every other house on the block first because all houses matter???” she wrote.

Obviously not, because the other houses are not in danger.

Eilish directs our attention to how Black lives are currently in the most peril and emphasizes that society has not given enough attention to all the issues Black people are facing. Saying “Black Lives Matter” does not mean the human lives of other races are not hard.

The reason why we need to support BLM is that the Black community has been fighting for justice the longest in America. They have sacrificed so much time and effort to fight for their rights, yet their most basic of human rights are not being recognized.

The recent murders in which Black people were not treated fairly nor equally have occurred for centuries, but it still happens to this day, and that needs to change.

Out of this year in the U.S., Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are the three most recognizable innocent Black lives that have been taken away.

Arbery, who was jogging while unarmed, was shot by two white men. Floyd, who was also unarmed, was arrested after the assumption that he used a fraudulent check, according to Forbes. An officer killed Floyd after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, causing him to suffocate to death as he was handcuffed. T

aylor, an emergency medical technician, was shot eight times in her apartment after the police entered with a “no-knock warrant”, which means they were allowed to enter her home unannounced without having a reason to do so, according to the Washington Post.

These three incidents along with many other cases in the past have sparked protests and even riots all over America.

Responding to “Black Lives Matter” with “all lives matter” is silencing black people. To reiterate, the intention behind “Black Lives Matter” is not to belittle the importance of other lives, but to focus on the injustice Black people encounter and how their lives are constantly in danger.

No one should have to fear that their life might be taken away by people who are supposed to protect them. It is important to remind others who use “all lives matter” that this phrase has been used to invalidate the inhumane treatment that Black people have experienced for too long.

The innocent black lives that have been taken away should not be seen as a part of “all lives.” This is why we should say “Black Lives Matter.” Not because the lives of others do not matter, but because Black lives matter too.