Black Lives Matter is an international human rights movement that began campaigning against violence and systemic racism towards black people in 2013. Their message is just as urgent today, as black people continue to be targeted and murdered by the police. By shifting the focus away from black people, “All Lives Matter” denies that danger, and hinders the work towards actual equality.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are the most recent examples that all lives are not valued equally and are not protected equally under the law. The response that “All Lives Matter,” though occasionally deployed with good intentions, should be avoided and acknowledged for the violence it communicates.
In the last couple of days, Seth Rogen and Billie Eilish’s social media accounts were flooded with the “All Lives Matter” slogan after they posted their support for the BLM movement. Eilish penned a follow-up essay, where she told ALM supporters to “stop making everything about you,” adding “you are not in danger.”
The centering of whiteness is one of the key problems of the All Lives message. Of course, any reasonable person would like to believe that all lives are equal. But when being black while bird-watching, jogging, or in your own home can get you killed, shifting the focus away from black lives is racial dismissal and denial.
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