Yes, All Lives Matter, But...

Yes, All Lives Matter, But...

Some people have to fight harder for their lives to matter than others.

Scrolling through Facebook (as I do every morning), I noticed another #AllLivesMatter post, and it infuriated me to see, as it always does. This mantra of "All Lives Matter" stems from the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Black Lives Matter spawned after George Zimmerman, a captain of the neighborhood watch, was not convicted of Trayvon Martin's death. Martin was a 17-year-old African-American teenager who Zimmerman claimed looked "suspicious." Zimmerman shot Martin, claiming self-defense. All of this occurred in February of 2012. In 2013, Zimmerman was cleared of all charges, the jury finding him "not guilty."

From this, Black Lives Matter began. Protesting went into the streets, crowds all holding signs saying "Black Lives Matter."

The campaign continued to gain steam with other cases: Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, just to name a few. The outrage was incredible, but warranted. In 2015, police killed at least 102 unarmed black people. That's more than any other race, and five times as many as unarmed white people. Worse, of those 102 cases, only nine resulted in officers being charged with a crime. With statistics like that, movements like Black Lives Matter make a lot of sense.

But a counter movement is out there, "All Lives Matter," that criticizes the Black Lives Matter campaign for only focusing on black lives.

They're not wrong, either -- all lives do matter. That's obvious. Which is what makes the Black Lives Matter campaign so powerful -- all lives matter, but somehow discrimination against black lives, police violence against black lives, racism against specifically black lives, is so much higher than other races.

We don't need a campaign for All Lives Matter, because it's a given. Unfortunately, it seems that we do need a campaign for Black Lives Matter, because apparently America has forgotten. It baffles me that the color of your skin can determine the path of your life (or if not the complete path, at least hinder you from opportunities others will have who don't have the same color skin as you).

I'll be real with you guys -- I'm not an expert on this subject. I'm a middle-class white girl from Upstate New York; a 21-year-old college student. I don't understand what it's like to be a black person in America. I don't know what it's like to walk into a store and have a manager follow me, scared I'll shop lift, because of how I look. I don't know what it's like to walk through a college campus, or sit in a class, that is predominantly a race not my own. I don't know what it's like to be in class and be asked to speak on behalf of my entire race. I don't know what it's like to be genuinely afraid of police officers because of the treatment I've seen in the media of people of my own race. I don't have to be afraid to hold a toy gun, scared a police officer might shoot me because of it.

I don't know what it's like to not have inherent privilege, because I was born with white skin. I won't pretend to understand it. But I can care about it. People who advocate for All Lives Matter are missing the point, because everyone knows, for example, that white lives matter -- have you seen our country lately? We are still a country where "white is right" (a phrase that pains me to even write, but is still sadly the norm of America). It's clear to us that life matters, and therefore all lives matter, no matter your skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. But when you look at the news, it's not unarmed Asian Americans disproportionately killed by police, or Native Americans being incarcerated at a higher percentage than any other race -- it's African Americans. It is African Americans who are fighting desperately for a fair chance in life.

So please, stop toting around your signs saying "All Lives Matter." We get it. We know. We've always known. Life matters - if life didn't matter, we'd be in quite a jam, since we're all living, breathing human beings. The Black Lives Matter campaign isn't there to specifically disregard all other life, but to focus in on a group of people in this country who are being discriminated against. I don't know how anyone can see that as a bad thing.

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Time's Up: Black Is The New Black

Can A Fashion Statement Provoke Change?

This past Monday marked Golden Globes 75th annual show. Every year everyone gathers around their televisions to watch wins like- The Handmaid’s Tale winning ‘Best Drama Tv Series’ or Sterling K. Brown winning ‘Best Actor In A Drama Tv Series’. But this year, one of the main focuses of the show wasn’t just the awards but the Times Up’s "black attire" statement on the red carpet.

Celebrities like Nina Dobrev, Sophia Bush, and Millie Bobby Brown were posting on social media about Times Up’s initiative and their intent on showing support on the red carpet. Times Up is a great continuation into the new year of the sexual harassment awareness brought on by the #MeToo campaign and Weinstein Harassments during 2017.

What Is ‘Time's Up’?

Times Up is a movement fighting against sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace. This initiative was formed by over 300 celebrities like Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera and more. Although it was formed by celebrities, the mission isn’t just to protect those in the industry. The goal of this initiative is to get a legislation to punish and hold responsible companies that condone sexual misconduct and put an end to non-disclosure agreements for abuse victims. A legal defense fund was also formed through donations to help aid and support women of all backgrounds who report sexual harassment.

New York Times posted, on January 1st, a letter from 700,000 female farmworkers in response to and in solidarity with the women of Hollywood who are taking a stance against sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace. After the following hours of New York Times post, celebrities on all platforms were reposting and signing their names to the letter. Time’s Up also encouraged those attending the Golden Globes to wear black attire to show support and stand with their message to combat sexual misconduct and sexism. Rather than the carpet being about the best dressed, this “black attire” movement brought awareness and continued the dialogue about sexual harassment into the new year.

“Can A Fashion Statement Provoke Change?”

