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The Black Lives Matter movement arose as a result of the many recent deaths of African American citizens for which a lot of white policemen are responsible and because of the lack of appropriate sanctions for those actions. What started as a hashtag on Twitter after the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013 soon became an influential anti‑discrimination movement after the homicides on Michael Brown and Eric Garner in the following year. Supporters of Black Lives Matter want to end racial profiling of black Americans by white police officers. Furthermore they want to stop police brutality against the African American community, as well as racial inequity in the American criminal justice system.
The phrase ‘Back Lives Matter’ has been met with a lot of criticism, since it would be racist and exclusive of other ethnic groups. ‘Don’t all lives matter?’ is the common response. People who say something like that clearly have no idea what Black Lives Matter is actually about. Of course all lives matter, supporters of the movement know that too. The thing is that society doesn’t seem to know that all lives are equally important. As a society we’ve known since the very beginning that the lives of white people are valuable, which is why white people in the West have never experienced racism. However, it’s a well-known fact that black people daily face direct or indirect discrimination because of their skin colour. Apparently some people still think black lives are inferior to white lives and that they don’t really matter that much. That’s exactly why the movement chose that particular name: the founding members wanted to emphasise that black lives matter too and not that only black lives matter, like a lot of people seem to incorrectly interpret it.
What’s remarkable – or rather typical – about that statement is that it’s practically only made by the white community, the most privileged ethnic group in the area of racism. The All Lives Matter movement is a reaction of mostly white people to the so-called exclusion Black Lives Matter would cause. Although that movement might have been created with good intentions, it takes away the attention from problems faced specifically by African Americans. Black Lives Matter wants to raise awareness and do something about police brutality against black people. White Americans aren’t regularly killed by the police with no valid reason, so that’s not a problem that applies to them. All Lives Matter implies that everyone regardless of skin colour, origin, gender, religion or sexual orientation belongs to the same equal community. However great it would be to live in a world where such a society exists, we still have an incredibly long way to go in order to reach that world. So perhaps it’s time for majority groups to stop complaining when a minority group gets a little more attention than they do for once. White people don’t face the same problems as black people at all and instead of trying to draw all the attention to themselves, they should inform themselves a little better and stand up for the violated rights of other people.
For some reason majority groups often have a hard time accepting that minority groups are getting ‘privileges’ they didn’t have before. What those majority groups don’t realise, however, is that they don’t need those ‘privileges’. In this patriarchal society an International Men’s Day is completely unnecessary, for example, because men can enjoy their privileges every other day of the year. Since I have never faced racism as a white man – I’ll even say that white people were the founders of racism – a White History Month just sounds ridiculous and a Straight Pride Parade for those poor straight people who feel left out is just as absurd. If you belong to a majority group, then don’t complain when minority groups establish something specifically for themselves, but be fucking glad you don’t need any of those special events.
But that’s just my opinion…