Ok, I’ll say it…“All Lives Matter” makes me mad and pushes my buttons. If I was paler the phrase would make me red in the face. Anyway, If you use “ALM” or say it as a retaliation against “Black Lives Matter”…well this article is for you.
So, what is “ALM” and why is it such a big deal? To answer that we’ll have to go farther back to the founding, meaning, reasoning, and growth of the “BLM” movement over the past few years. The #BlackLivesMatter movement was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors in 2013 in an attempt to combat police brutality that specifically targets Black people and it has been making waves across the internet and among activist communities for years. But in these recent racially tense months–with the movement’s name being the face of many protests and it’s morals being so widely shared and fought for–other argumentative movements have popped up to counteract it. This is where “ALM” comes back into play.
The term #AllLivesMatter, or more commonly referred to as “ALM,” has been coined as a movement to oppose BLM and it’s values. The term is very often used as an argument against “BLM” and this is where I feel the problem and disrespect arise. After hearing a protest specifically made for Black people, your first thought should not be to argue with the Black people. It should not be to oppose their fight. It should not be to take their movement’s name and change it because you feel left out. “BLM” is not meant to be an inclusive movement, and that’s okay. No movements really are. “No More Lost Sisters” is a movement advocating for native American women. The “Women’s March” was for protesting the social inequalities women face. And BLM? Well, that’s for me and my people, and in these past few years, it’s become abundantly clear just how much we need it. Movements are about targeting one precise problem and fighting to fix it. Let us do that before accusing us of putting one race above others.
While that may be my main qualm with the ALM movement, there are so many more. If you still feel the need to say ALM, here are three other reasons why the phrase rubs many of us the wrong way.
YOU’RE PROTESTING A PROTEST
BLM was created in 2013 after the fatal shooting of Treyvon Martin–a victim of racial profiling–who was murdered 11 months earlier in 2012. The movement was created to protest, prevent, and fight against police brutality, racial profiling, and unjust actions against Black people/African Americans. Though we all wish it wasn’t the case, the movement is still very much needed today (How can we forget the deaths of those like Elijah McClain, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor?) Saying “All Lives Matter” to combat a Black Lives Matter activists is protesting a protest that is a necessity to Black people. Black lives are lost every day simply because of their skin color. Fighting and invalidating the movement meant to prevent that helps no one. Which brings us to my next point.
IT INVALIDATES THE NEED FOR THE MOVEMENT
BLM would have not come to be if there wasn’t an urgent need for it… and there was, and is. Fighting and slandering BLM, and bringing up ALM instead, takes attention from the core of the movement, which is protecting Black people from those who see their skin color as a threat. It’s like if you were to fall and break a leg and the person next to you, standing perfectly fine, demands medical attention and a cast as well.
ALM ONLY COMES UP WHEN BLM IS GETTING ATTENTION
Though there should be no reason to argue against BLM, if you were to really want to find an argument, let me tell you right now that All Lives Matter is not a proper one. If it were something someone truly cared to advocate for, it shouldn’t only be brought up when BLM comes up. If ALM was really an issue there would be constant protests to support the cause and not just people showing up to BLM protest with a sign against it. Movements are not just arguments. They are morals that people fight for. Anything else is just a group of people being spiteful.
So do all lives matter generally speaking? Of course, they do! But the truth is Black lives have not been included in that equation for a very long time. Fighting for a group of people who need the fight the most right now is not saying their fight is the only one that is important. I’m saying that right now the focus needs to be on Black lives. If all lives truly matter you should be mad.
“Don’t be mad you don’t have a movement, be happy you don’t need one.” –Margarete Stokowski
By Kendal Amos, Sophomore, Little Black Pearl