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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: ‘All Lives Matter’ activists aren’t racist, they’re just naive

Adam Zyglis
January 5, 2016

All lives matter: a statement all sane individuals can get on board with. All lives do matter and should be valued. So why does this statement invoke such emotion and opinion today?

Why is there a crowd of people shouting this phrase from the rooftops of the Internet, complete with an assortment of hashtags and tweets? And why is there an equally large group of dissenters?

It’s because the All Lives Matter movement is unnecessary. Yet, its proponents can’t seem to grasp the complete narrative of social justice in today’s world. The disconnect between groups has fired up the controversy involving All Lives Matter and its equally—if not more—polarizing counterpart, Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter came across to some people as a movement to put the needs of black Americans above those of everyone else.

Whether there are inherent flaws in that logic, I believe those who buy into the All Lives Matter movement believe their crusade is intended to unite all sorts of people.

But they miss the whole point. If you can open your eyes and attempt to impartially survey the current social landscape, it’s pretty easy to see that minorities, on average, have it worse in the U.S.

The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, whether they were racially charged, served to highlight that fact.

Thousands came together as a response to these injustices to form Black Lives Matter and cried out for those who have lacked a voice for many years.

But many people took these voices raised for equality as a threat to the white majority or as an over-emphasis of the needs of only black people in America. They countered that all lives matter, not just black lives.

All lives do matter, but those people did not realize that in asserting that opinion, they were invalidating a group with a goal of wanting to be thought of and treated as equals in this country. By ignoring and trying to usurp Black Lives Matter, that invalidation is exactly what they were fighting for.

But contrary to a common sentiment among Black Lives Matter activists, these so-called counter-activists aren’t expressing blatant racism. They think their cause is just and unifying.

As bad as the naivety that defines All Lives Matter is, the lack of understanding from Black Lives Matter and its unwillingness to see things from the opposing view is equally as damaging. There needs to be concession from both sides for any progress to be made.

Communication is essential to any conflict. If these two activist groups see from each other’s viewpoint, communication and understanding will be greatly improved.

Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.

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