Edit Desk: Quit saying All Lives Matter

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Zion Olojede

Zion Olojede

Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter.

Two phrases that are supposed to go hand in hand but have somehow evolved into polar opposites.

As I was walking through the town of Bethlehem, headed back to my room, I spotted a white man walking toward me, donning a shirt with three words: All Lives Matter. I grinned as he walked by, looking him straight in the eye. He quickly turned away as if he was uncomfortable. 

Uncomfortable.  

“All Lives Matter” is a phrase that makes my blood boil. Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with the statement itself, but the basis of its creation and why people use it is downright disrespectful.

Just to clarify, I’m not an activist, nor do I like to indulge in political conversations pertaining to racial conflicts. Don’t expect me to entertain your personal hot takes and refutes. I’m truly proud to be African-American. I take pride in being a part of the 4 percent of African-American students at Lehigh. I take pride in defying stereotypes by being somewhere that “my type” is not supposed be. I take pride in seeing the astonishment on someone’s face when I utter the words, “I go to Lehigh University.”

So why does the saying “All Lives Matter” irritate me? Well, the entire movement was created in response to Black Lives Matter. Let’s be real, there would be no All Lives Matter if there was no Black Lives Matter. It’s based on misconceptions of the true meaning of Black Lives Matter and simply some of society being uncomfortable with black people speaking out.

Uncomfortable.

Black Lives Matter is not a movement stating that blacks are superior to everyone else or blacks are the only ones experiencing struggle in this country. It’s a movement that is meant to shed light on the area of violence and systemic racism toward black people. According to a Rasmussen Reports poll, 82 percent of black voters think most black Americans receive unfair treatment from the police and just 19 percent of black voters think the justice system is fair to blacks and Hispanics. It’s not irrational to think this way after all the recent events that have happened involving unjustified killings of blacks by police officers.

In 2014, Arthur Chu, an American columnist, tweeted “Do people who change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter run thru a cancer fundraiser going ‘THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO.'”

When you say All Lives Matter, you are blindly undermining something that is meant to improve society. There’s a major issue to address in this country, and if you’re unaware, then your ignorance is disturbing.  

This country still tends to struggle with change. All Lives Matter fits the comfort zone of some people because it ignores race. You can’t progress as a society if people refuse to step out of their comfort zones. Of course all lives matter. No one is disputing that, but black lives are being undervalued in this country and this must change. To those who believe the Black Live Matters movement is causing segregation all over again, you’re missing the point. In fact, you’re way off.  This isn’t a war against other races — this is a war against injustice and a corrupt judicial system.

But why should it be the All Lives Matter supporters that are uncomfortable after what has gone on in this country?

I know I’m uncomfortable with watching a video showing Terrance Crutcher lay motionless in a puddle of his own blood because he was shot with his hands up immediately after being tased. I’m uncomfortable with a fan at a Chicago Bears game running onto the field during a television timeout dressed in a monkey costume, wearing a shirt that read “All Lives Matter” on the front. I’m uncomfortable that a few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Sixers organization told singer Sevyn Streeter that she couldn’t perform the national anthem because she was wearing a “We Matter” jersey.

I’m uncomfortable with All Lives Matter.

_

Zion Olojede, ’18, is the deputy sports editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]

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53 Comments

  1. Going to a “save the rainforest” rally and saying “what about regular forests” isn’t the same. Rainforests don’t get emboldened and think normal forests are racists. Nor do they go out and shoot cops. There is a thing in this country that we are trying to move away from called division. We need to come together as one, but blm refuses to do that. It’s all about them. Also, if black lives really, honestly mattered. Where are the protests against haram? Where’s the protests over the dead black kids in Chicago? Why do we only hear from blm when it’s a black person killed by a white person when blacks are killed by blacks way more often? If black lives really mattered, why aren’t you doing something about it?

  2. “Black lives are undervalued in this country”. Hardly by this country. Statistics say that they are exclusively undervalued by other black lives. All lives matter is not intended to go hand in hand; it’s a rebuke of the idea that black lives matter less in the eyes of the eyes of common society over other lives. This article is affront to all those that seek to look past differences and seek out commonalities; such support of divisiveness is counterproductive too creating a better more unified society.

      • George Soros is founding BLM , a Jewish Nazis collaborator scumbag that has overthrown governments like the Ukraine. BLM is a hate group same as white supremacis gangs like (skinheads) and black power gangs like the (black panther’s). All Americans need to unite and rid our selves of hate. Racism is being used to divide us. Wake up America!!!!

