What Lives Matter?
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Politics and Activism

What Lives Matter?

How the growing separation of race hurts both black lives and police lives.

What Lives Matter?

It's been a rough week following the anniversary of our nation's independence.

On Tuesday morning, two police officers fatally shot a black man, Alton B. Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- he had been selling CDs. On Wednesday evening, another police officer fatally shot another black man, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. And on Thursday evening, during a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas in response to the killings of the two mentioned before, snipers killed five Dallas police officers and wounded seven others, including two civilians.

Though all three of these incidents happened hundreds of miles apart, all three are tied together by a common narrative of violence that has been escalating for decades. In 2013, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing, a hashtag on Twitter called #BlackLivesMatter began to grow into a movement that almost three years later is still going strong. Black Lives Matter is now the main activist organization behind many of the organized protests around police brutality. It was the Black Lives Matter movement that had organized the peaceful protest in Dallas.

In response to Black Lives Matter, other "Lives Matter" hashtags were created in response. The most notable of these is "All Lives Matter." Well, how can you argue with that? Of course all lives matter. But those that support that saying do not realize what they are actually saying. That by dismissing Black Lives Matter they are inadvertently going against the notion of All Lives Matter as well.

The tragedy in Dallas is an accumulation of a misunderstanding between two ideas. There is somehow a dichotomy between the idea of black lives matter and the police lives matter as well. For some reason, it seems as if people believe that you cannot be both in support of law enforcement while also wanting to hold them to a higher standard. To simply defend law enforcement out of a sense of obligation without any criticism whatsoever of overreach is a disservice not only to the victims of the police brutality, but also to the police who truly respect and work hard every day to cultivate a positive relationship with the community so they can do their jobs with the most efficiency possible.

There are those who will blame the black lives matter movement on the killings in Dallas. To do so is to only provoke more death. Black lives matter is not responsible for the deaths in Dallas, nor is these cases of police brutality. The tragedy in Dallas is the results of the growing fear and anger that reside within our society and has been accumulating for decades.

It is time for a change. It is time to truly realize that yes, black lives matter. And someday, once we have all accepted that black lives matter, we may finally be able to have a time when all lives matter. But until black lives matter, how can all lives matter? Because if we continue the way we have, then we can expect more tragedies like Dallas. And to allow that would be the greatest disservice to both law enforcement and the black community.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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