On July 13, I was sitting in my living room with my conservative Republican grandmother when I had the displeasure to witness a live interview with Donald Trump. The presidential nominee made some comments live to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly about how Black Lives Matter's name itself “very divisive” and how the movement is “dividing America.” Of course, being the liberal I am, I was shaking my head in utter disgust the whole time.
I couldn’t have put it nearly so eloquently as Gene Testimony Hall when he said “Let’s be clear, we said: Black Lives Matter. We never said only Black Lives Matter. That was the media, not us. In truth, we know that All Lives Matter. We’ve supported your lives throughout history. Now we need your help with Black Lives Matter, for black lives are in danger.”
There’s also the classic variations of “Saying All Lives Matter is like going to a breast cancer research fundraiser and shouting, ‘Cure all the ailments!’”
Now, don’t get me wrong. What happened in Texas at the Black Lives Matter rally was awful, it was horrific, and appalling: It was completely and utterly uncalled for. Those five officers shouldn’t have had their lives stolen so soon, nor should the other seven officers and two civilians have ever been wounded. But that wasn’t Black Lives Matter, nor was it in the heart of it.
Yes, some of the protesters are going too far, as proven with the Ferguson riots. But that’s not what the movement is about. Please, don’t let a hand full of misguided, sometimes even depraved folks ruin an entire movement.
Police brutality and racial profiling are very, very real. If the most recent examples of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling weren’t enough, try this on for size: Last year, police killed over 100 unarmed black people. Donald Trump is terribly wrong: peaceful protests and demonstrations simply aren’t divisive. How on Earth are they bothering whites, anyway? Or people of any other race?
Besides, what else can be done to fight back, other than donating to the cause or using the power of the pen, by writing posts on social media, or publishing to sites such as this or news sites? Peaceful protests and harmless posts throughout social and news media are about all that can be done by your average Joe, unfortunately.
When asked which points about Black Lives Matter need to be driven home, Brianna Pierson, 19, of Edwardsville, Ill., said “Just that things really need to change. Black Lives Matter is all about trying to stop the systemic racism that's been going on for far too long. Black people are tired of it. We are tired of being afraid to walk down the street. Tired of being afraid to wear a hoodie—to even approach a cop. We are tired of fearing for our brother/son/father/uncle/cousins' lives. We are just plain tired. We are tired of being sad. We are tired of being a hashtag. We are just plain tired.”
If that doesn’t tell you there’s a problem, I don’t know what will.