On #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter

by - 8:48 PM

Another day, another shooting in the USA. I know, I know. I'm usually not this serious. But bear with me guys, because these things need to be said. It's like we can't go a single day without seeing a (usually black) person get shot, oftne by the police. Many people are outraged and have taken to Twitter. Every other day a new hashtag related to this topic is trending. Even though I usually stay far away from discussing this topic, I'm going to do it today. Not by tweeting. I agree that we need t pay more attention to these matters, yet I won't tweet about this. I have too much to say for a 140 characters' tweet. Let me say those things here.

I will never tweet my opinion on shootings
You won't see me tweet how bad I feel about a shooting in the USA for the same reason that I don't tweet #RIP when a famous person dies: I do not know enough about the circumstances, neither am I close enough to this person to send a truly sincere tweet.
Let's just take a look at the average police shooting: do we know exactly what happened? More or less. There are always a lot of things we don't know: why was this person stopped by the police? How did tthey respond to this? How did the police respond to their response? Was there any reason to pull a gun in the first place? About a week after the shooting we will know these things. But in the moment when Twitter explodes, we don't know all the facts and without all the facts I can't share an objective opinion. For example: a while ago a black man was shot by the police in the Netherlands. People shouted that the police was racist, but as it turned out, the man wanted to commit suicide this way. He'd forced the police into shooting him. I was glad I hadn't tweeted the minute I heard about this case. I want to know the facts before I shout my opinion from the digital rooftops. As long as I haven't seen the big picture, I won't tweet about it.

Even though I don't use the hashtag, black lives matter to me...
Black lives matter. I don't understand how anyone can think differently. I certainly don't understand why western countries think they have the right to meddle with other countries affairs' when they can't resolve their own problems with racism. We should be in a situation where all life is equally important.

...but if I'd tweeted a week ago, I'd have used #AllLivesMatter
Hold your horses, all you Social Justice Warriors out there! Let me explain.
Up until a week ago, I hadn't heard of this hashtag. Since it's only a hashtag and there's no room for explanations in a tweet, the hashtag is open to interpretation. I interpreted it this way: no matter what your skin color is, your life is valuable and should be respected by everyone, no matter what their skin color is. To me, this meant that we are in a situation where black lives sadly have less worth to some people than white lives. To me, this meant we need to find a way to make it clear that all lives are important, regardless of the package it comes in. To me, this was a hashtag that asked us to look at the injustice of the situation towards black people, find a way to fix it and get closer to equality, to a situation where a black life matters the way it's supposed to matter. I interpreted as: all lives matter, so why does this black life matter less to some people? It's a question of interpretation. Then I found out that this was not what the hashtag meant...
People abuse this message I had in mind and turn it into a way of saying: "Stop nagging, others get shot too." It stands for a completely different message than the one I believe in, the one I saw in it. People interpret it differently than I do. It leads to miscommunication and anger. The message I had in mind apparently fits #BlackLivesMatter better, though #AllLivesMatter sounded more logical to spread a message of equality, at least in my opinion. I will never use the latter hashtag. In fact, I want to use neither of these hashtags now. I just want to show you my point of view: it doesn't matter to me which color you skin has; black, brown, yellow, white, if you wanna dye yourself green or purple, fine by me. That shouldn't matter. Your life is valuable and precious and you deserve to live it in peace with the same chances and challenges as everybody else on this planet, regardless of your skin color.

I won't use hashtags when sharing my opinion on these matters, I won't retweet things to make my point. I'll make it by being kind to whoever crosses my path. I hope you do the same.

Stay Awesome!

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14 Fellow Ramblers

  1. Okay this is super weird because I had just logged into blogger to write about this exact topic and then I saw your post. This is has been on my mind all day and for a good while now and i'm still in two mind about writing my own post because I feel like this is such a sensitive topic and people will always want to take it in the wrong way.

    I agree with you. I think all lives matter and I hate how twitter blows in the aftermath of a shooting because as you said, we don't know everything and we will likely never know the exact details of what happened. It is so easily to immediately come out and scream racism, and that has been the motive behind many of these shootings but we do have to wait for more information and not just assume it's a race issue. Twitter does get very emotive instantly on this topic in particular and I don't think i'll ever be able to be a part of that, because I don't know enough about it and I don't feel as strongly because while I mourn those lost lives, America is not my country. Britain is suffering hugely with racism in the aftermath of the eu debate and I do react more strongly to that because it's my country.

    I am like you, "it doesn't matter to me which color you skin has; black, brown, yellow, white, if you wanna dye yourself green or purple, fine by me. That shouldn't matter. Your life is valuable and precious and you deserve to live it in peace with the same chances and challenges as everybody else on this planet, regardless of your skin color." I feel exactly like this. but the first time i expressed this opinion to someone who uses the #blacklivesmatter hashtag more than anyone i know, she responded by telling my i was inadvertently being racist and didn't understand my white privilege (we're both white btw), and I've been entirely conflicted on the matter since and I'm not sure if its soemthing i want to write about because of this. I'm not sure i fully understand the #blacklivesmatter hashtag at all.

