Sitting stiffly and brazen-faced with Fox News television host Laura Ingraham on ‘The Ingraham Angle,’ President Donald Trump said, “I’ve done more for the Black community than any president in the United States, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln. And it’s true.”
His remarks leave a jarring effect on the Black community’s consciousness as many know that they have endured centuries of violence and oppression. With the current lack of leadership and America’s historically discriminatory roots, the Black Lives Matter movement emerged at full force and gripped national attention, including some individuals bothered by the spur for racial change.
The Black Lives Matter movement’s main goal is to help the Black community reach true equality, the basic constitutional right detailed in the 14th Amendment. Even though the amendment was ratified in 1868, the fight is mentally draining today.
Given the great disparities still present between diverse groups and white communities, countermovements such as “All Lives Matter” seem to hinder the equity and justice for the Black community that Black Lives Matter has fought tirelessly for.
Activist groups of various backgrounds flock to support Black Lives Matter protests. On Aug. 1 in Portland, Oregon, a suburban group dubbed the “Wall of Moms,” which consisted of white mothers, interlocked arms and shielded Black protesters from federal officers supplied with weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets and batons.
Siding with the “Wall of Moms,” white fathers utilized leaf blowers to fend off tear gas while the “Wall of Vets” vocalized the protesters’ right to free speech. Weaponizing their white privilege proved beneficial as they were able to help highlight concerns over inequity, racism and militarism.
With protesters from diverse backgrounds assembling peacefully, the rallying cries of “no justice, no peace” from Black Lives Matter advocates rippled across the nation, calling for the recognition of systemic racism and its effects on the Black community.
The stark difference in treatment based on skin color illuminates racial bias in the criminal justice system. After the tragic death of George Floyd, the New York Times investigated the police department’s handling of force on its Black population. In Minneapolis’ population of 430,000, 20% are Black. Even though a large portion of the population is white, nearly 60% of African Americans face chemical irritants, neck restraints and are primarily met at gunpoint, according to the article.
Although “All Lives Matter” supporters may claim the racial bias isn’t there, it’s evident that many Black individuals seem to have been racially profiled by police officers who had sworn to serve and protect their communities.
The latest rise of movements like Black Lives Matter show that there have not been enough policies implemented to protect people of color.
It’s important to recognize that police brutality suppresses the welfare of Black people. It’s no surprise that they may become swollen with anxiety even at a distanced glance of an observant police officer. Empowered Black Lives Matter protesters ascend these injustices and encourage others to reframe their mindsets on implicit bias while rising up against the status quo. Yet, those who respond with “All Lives Matter” often invalidate the unequal treatment that Black people experience.
From spewing microaggressions to outright frenzies of rage, “All Lives Matter” supporters appear to continue to deny systemic racism and uplift white supremacy. It takes a toll on African American’s well-being, given that no one else can dictate the day-to-day struggles they encounter. Empathy is thrown out the window and judgment seeps in.
Undoubtedly, the statement that “All Lives Matter” deceives the efforts made by the Black Lives Matter movement by affirming that they are inclusive of Black citizens. Conversely, boiling down the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” African Americans assert that it does not translate to Black lives being more worthy than whites and diverse groups. It heightens the need to be treated with respect and to never feel shunned and belittled by society.
“Black Lives Matter has animated intense social and political activity, especially among younger people and others who have been less politically engaged,” said professors Colin Wayne Leach of Barnard College and Columbia University and Aerielle M. Allen from the University of Connecticut in their research article “The Social Psychology of the Black Lives Matter Meme and Movement.”
Black Lives Matter protesters funnel their fury into action as they don’t idly sit back hoping authorities will diminish racism. They have been under the world’s spotlight and will continue to be until humanity acknowledges that white lives have been cast favorably in contrast to seemingly undervalued African Americans.
Social justice movements such as these play an integral role in American democracy as they shine light on prejudiced systems that taint the character of ethnic groups. Equity should not be a tug-of-war. After all, the recipe for success includes all different cultures fighting together against injustice.
Under an alliance of compassion and understanding, we can mold the framework for an equitable society. That framework can’t be built while movements like “All Lives Matter” distract from the cause and encapsulate the poisonous traces of racism that are wired into America’s DNA.