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"Black Lives Matter" or "All Lives Matter"?

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a movement that began after Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager, was murdered by neighborhood watch patrolman George Zimmerman. According to their website, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created the group as a “call to action for Black people” and as “a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.”
In 2015, according to a study done by the Washington Post, African Americans were two times more likely to be shot and killed by the police than white Americans. It feels like every other day, there is a new video released of a person of color being killed by the authorities that are supposed to protect them – and every single time, there are people flooding the comments section defending the cops even when it’s clear that the cops are the ones being violent and irrational.

Image courtesy of International Business Times
Image courtesy of International Business Times

Ironically, the motto adopted by many US police departments, created by the LAPD, is “to protect and to serve.” When people of color have been bred to be terrified by the men in blue, how can they possibly rely on them for protection?
Speculation around the BLM movement has formed the stereotype that they are a racist hate group. However, Black Lives Matter is essentially in existence because since the birth of this country, they haven’t mattered as much as they should. An article from TIME explains this in depth by saying, “black lives matter because they have been marginalized throughout our country’s history and because white lives have always mattered more in our society.” Evidently, some people who claim to be apart of the BLM movement may yell out offensive things at rallies and get a little carried away. They have every right to be angry, and we don’t have any right to scrutinize them for the way they feel. But a few people acting out doesn’t mean all members of the movement are hate-mongering. There will always be two sides, and there will always good and bad people in every revolution.
In response to the BLM movement, the phrase “all lives matter” was coined to stress that everyone is of equal importance, and no one race should be left out. “All lives matter” supporters emphasize that no one race is superior, which they find to be a nonexistent belief in the BLM movement.
The Washington Post also revealed that overall, more white people were shot and killed by the police than African Americans in 2015. The number of white people who were killed is nearly double that of people of color: 732 white people to nearly 381 blacks. That is a fact not often highlighted in the news.
In addition, it is essential to remember that cops have an extremely stressful job,
Image courtesy of The Daily Buzz
Image courtesy of The Daily Buzz

which is really an understatement. Local police department member, lieutenant Mike DiSanto,  is an avid supporter of the Blue Lives Matter movement, which advocates for a pro-police agenda. He said, “when in a dangerous situation, race has nothing to do with it. In a split second, police officers have to make quick and sometimes dangerous decisions to do their jobs … which is to serve and protect.” It is easy to react out of anger and put all the blame on the cops when you are not the one who is wearing the uniform and putting your life on the line.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual to look at the facts and decide which side they will take, or which movement they will join. All that Americans can hope is that in the end, justice will prevail.