      • Trishia M YbaRRA on

        Last time I checked the person is funding black lies matter was a white man I think he donated 30 million wasn’t it

        • Hungarian Jew. He says in an interview that he doesn’t feel bad about helping the Nazis saying that’s how he survived WWII. George Soros is the very worst kind of person!!!

  3. I’m uncomfortable with BLM. If it would say “Black Lives Matter Too” than that would be a difference. Just BLM is the same as ALM or Blue Lives Matter.
    Don’t say others lives matter too if you don’t have it on your sign like someone should figure it out from this unclear statement. I’m white middle class person also and I’m not racist, just for sample if you say this is green it doesn’t mean it could be red!!! Sorry, mine opinion, maybe you could make a difference just with ‘too’..

  4. If white lives mattered, we wouldn’t say it. Whites are killed by police and no one bats an eye. Whites are killed by non-whites, and the liberal media ignores it. People don’t even know own how common it is. When we say all lives matter it is because our lives don’t, unless they are rich or elite. At least the justice department will investigate yours. Orson can’t be from hate. So much for equality.

    • If we all want equal rights then you can’t take someone else’s rights away in the process. We all have freedom of speech which includes a teechshirt. It didn’t’ have cuss words or threats on it, they didn’t even know each other! You can’t’ tell an audult what to wear or what to believe!

  5. Your ignorance is absolutely astounding and your youthful naiveness shows in volumes. You sound like one of the many paid black lives matter activist/racists.

  6. A more effective model for true change would have been ALL Lives Matter with the ALL in thick black letters. It is a message of unity that people would have emotionally connected too. BLM is a message of separation. I question the intent behind BLM
    Leadership when this is offensive and lies are told and it is ok. There are effective ways to co-opt others and ineffective. It just seems that truly effective change can be done in other ways.

  7. Its somehow great to stand for black pride,latino pride.But if your proud of your white heretage your a racist.wait a minute…is that not racism itself?

    • Heritage is awesome and should be cherished. in order to remember the past and where we came from we must preserve our traditions. White people are so riddled with guilt that they are scared to be proud of there DNA. I will not apologies for being European, we are the most tolerant people in the world. We ended slavery and promoted equality before anybody. In the middle East and Africa slavery is still happening. I will no say I’m sorry for being proud of my heritage! All lives matter!

  8. I think using Black Lives Matter, and using the term African American puts you in the cross hairs for people to look down on you. I am an American, not Greek American. We will never close the racial discrimination by promoting ourselves as being different. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution. I hope and pray that we come to terms with our differences, and understand that being color blind would be a good thing.

    • All lives matter. White people are as racist as everyone else. We’re all the same and have stereotypical and tribal thoughts. Globalists are trying to turn us against each other. Saying USA is inherently racist and a global system is the answer. WRONG! White Christians ended mainstream slavery worldwide. Slavery was started in Africa and ended in USA. Minorities are gullible and believe the white man is out to get them. That’s racist lol but I almost forgot racism can only come from whites. Tell me more about these things only whites are capable of doing… Lol blacks are hunting whites on the streets during these riots. There’s much video evidence. Get informed you lazy haters

  9. We’ll if you need it to be explained to you here it is…the term “black lives matter” insinuates that only black lives matter..it let’s the other races see that black Americans only believe in their own well being as opposed to everyone’s well being. If the struggle and process has been to have equality, you just set it back by this statement of blm. If anyone has a legitimate claim it is the Native Americans …a culture that has been systematicly destroyed the only true Americans ..but you don’t here to much complaining or moaning from them when they really should considering what happened to them. Just saying

  10. This gentleman puts himself out there and gets attacked by most of these commenters who clearly just read the piece on the surface without internalizing and seeing the bigger picture..
    We will clearly be seeing more of this embolden disdain with the election of Donald Trump…
    Sir, stay true to your beliefs and continue to be a voice for millions of Americans who do not have one!!!

  11. If black lives mattered to black people, the leading cause of death among black men wouldn’t be other black men. Maybe if black men weren’t so VASTLY overrepresented in crime stats they wouldn’t be involved in so many police shootings. But I guess crying racism is easier then raising your kids right

  12. You must desist in trying to explain something to people who choose not to understand. This country is full of hatred for people of color and it will never hear your please for justice. For instance 92% of blacks are killed by other blacks but 85% of whites are killed by other whites meaning black on black crime is a deflection away from the fact that you do have racist people killing blacks because their black and those who cover for them instead of admitting the problem are just as guilty. So wait for the day when judgment shall come upon them from all sides and their iniquities shall be punished with outer darkness and utter damnation.

