All lives didn’t matter when
November 20, 2016
A bullet shot from an officer’s pistol and went through the stomach of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Police responded to a 911 call about Rice, who was sitting on the swings of a Cleveland park in broad daylight holding a toy gun Nov. 22, 2014. The caller repeatedly stated the gun was “probably a fake,” but moments after the police car arrived Rice had been shot. According to Black Enterprise, Timothy Loehmann, rookie police officer, didn’t fully evaluate the situation – it only took two seconds to pull the trigger – ending a child’s life. Supervisors Cleveland Police Department said Loehmann had a history of misconduct with weapons during training sessions.
My youngest brother is 11-years-old; Tamir Rice could’ve been my younger brother. As someone who has siblings, it hurts to know a little boy spent his last four minutes of consciousness in the eyes of his shooter rather than the comforting arms of his older sister.
This is why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important. When, according to The Washington Post, police kill blacks at three times the rate of whites, it matters. According to the Black Lives Matter website, the movement is an ideological and political invention focusing on how black lives are systematically targeted and oppressed. The slogan “All Lives Matter” came to be as a reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement which began in July of 2013.
It’s easy for people to say “All Lives Matter,” but harder to grasp what that truly means. To me, “All Lives Matter” means every life has value. However, this hasn’t always held through American history.
All lives didn’t matter in 1787, when our constitution counted black people as three-fifths a person. All lives didn’t matter in 1955, when it took the lynching of 14 year old Emmett Till to spark a movement. All lives didn’t matter in 2014 when Michael Brown was unjustly killed by police gunfire.
I cannot say it’s any better to live in 2016 than it was to live in the 1950s because history is repeating itself. Theoretically, all lives do matter, but within our society all lives certainly don’t matter. Saying they do clearly shows people are oblivious to the real problem at hand. All Lives Matter supporters use their voices to silence a movement whose sole purpose is to ensure equality for black people.
Not only that, but all lives did not matter when Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African Americans during their church service in Charleston, South Carolina. The only life that mattered here was the shooter who was carried out wearing a bulletproof vest and given Burger King on his way to jail, according to the Huffington Post. It is unbelievable that people can’t even be safe within their own place of worship. Yet, “all lives matter,” is still being advocated.
“All Lives Matter” supporters are part of the problem. Yet, it’s not entirely their fault. Their privilege blinds them to the injustice and oppression still suffered by black people today. Those people don’t know what it’s like to be followed around in stores, or fear a 911 call for help could end in death. People say “All Lives Matter,” but those people are wrong. All lives didn’t matter until black people began to say theirs do.
People who support “All Lives Matter” need to educate themselves on the topic; try putting themselves in the shoes of the families who have unrightfully lost loved ones for no apparent reason other than their skin color. And keep in mind, people don’t protest being free: protests don’t come from thin air.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a byproduct of history, and in order for things to change it needs to be embraced by all.