    I'm going to link this site, because id be super interested in how you think about it, and I don't think agree with it at all, but I am honestly so conflicted right now that I just don't know. ( https://apoliticallyincorrect.com/2015/09/30/how-to-not-be-inadvertently-racist/)

    \i know im like fully leaving the longest response ever, but i was also thinking about the Beyonce thing today, and how she is now being held up as a model for balck lives matter because i'm not sure i agree that shes the best example of it. she was brought up in a fairly privileged environment and she is making a hell of lot of money from freedom and from the concerts she is having silences at. i'm not entirely convinced her motives are sincere but thats a whole other thing altogether.

    i'm really glad you wrote this though, because sometimes it can feel like you're the only one who believes something, and i needed to read this tonight.


    Anne // www.aportraitofyouth.co.uk

    1. I think most people have something to say about this now, but a lot of white people hold back because people of color often take it the wrong way and say that we don't understand it anyway, no matter how much research we've done on the topic.
      The most important thing right now is to educate ourselves when something like this happens. First read up on the facts, then voice our opinions on Twitter. And like you said, the US is not our country, so even though we acknowledge the problem, we'll never feel as strongly about it as the people who actually live there. I've seen the examples of racism in Britain recently and they were shocking, but the didn't have the same impact they would've had if they'd been Dutch examples. I don't think that's inadvertent racism, it's just a natural thing: we care more about the things that happen in our own environment, but that doesn't mean we don't give a shit about everything that happens outside of it.
      As for that inadvertent racism thing, that just confuses me. When I do see color, I'm being racist, but when I don't I'm racist too? Maybe I just misunderstood, but to me this is just a political correct thing that won't work for me. Especially the thing about "teaching your kids about their privilege" sounds very wrong to me. I honestly feel like that's just a modern version of telling your kids that they're better than people of color. "You have better chances because you're white", how wrong does that sound?
      I'm not even going to talk about Beyonce, because I've never been her biggest fan and like you said, she has less struggles than the average African American. Apart from that I think she has the power to set an example, but she chooses to set a rather negative example. She could also use it to preach love instead of yell stuff like: "Why are you killing us?!", which only triggers more hate responses.
      If I were you I'd just write a post about this. Maybe it'll piss some people off, but there are also people who will want to explain their point of view, in which case we get rid of some misunderstandings and hate :)

  2. I so agree! All lives definitely matter and it doesn't matter what color the person's skin is.

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

    1. Apparently that's inadvertent racism? But I know what you mean. I just think that a lot of people fail to see that when someone says "I don't care about your skin color", they mean that they see a difference in skin color, but they choose not to change their behaviour toward a person based on skin color and prejudices that come with it.

  3. This is such an important post! I absolutely agree about the meaning I would give to #AllLivesMatter, but what is behind this hashtag is something I really don't like. I just don't get why there is so much hatred. I don't get why we would think we have a say in who lives and who dies. And I even get less why the fact that someone has a certain skin colour would even matter. Just live and let live.

    onmywayacqua.blogspot.com | Acqua xx

    1. I looked at some of the things posted with #AllLivesMatter and I was a little disgusted after just five tweets. It really depends on how you interpret the hashtag. I wish more people would believe in live and let live

  4. I disagree with some of the wording of the above comments. While #AllLivesMatter is definitely a misleading hashtag in itself, it was actually created in response to #BlackLivesMatter. And while you can certainly say "oh but what difference does skin color do to the value of a person's life", I just want to say to you: YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. Until you recognize that skin color DOES define a person's value in society, you can't make efforts to trample things down to make everyone equal. It's like politely shoving the problem under the rug and pretending the lump there is normal, it's not! Live and let live cannot work here, if you passively watch things like this unfold and still cannot understand why this is happening, you are the problem. its EXACTLY like bombing Afghanistan, killing several times more CIVILLIANS than terrorists, and then acting surprised when Afghans have a negative sentiment about America. Please, if you don't understand something, have the decency to educate yourself about it. Hatred does not grow out of nowhere, there is always a root.

    1. Okay I didn't even know it was a response to #BlackLivesMatter, but that does explain a lot. I haven't been as active on Twitter as usual and by the time I noticed the hashtags there was no way of telling why everyone was yelling at each other anymore.
      Like I said before, I recognize that it does define someone's value, but I feel like skin color shouldn't be this important. I also don't think we should trample anything down, because that will cause anger with the things trampled down. I'd rather see we'd bring the other things up to that same standard, like it should have been in the first place.
      I personally think that people who believe in live and let live are the ones who have no problems with this in their own life, and by that I mean that racism isn't an issue for them or their friends of color (like in my life, where we're all buddies).
      As for Afghanistan, are people really surprised that Afghans don't like America all that much? I'm gonna be real honest here: those people must be pretty damn stupid. They'd be pissed too if that happened to them. I can only facepalm when I see/meet such people.

