The answer is simple: Black Lives Matter.
But that doesn’t mean that other lives don’t. This is a common misconception among those still teetering on the fence regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, which actually promotes a world in which “Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise” (BlackLivesMatter.com).
According to “The Guardian”, there are more than twice as many unarmed Black people killed by the police compared to White people. Overall, minority races make up roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population yet they are the 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police officers. Thirteen percent of the U.S. population comprises of African Americans, yet Blacks make up one million of the 2.3 million people incarcerated (NAACP); in addition, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has found that Blacks are six times more likely to be incarcerated than Whites. The trend in which people of color are more likely to be targeted by law enforcement and more likely to be deprived of human rights only reveals how racism continues to perpetuate our society.
Conservatives argue that with the civil rights movement sparked by Martin Luther King Jr. and the fact that our current president, Barack Obama, is Black, are enough to prove that racism has decreased rather than increased. However, studies show that there is more segregation in public schools today in the 21st century than 40 years ago. And the fact that racism continues to heavily influence our government, societal conventions etc. is only further proven through the increase of media coverage of social injustices towards people of color, especially when it comes to police brutality.
Clearly racism in today’s society has become less apparent, as it has transformed from the socially unacceptable, “I don’t like you because you’re Black and therefore violent” to the now socially acceptable, “I don’t like you because you give an aggressive impression, but don’t worry, I’m not racist”.
Both the former and the latter are clear instances of racist remarks, just with substituted words. People have begun to replace “Black” with “just looks like a mean guy” or “simply scary due to composure”, so that those evolved racists may continue to carry on their prejudices to the next generation without being called out for their racism.
And this is why it is important to emphasize that Black Lives Matter.
Through silencing the oppressed by saying, “no, all lives matter” or “not all police officers…”, you undermine the entire movement, which is to raise awareness that Black lives continue to be undervalued compared to White lives into today’s society. You draw attention away from the movement because you, as a privileged citizen who may not face the inequalities others may to such an extent that a life is lost, cannot stand that you are no longer the focus of attention; that suddenly, in this democracy, we are focusing on helping the minority rather than the majority.
There is an undeniable presence of White privilege, and when privileged people are no longer given the attention they’ve had all throughout their lives, they become offended; they grow anxious and worry about how their lives no longer matter when again, just because Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that other lives don’t.
Sometimes, people may not be at fault, for I’m sure many of us may unintentionally say something racist or act in a racist manner as influenced by our parents, who tend to be more conservative than us teenagers anyway.
But the problem we face today is that when accused of being racist, people tend to spit back, “No, I’m not”, rather than “How am I being racist? Tell me so I can evaluate the situation from your point of view and understand how what I said hurt you”.