Why You Need To Stop Saying 'All Lives Matter'
Start writing a post

My freshman year of college I took a class that pretty much changed my life. The class was called “Education in a Diverse Society” and it blew my mind every Tuesday and Thursday for a whole semester.

It was a class for education majors, so we talked about schools and teaching. However, we mainly talked about issues that affect our biases as educators. For the first time in my life, I sat in a classroom and had an open discussion about race.

It changed my outlook on a lot of things. I was raised in a household where everyone was equal. I wasn’t raised to hate anyone, especially based on race. However, I have racial biases that I had never realized before.

We as white people operate within the institution of our society with something called privilege. We are set up from the moment we are born to have more opportunities that those who are born non-white. It’s a sad fact, but we have to acknowledge it.

We, as the privileged group, have the ability to refuse to acknowledge the struggles of minorities. We have the ability to operate our entire lives without realizing we hold racial biases. We have the ability to ignore news reports about Philando Castile, or Alton Sterling, or the more than 100 unarmed black people killed in 2015 by police.

That’s an accident of birth. It is no more our fault that we are born white than it was Alton Sterling’s fault for being born black.

That’s not where the discussion should end, though. Our luck of birth does not absolve us of responsibility- it doesn’t give us the right to throw a “prayers for Ferguson” out on Facebook and forget. It doesn’t give us the right to shake our head at CNN and change the channel.

My professor had a certain saying that she often repeated when we tried to argue about how responsible we personally were for oppression. She often said, “Intent doesn’t matter.” It doesn’t matter whether or not we actively choose to oppress another person; the end result is the same.

Our whiteness is a privilege. It affords us a power within society that has been cemented by hundreds of years of racism. We participate, whether we want to or not, in a society that puts us in power based only on our whiteness and oppresses others based only on their lack of whiteness.

“That doesn’t mean out lives don’t matter," you say.

“Black lives matter is racist against whites,” you say.

“I didn’t choose to be white, so it’s not my fault,” you say.

“All lives matter!” you scream, on Facebook and Twitter and the comments on CNN videos.

Unarmed black citizens in 2015 were killed at 5x the rate of unarmed whites. Out of 102 killings of unarmed black citizens in 2015, only one served jail time.

Our society already knows that white lives matter. When I am pulled over in the middle of the night, alone, I am not afraid that the police officer is going to brutalize me or shoot me. I am afraid that I’m going to get a speeding ticket and my dad will get mad.

When I’m walking home from a party with friends, I’m not afraid that I will be arrested for no reason or beat by an officer. I’m afraid that I’ll trip and break a heel.

When I see blue flashing lights behind my car, I think of how I can get out of a ticket. I don’t think of whether or not I’ll make it out of the altercation alive.

I cannot speak to what it feels like to be black. I can’t put myself in the shoes of a black man being beaten by police, and I can’t pretend to understand how a black mother feels when receiving the news of her son’s death.

I can, however, accept that I am a part of the problem. My ability to type this, with a heavy heart but no real threat to my life, is part of the problem. My ability to close my eyes to the video of Philando Castile’s horrible death is part of the problem.

“All Lives Matter” is part of the problem.

I encourage you to be more aware; next time you see a news article of a black person being brutalized, read it.

Next time you see a video of a black man being shot, watch it.

Next time the news is showing a protest, stay on the channel.

Accept your own role in society as an oppressor.

Start talking. Start reading, and educating yourselves. Accept the fact that you’re probably at least a little bit racist, even if you don’t want to be. Be aware of your biases and actively fight against them.

All lives matter, but black lives are in danger. And unless we actively work to change this, things can only get worse.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

187007

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

355050

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1758071

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1113482
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

992145
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

652444
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments