Yes, All Lives Matter, But...

Yes, All Lives Matter, But...

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

Cover Image Credit: panampost.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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