  13. YOU think the person passing you with the saying on his shirt was “uncomfortable”. That was your impression, but maybe you were wrong. And I will never stop saying “all lives matter” because it is a truer statement. You can’t dictate to me what I can or cannot say.

  14. Black lives matters is a joke. You focus on the .0000085% of the black community that were killed by police, and completely ignore the elephant in the room. As a black male, age 18 thru 24, you’re more likely to be murdered by another black male of the same age group. Dang facts, always getting in the way of manufactured outrage.

  15. The thing is, all lives matter. Saying black lives matter is just horrible.. I think of that person as a racist. By looking all over the Media and the internet, it is proving to be true. I’m glad I do not have any BLM friends. The black friends I do have criticize the movement and group heavily.

  16. As an African American myself I wonder why we are not taking to the streets when our own people are harming us then whites. We turn a blind eye when a black man shoots another black man. Seating in our living rooms telling the officer we didn’t hear or see nothing when we know we did. Kids running around like a they lost their mines. Point being, no one is going to place value in the black community until we place value in it. Stop always looking for a handout and help yourselves and your community, Yourself!!! The Chinese were enslaved to the mines when they came through as immigrants and slaughtered when the mine was finished and you don’t hear a peep out of them. Things that make you go hmmm!!

  17. I’m sorry “All Lives Matter” is, on it’s face, offensive to you. It seems to be a trigger point for a lot of people in the BLM movement (or those who simply agree with the movement).

    In the article, you state “This isn’t a war against other races”, and I believe you when you say that. Unfortunately, that is not the way the message has been spread. I have, on many occasions, expressed concerns about how the movement is operating… the methods used to gain attention; HOW the movement makes people uncomfortable. Each time I raise these concerns, I am accused of being racist.

    Somehow, many in the BLM movement equate any criticism, in any form, to racism or oppression. I DO say “all lives matter” in response to these coarse voices. Not because I have some latent aggression, or superiority complex. I say that because the response is so telling.

    With that simple retort (admittedly designed to prompt a response) I am able to start a conversation. That conversation often begins with aggression, but sometimes ends with understanding. Yes, I am a white male living in the South. Yes, I am a staunch conservative. No, I am not racist, in the least.

    I see a few differences between you and me in this article. (I don’t pretend to know you, so this article is all I have to go on). You are proud to be an African-American; I am proud to be an American. You want to surprise people by being “where you’re not supposed to be”; I don’t care what others think. You want to make others feel uncomfortable to affect change; I accept that there are things that will never change.

    I know I seem callus. It is partly by design. You cannot change what is in another man’s heart. If there is hate in there, only he can remove it. Making a hatefull person uncomfortable only gets violence in return. Challenging the hatred in someone’s heart only feeds that hatred. Fighting that hatred directly only drags you down to their level and feeds hatred in you own heart.

    Accept that hateful people exist, and leave them behind. BLM is feeding hatred on both sides right now. Their methods are repugnant, even if their cause is just. BLM is positioning itself to trigger more violence. BLM has shed light on issues that need to be addressed; but, instead of starting a conversation, it seems to be trying to start a war. Let cooler heads prevail. I cannot support BLM when they use such tactics.

  18. “Black Lives Matter” is a phrase that makes my blood boil. It’s racist and rude. Quit trying to fool people, the word black refers to one person not many.

  19. William J Hofmann on

    People use the BLM Sloan directly towards white people in order to fuel violence. Look at the poor white guy who got jumped in a parking garage in Charlotte NC by the same ignorant people chanting BLM they are the racist not us

  20. All lives matter is made in response to those that are racist that use black lives matter in a black superiority sense. When someone says all lives matter it’s to say “you are not superior, we are all equal”. And when the guy was uncomfortable, it’s because those that stand up for all lives matter have been attacked by black people in the past. Not all but some.

    So double standards and ignorance all all sides.

  21. Instead of BLM or WLM Love matter respect for each other. When it all said and done most of us have the same problem BLACK or WHITE

  22. BLM is nothing more than a vigilantly, violent, racist organization. Not much different than the kkk. Their protest incite violence and hate against innocent whites not just police, who they claim are the target of their anger. They continue to perpetuate racism and divide the country instead of saying that police brutality is wrong across the board regardless of race or nationality. So I say ALL LIVES DO MATTER. We cannot allow hate groups to be judge and jury. There are good men and women of all races who are police officers and they don’t deserve to be gunned down in the streets while trying to do their jobs.