  5. God damn. I just love how everyone including myself is doing a blog post on blacklivesmatter. I was actually thinking on doing a whole blog about it and then i realized i just don't have a good enough opinion on it. I just love how Catalina just shushed everyone with her comment. That was like a boss of a comment. Lol. But back to what i think #AllLivesMatter means. I truly believe from what i read and from what i have seen people say i think it is actually a hashtag used to combat #blacklivesmatter. It is created by people who always make everything about race. "oh well whitelivesmatter as well, what about asianlivesmatter, Huh i think blacklivesmatter is racist" blacklivesmatter means all lives matter. It's just now a days you see a lot of black people dying from being shot by police officers. I can't find the buzzfeed article where it stated more than 600 police brutalities have occurred in the past year of two and that is horrible. I actually talked about the two incidents in my blog posts, but one of the guys that was shot had is girlfriend live stream the whole thing on Facebook, so it wasn't like the man was being disrespectful to the police officers. Both videos are up online if you want to watch them.

    1. I don't love it, but I do think it's important that everyone explains their point of view. A lot of hatred comes from misunderstanding in that case, like how I thought #AllLivesMatter stood for equality... Catalina is dangerous when she's about to defend her opinion :P She'd be the fear of all debate teams she wasn't on :P
      Apparently the hashtag is used to combat #BlackLivesMatter. I didn't know that until comments started to come in on this post. I don't know how many people die because of police brutalities, but as with many other things in the US, I think this is a much bigger thing than just racism. Racism is a huge part of it, but you have to admit that the number of brutalities is getting out of hand. Not just racism should be addressed, also the way police officers treat others. These numbers would've led to protests and changes within the police force in my country long ago.
      Sorry, I don't want to watch those videos. That feels wrong to me. It's good that there's footage of it, but I don't think I can handle that kind of brutality. If there's proof like a video, I do agree with everyone who says it's racism. If there's no reason for the police to shoot this guy, then I don't see any other motive. This is a problem and there's proof in this case. I just like to see proof before I start yelling.

    2. I think the reason why people are saying it's racist is probably because some police officers go in the situations with their stereotypes. They go in the situation having a pretty bad image of black people, so they are already in high alert. A traffic stop shouldn't make a police think it's code red! When some police officers deal with people of color they are already on level 10 threat instead of being on level 3-4. I understand a police has to be cautious, because they don't know what they are dealing with. It's also not only black people that receive police brutalities. A couple of month ago a white teen was tasered to the point he was hospitalized. I don't think shooting anyone is the correct response at all. I just read another story where another black guy was shot, and i thought it was justified to some extent. If i was the police officer i would probably shoot to disable not to kill, and i'm pretty sure they are taught that. I mean if you ever been to a gun range, they teach you what body parts to hit. I also definitely understand why you don't want to watch the videos. As i was reading the story about the guy in the car, it really broke my heart because his daughter was in the car. The girl is probably 6-7 years old, and now she is fucked up for the rest of her life. Have you read both stories??? My city is having a protest for the 5th time now. Everything is just out of hand. These type of things cause people to be radical. For example the guy who shot 5 police officers in Dallas as a result of the shootings. Apparently this man was part of some radical Black power group. I'm not sure of the exact details, but it's just so sad. It's the freaking 21st century and we are still dealing with the exact same bullshit from the 1900s. Maybe not to the same extent. Did you know race wasn't a thing until a couple of hundred years ago. I don't remember the exact date, but it was an idea of some German scientist, and i read a research paper that stated race became such an issue when slavery was occurring because the people that owned slaves wanted to justify the reason why they had slaves.

    3. The problem with those officers is indeed that they go into a situation with their stereotypes. I understand that they approach a situation differently based on past experiences, but doing so because of a stereotype is just wrong.
      I honestly think there is something wrong with the way police officers are trained in the US. I don't know much about training here, but I do know that violence really is the last thing Dutch officers will use in a dangerous situation. If they have to shoot, they have to shoot to disable and even then everyone gets angry at them for firing a shot. By the way, I can totally understand that it's difficult to shoot a moving person in a non-lethal place. Terrible mistakes happen all too easily when guns are involved.
      I read some articles on the case that was caught on camera. I feel very bad for the man's family. I can't imagine what it must have been like for them.
      Leave it up to the Germans to come up with theories about race... Apparently white guilt was a thing before these issues where a thing, as those theories were a reaction to people feeling the need to justify their actions

  6. my favorite thing about the BLM thing is that when it comes from white (or any non black person.) it means that they know they deserve rights too, but they're so focused on helping others that they're not concerned with what they do or do not have or deserve. they're being completely selfless just to help out another race because thats what matters. I think we should be like that more often. all lives matters, but how much better would this world be if we all fought for others rights instead of our own? how incredible would that be if we stopped caring so much about what we deserve and fought for others instead?
    I think that sounds like a great idea to me.

    1. And that's exactly how I interpreted it too! I'm afraid many people don't want to see it that way because of stereotyping. Your idea is the best I've heard in a while. If only we could fight that battle without more people losing their lives...


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