Protesters demonstrate May 30 in Los Angeles in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: The danger of ‘All Lives and Blue Lives Matter’

While the Black Lives Matter protests continue to fire around the world, some people — mostly conservatives — have found two new slogans to contradict the message of the BLM movement — “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter.”

However, before delving into the ignorance of these new slogans and how it’s purposely slowing momentum, let’s quickly summarize the significance and the purpose behind the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

Black Lives Matter was a campaign that began in 2013 as a means to dismantle white supremacy and create attention toward the unnecessary violence that has been inflicted upon Black people for over 400 years.

“We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression,” According to the official Black Lives Matter organization. 

Though this movement has existed for 7 years, it recently struck national attention after the murder of George Floyd on May 25. After videos of former officers, Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao began to circulate the media using excessive force on Floyd, the nation took him as the tip of the iceberg.

He was far from a poster boy. George Floyd was simply the last straw. 

This movement stands for the inhumane oppression and racism that continues to target all Black people. As it recently became a mainstream subject, it provided a newfound platform for the Black community to unapologetically amplify their voices and rage towards consistent silencing inflicted from institutional racism. 

Therefore when conservatives say “all lives matter” it erases and diminishes the struggles of the racially marginalized. It immediately tears down progress and minimizes systemic racism.

In other words, it’s a way a population has found a way to egotistically center themselves in a movement that calls for an alliance. For they feel that the Black Lives Matter movement places one specific race on an unneeded pedestal. 

People say “Black lives matter” in an attempt of justice and equality — a common misconception from the right is that the movement is selfishly prioritizing a race for no reason. And truly, if all/blue lives matter to you — there’s no reason Black lives matter should trigger you. 

No one protesting is implying that only Black lives matter. They’re simply honing in on an oppressed group that is in need of immediate attention and reform.

While white people have always socioeconomically remained superior, it’s as though a population has felt a craving for attention for not being an oppressed group. Rather than using white privilege in a beneficial manner to raise awareness for the Black community, this group has taken social power to silence struggles further. It says “I hear you,  I see you, but I simply don’t care.” 

Masked protestors assemble in Hollywood. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

I feel that this movement should fuel anger in every single American citizen. This fight towards equality truly began in the summer of 1905 when Black educator W.E.B. Du Bois led a group at Niagara Falls, Canada initiating a new political movement for civil rights, according to History.com. And although accomplishments have shined through, each milestone legitimately required blood, sweat and tears. Therefore to purposely say all lives matter adds a veil of ignorance to mask this prevalent issue. 

The proposal of all lives and blue lives matter would attain much more validity if BLM was intentionally a contest of gaining superiority. However, the power struggle has always remained. Essentially these slogans reassure that they will continue to rise disproportionately.

Blue lives matter is braided into all lives matter. Similarly, it diminishes power struggles and oppression and fails to recognize the obvious: blue is not a race. Police officers represent a badge that can be taken off at the end of each shift. Whereas being Black is an identity, not a part-time job.

More so, police officers represent and choose to represent the corrupt justice system that was enforced as a replacement to slave patrol in the 1600s. After centuries, that corrupt system remains headstrong.

For perspective, after approximately 294 Black lives lost to policemen in 2019 (out of a total of 1099, thus making up 24% of the population despite making up 13% of the American population), according to Mappingviolence.com. Victims continue to suffer as guilty policemen roam freely in addition to over-policing Black neighborhoods while other policemen protect their backs behind their thin blue line.

When people argue that those that break the law should be arrested, then so should all of the police officers that represent the 40% wide margin of error in their field. Realistically, there is no reason to focus backlash on Black people protesting as the justice system was never built to “serve and protect” them. 

Additionally, it’s fairly ironic that police are using brutality on peaceful protestors that are fighting against police brutality. But due to qualified immunity — “a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations — like the right to be free from excessive police force” according to Lawfare.com, police officers are rarely held accountable.

Those related to police officers argue they fear for their family member’s safety. And while certain individuals may have proper intentions to reform, police are provoking, beginning loots, tear-gassing and running over peaceful protestors. They are facing protestors in t-shirts holding signs fully armed alongside bulletproof shields although officers are the initiators of violence.

For over 400 years Black people have been oppressed and racially marginalized with much more fear for their safety. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Elijah McClain are just three examples of Black people that were killed without a valid cause.

Truthfully, BLM shouldn’t be controversial or receive any hatred. It should be a matter of your moral compass. In this case, ethics should reign over both the left and the right. Ultimately, the Black lives matter movement is designed to be interpreted as a symbol of unity rather than division.