Focus Friday: The meaning of Black Lives Matter
The recent comments made by the Student Government Association Vice President Rohini Sethi has sparked a debate among students and alumni. At the center of this of this controversy are two movements that have taken this country by storm — #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter.
Black Lives Matter is an important subject that is worth discussing, seeing that many people’s understanding of it remains muddled. This weekend, the opinion desk weighs in on the movement and its meaning.
What do you think the term #BlackLivesMatter movement means? Does saying #AllLivesMatter in response to BLM undermine the movement? Should BLM consider changing their name to create a more clear message or is their message clear enough?
Caprice Carter, opinion columnist
BLM isn’t a movement meant to exclude — it is a statement meant to include a group of people who feel ignored, bullied, and disregarded. When saying “Black Lives Matter,” the “Too” should be implied as it is meant to be. All lives do matter, and black lives matter, too. To say “All Lives Matter” is not incorrect, but it doesn’t really address the issue. While it is a universal truth that all lives matter, that doesn’t mean that everyone believes it.
Go to any city in the U.S. and it wouldn’t be hard to meet at least one person who believes black lives don’t matter. To them, black people kill each other everyday. Scroll to the comments and this becomes obvious right away. Outspoken public figures such as Sethi may urge her followers to “forget #BlackLivesMatter,” but it doesn’t change the fact that the movement is important. The message needs to be heard by those that do not believe that black lives are important, too.
Not everyone will understand the message, but the good thing about #BlackLivesMatter? It is on everyone’s mind.
Odus Evbagharu, opinion columnist
#BlackLivesMatter is about bringing awareness to the atrocities and unfair practices the police and the law use against the African-American community. It’s simply a movement to educate people, including blacks, about the relationship between the law and a certain community. No more, no less.
It is not a hate group, it is not a terrorist group and it certainly is not an exclusive group where only black people can be a part of.
The movement is an opportunity to hear a generation of people who have genuine concerns about the future of their race in the hands of law enforcement. People should view it as an opportunity instead of a way to be even more divisive.
#AllLivesMatter undermines the work that people are trying to do. To say this is just simply dismissing a cause that is truly affecting a generation of people. #BlueLivesMatter does not help either. Police choose their profession. Blacks do not have a choice to pick what race they can be a part of.
It would be a travesty if #BlackLivesMatter changed its name because the movement isn’t about exclusion. It’s about drawing attention to a system that is failing against minorities.
Thomas Dwyer, assistant opinion editor
I think BLM is an attempt by mainly the black community to communicate to law enforcement that black people are more than the negative characteristics that is often attached to them.
The name of the movement makes sense to me, but perhaps could use a subheading or some other element in order to clarify its meaning. Black Lives Matter doesn’t need to change its name. It does, however, need more structure if it intends to actually use its resources in a constructive way.
BLM’s message is clear, but how can they legitimately create the change within their message with only protests?
Frank Campos, opinion editor
BLM does not call upon just one race. It wants all races to unite and realize that there is injustice when it comes to the treatment of African-Americans by police. The name simply means that, in a country where all lives should matter, black lives obviously do not to police.
The latest example of this is a therapist who was shot in the leg by police even though he had both hands in the air and pleaded the police to not shoot. To deny any racial disparity in treatment is to be part of the problem.
Saying #AllLivesMatter in response to BLM is not only disrespectful, but it also shows the ignorance of the person saying the phrase. Saying all lives matter is like telling Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement that everything is already fair even though a black man or woman can’t sit in the same area as a white person in public places.
“Separate but equal” is a term that was used to describe segregation and to undermine the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement. BLM isn’t fighting for basic civil rights anymore, but since the Civil Rights Movement, blacks have been fighting for their lives against the police. With today’s growing technology, video footage has brought their struggle to the forefront of the media and the world.
It can’t be ignored anymore. Stop saying all lives matter. Realize that the people in the late 1940s who wanted to keep their schools, bathrooms, restaurants and lives white are probably the same as those who say all lives matter in response to racial injustice today. You think you are right, but history will show that you are dead wrong.
Contributors to Focus Friday can be reached at [email protected]