  23. I agree we need to give special consideration to assure there is equality in this country but what do you expect when minority communities have the highest crime rates. There is some hope if you look up what one business man did with the high crime area of East Lake Georgia. I am sure this transformation just forced the undesirables to other communities but if it was a nationwide effort it could work and probably at a savings over what we spend now on fighting crime. First we all need to stop pointing fingers at white America as the blame. Slavory wasn’t created by us and it still exists today. What most people forget though is many white Americans lost their lives freeing slaves during the revolution. And forget it was mostly white America that sought to end discrimination practices in the South. Maybe it is finally time for minority and low income communities to work to do some real improvements within their communities instead of just darning a tee shirt and holding up some signs.

  24. BLM Is A Terrorist organization funded by George Soros to divide the country in an attempt to control every part of our lives.

  25. Congratulations on attending such a fine school. For people who rant about black on black crime, it would be smart to understand how the kids get trapped. Google”dispatches from the rap wars”. It’s an article from Chicago magazine and a good read. Getting in a gang is easy, getting out is not.

  26. Quit saying black lives matter and I’ll stop saying all lives matter, I’m not uncomfortable saying all lives matter not one bit, however I am uncomfortable saying black lives matter because they are a racist terrorist movement whos tactics are intimidation and hate, your right about the cancer fundraiser because when we go in we are talking in regards to cancer so when you go to a cancer fundraiser you go and you raise money for ALL CANCERS NOT JUST THE BLACK ONES, so your right we don’t go in there and say what about other diseases we go in and say WHAT ABOUT THESE OTHER CANCERS, in regards to people’s lives and if they matter, if I goto a black lives matter rally that is raising awareness of systemic racism and inequality and injustice, I do go in and say WHAT ABOUT THESE LIVES….. WE ALL ARE OPPRESSED BY THE SYSTEM.. get out of your head….

  27. The black live matter slogan undermines the progress thst Martin Luther King took years to achieve. The Black lives matter group devides black and white. Wouldn’t it be better if color wasn’t a factor.

  28. The emboldened continues with their completely unwanting to accept the reality of racial inequality.
    The appointment of Steve Bannon as a senior advisor on par with the chief of staff is indicative of the true direction of a Trump presidency..
    What is even more alarming is how children in elementary, middle, and high schools, are being abusive to minorities. How does this tie into the BLM movement, when hatred is perpetuated, it must be answered, and the BLM movement is just one form of that answer…
    Instead of refuting BLM, just open your minds to try to study and understand it…

  29. Susan Magaziner on

    From Your Advocate and Civil Rights Complainant of the Racial Harassment Case at Lehigh that was opened after the racial hate crime of 2013 and REMAINS open……I say, ALL Alumni unite in bringing Peace and Resolve to our school.

    I Stay With You. I continue to advocate for BLACK LIVES MATTER, and my heart still breaks.

    Stay Strong.

    In Solidarity,
    Mrs. Susan Cozzie Magaziner, Lehigh 1977, M.A., BCEA

  30. Please search for “Culture of Life”. That applies to all humans.

    We all have an inborn bias for “me”. It takes more effort to identify with the “other”; it is imperative that each of us makes that effort.

  31. Dear Zion Olojede,

    Thank you for this insightful editorial. You probably won’t get a chance to read my comment, because it sits between your text and a lot of ignorance that is best to ignore. In any case, your critique of All Lives Matter is spot on and clearly needs to be repeated in various ways for many years to come. One of the most annoying aspects of a white supremacist culture is that those who benefit from it aren’t aware of how it functions – that’s the way all structures of power operate. Ignorance is the privilege of domination. So, not only to be have to deal with the violence, exclusion, and marginalization essential to white supremacy, but we have to encounter white ignorance on the daily (so clearly on display in this thread). In the end, white folks have the responsibility to combat this white ignorance, white privilege, and white supremacy. We have to call out and combat it at all levels of our society. As educators, we need to make clear the difference between white skin and whiteness, and fight the latter in word and deed.

    Anyone who speaks justly will be resisted by the forces of ignorance and injustice, so I appreciate you putting yourself out there in the cause of justice.

    Sincerely,
    Chad Kautzer
    Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Lehigh University

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