Clashing over which lives matter


uploaded black and white first, will return with color today. Trying to be more “newspaper conventional”

Jeff Guzman and David Molina

If you have gone on any media site in the past few months you most likely have heard of the two activist movements that have become popular to talk about. Black Lives Matter is an organization that has been around since 2013, when Trayvon Martin was killed and All Lives Matter spawned as a way to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.

While these two movements and their goals are completely compatible, the groups that back each movement are ironically rivals. Since both do a much better job at dividing than unifying, both should be dropped immediately for something more effective.

It might help to explain the position of both movements. On their website, Black Lives Matter says, “When we say black lives matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all the ways in which black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.”

On the other side we have All Lives Matter which is a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. All Live Matter started around the same time and started to gain more attention and tried to one-up the Black Lives Matter movement by supporting everyone who is victimized by state violence.

Both sides seem to have good intentions, except the results of both have only caused more backlash, less cooperation and no civil justice for anyone.

Black Lives Matter has good principles such as empathy, restorative justice and collective values. Yet, supporters of the movement have used Black Lives Matter as the backbone for rioting and looting. After Trayvon Martin was killed there was rioting in LA. After Michael Brown was killed there was rioting in Ferguson. More recently we have rioting in Milwaukee.

In the LA riots, rioters stomped cars and broke windows, assaulted reporters and tried to break into a local Walmart. It was right around this time that Black Lives Matter started. How does any kind of rioting help bring restorative justice? While I don’t blame Black Lives Matter for all the unrest, there’s no doubt that it has been used to justify so much disturbance.

The All Lives Matter movement is meant to remind everyone that all lives matter equally, but it has only succeeded in creating conversation about how unequal our society is. Black Lives Matter isn’t saying that only black lives matter, but is trying to bring focus to some of the injustices black communities face. The fact that All Lives Matter is trying to knock off Black Lives Matter was created as a response to show that All Lives Matter is trying to discredit the significance of Black Lives Matter purpose.

For this reason many people feel insulted by support for the All Lives Matter movement. Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Max Muncy, Richard Sherman and many others have felt a ton of backlash for their support of All Lives Matter. Some of these celebrities have been told that their ‘career is over’ because they said that all lives matter. But how does this make sense? If you believe all lives matter, doesn’t that include black lives as well? Why would anyone who claims to hold strong values be bothered by this?

The irony is that although these two movements align with each other, Black Lives Matter supporters hate All Lives Matter and All Lives Matter only exists to undermine Black Lives Matter. You hardly ever hear about these activist groups doing any actual activity to help their communities. It’s completely nonsensical to pay attention to either side helps distract from problems rather than help focus on them.

The truth is that neither of these movements help anyone. Both have been movements that only move us further apart rather than closer together. Due to all the rioting, Black Lives Matter has harmed communities instead of helped them and All Lives Matter has mainly been used as a more divisive term rather than a unifying one.

For anyone who claims to stand for justice and hold strong values, the moral option would have to be to not stand with either side. Black Lives Matter claims to have the principles of collective values, yet, gets frustrated over All Lives Matter for collectively saying all lives matter. Neither Black Lives Matter nor All Lives Matter solve community problems, they just shift the conversation to which lives matter and which ones don’t.

More and more people are being harmed on a regular basis. Whether you are a black person in Milwaukee or a police officer in Dallas, these two groups continue to bicker over which side has better values instead of searching for a solution; you have to wonder whether any life matters to either side.

Jeff Guzman can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.