All Lives Matter


William Flannery

Every year Google hosts a competition for children to draw a special variant of their logo and the 2015 winner has been revealed as art regarding the controversial “black lives matter” protests against police violence.

The art is a beautiful representation of a rich and creative culture that was, unfortunately, once the victim of segregation in America. But we ended our bigoted ways because all human beings should be treated equally and fairly, and this slogan begs the question, why not “all lives matter?”

That isn’t to say that the phrase does not illustrate an imbalance in justice; it calls for action. But the message itself is centered around the idea of focusing on one group in particular, effectively segregating them from the rest.

When you think of the words, you think of African Americans as an individual collective against the rest of America, and maybe that was the original intent of the phrase, a reflection of how racist we may be becoming. However, it has spiraled into horrid ideas.

The issue is it shows us the divide we are making, but how we haven’t done anything to repair it. It puts African Americans in a defensive position, urging them into the “safety” of their own “people.” But we are the same people, as with the Latinos that are facing prejudice for illegal immigration or Muslims that are being associated with terrorism.

I can already see the problems we are perpetuating, so how do we fix them?

We should be harmonizing our varied cultures, not creating divided, hateful “we versus them” language that’s the source of many racial atrocities; a better alternative could have been “Don’t shoot! We are people too,” as it not only shows the injustice of exclusion, but also makes it clear that we are mistreating our own fellow humans.

Instead, we have the selective word “black” that is not only a name based solely on skin color, but clearly paints a “we” that a naive mind can interpret as “not them,” the building blocks to exclusive, dogmatic divisions. Don’t believe me? Take this “white lives matter” Facebook community or this “muslim lives matter” one. Whether it be a response or a mimic, we are labeling ourselves by putting on racial badges that segregate this nation.

Do you think that putting up a wall around yourself that says “I’m this race” will protect you? It only makes you an easier target for racists and shuts out those who care for your plight. We are different: we come from many places and bring a myriad of cultures, and while we are proud of who we are, we never look at anyone else as inferior or superior. People should be judged as threatening by their actions, not their skin color.

But here we are, chanting “my race matters,” which is implicitly saying “your race doesn’t matter to me.”

The art, however, can be seen as a reflection on this ordeal and in all honesty, it does not dwell on “black lives matter” but rather captures the African American culture and its diversity. This is the future I wish to see, exploring our vast mixture; and while we must remind ourselves of our past errors, we can’t forget to look forward.

So, I say that all lives matter. Unfortunately, there are many who do not agree with me. Racism can be analogous to murder in that they are both acts of malevolence towards other humans, but many do not see things that way. We can paint specific races to be killers, but then everyone would be victims, however many don’t see why. But in my eyes, there is only one race that matters to me: the human race.


Background Art Credit: Joel Mayorga / The Foothill Dragon Press

What do you think?