Many are wondering whether or not Time’s Up black attire statement will influence workplace harassment. Of course wearing a black dress, taking a few photos, and going home isn’t going to do much in the grand scheme of things- but that’s not what this initiative is solely about. This wasn’t just a fashion statement but a conversation starter for the issues we must begin to seriously discuss. It’s only been little over a week and Times Up’s legal defense fund has already reached over $16 million dollars in donations. This is money that was raised with the help of the celebrities who did show solidarity by wearing black, encouraging their followers to donate, and expressing their support for the initiative. Celebrities hold a lot of influence in society, and if wearing black is what will grab everyone’s attention to listen and part-take in this movement, then it’s a brilliant idea. After all, stated by Time’s Up, “the clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment, inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it”- and this right here is them doing something about it.

Cover Image Credit: via Wikimedia Commons

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RPGs: A Fun Way To Psychoanalyze Your Friends!

What People's Character Choices In Role Playing Games Say About Them

The genre of "Roleplaying Games" encompasses a large selection of games, whether tabletop games (such as Dungeons & Dragons or FATE) or video games (like Elder Scrolls or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). For the purposes of this article, I will stick to the original roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, as the central game reference. If you do not understand the lingo of roleplaying games, do not fear.

Now, a typical game of Dungeons & Dragons, which is also abbreviated as D&D or DND, requires four to six players and a person to be the Dungeon Master - the lead writer and organizer for a game of D&D. Character creation for D&D can occur in several different ways, but the players usually go in with a certain idea of what type of character they want to play, whether they realize it or not. The party in this article will consist of four players named Brandon, Elizabeth, Hailey and Matthew. Let's look at our players!*

Brandon is 20 years old, is a pre-med major, wants to be a physical therapist, loves Star Wars and will be playing the neutral good human cleric in the party. His decision to play the cleric seems like an arbitrary decision and is just a character he wants to play. These facts about Brandon and his decision to play the cleric give a lot of hints as to whom he is.

Firstly, clerics and physical therapists heal and help. This shows that Brandon is a helper by nature and wants the best for people no matter the costs. Clerics also rely on holy beings to gift them their powers, similar to how Jedi tap into the Force to guide them. Brandon's love for Star Wars also reveals that he has fictional experience and can probably get into character fairly well. These are superficial connections, but open doors to even more analyzing.

Elizabeth is 21 years old, is a political science major, has a fascination with how politicians run their campaigns, is the reigning champion in the campus's chess club and will be playing the chaotic neutral halfling rogue. The first thought that comes to mind is why someone who wants to be a part of the political scene will play a character who deliberately breaks laws.

A lot of satirical comments can be made, but the subconscious reason may be because Elizabeth knows she will be in a field where she must obey laws, so D&D is her outlet to break some rules. Along the same lines, rogues are maticulous characters and perform acts with precision, much like a game of chess. However, this desire to play a character that breaks rules and precisely makes decisions to accomplish goals may reveal a little bit of narcissism within Elizabeth...

Hailey is 20 years old, is an elementary education major, consistently posts poetry on her Tumblr account, is the mom friend and will be playing the true neutral dwarf barbarian. Clearly, everything that Hailey is on the surface is the exact opposite of the character she is playing, but that may be the point. Like Elizabeth's character, Hailey will use her barbarian as a way to deviate from her normal self.

Not only will it be cathartic for Hailey to play this character, but it will also be a challenge for her as the player, which proves that she probably has experience with roleplaying games. From a deeper psychological lense, playing a dwarf barbarian might also be a little revealing to some destructive feelings Hailey may be hiding...

Matthew, who also goes by Matt, is 19 years old, a theatre performance major, has a joke for every situation, thinks he is slick and will be playing the chaotic good elf bard. This seems to fit. Bards are performers and actors, much like Matt on a day-to-day basis. This seems like an open-and-close kind of case, right? Nope. Matt's bard will oftentimes use his silver tongue to get out of every kind of encounter they come across.

And if that does not work, his bard magic can mystically persuade his opponent, much like a Jedi mind trick. Along the same lines, Matt's bard and Elizabeth's rogue will sometimes create elaborate plans to circumvent an opponent's expectations or to get the jump on them. This all seems perfectly fine and dandy. But what happens when the bard is confronted by a towering orc with an axe made of elven bones? He will soon realize the orc is too stubborn to hear his smooth words and may be forced to take him down in combat, which he is not equipped to do. Again, it sounds like a typical bard.

However, Matt's choice of a bard reveals a lot about him. It may show that Matt is bad with confrontation. It may show that he will do what he can to avoid conflict. It may even show that Matt may be trying to hide behind his goofy demeanor. This is all speculation and could easily be true as it could be untrue. It is a Schrödinger's Cat.

The concept of using roleplaying games as a way of therapy is a growing field that I believe should get more attention. This is not meant to make you self-conscious about the type of characters you play in roleplaying games. If you play D&D with me, do not let this freak you out. Roleplaying games are a judgement free zone, and we are all there to have fun. This article is just a product of loving D&D and crime TV.

*Disclaimer, the players described in this article are not real people (probably).

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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