By Sarah Brill, Science and Technology Editor
To say “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) is a joke or a term that should not be used — I would beg to differ. Upon my daily scroll through social media, I happened upon one of the most perfect descriptions of BLM. The post had three separate photos: one with white hands higher than colored hands, one with equal level hands, and one with colored hands higher than white hands. Can you picture that? There is a common misconception illustrated in the third picture — if Black lives matter, then all of the white hands will be beneath them. That is inaccurate and a dangerous misconception as it could create a false notion of the BLM movement. The accurate depiction of this picture (and in reality) is that at the moment, white hands are above Black hands, but the hope is one day they will be at equal level. That is what BLM is all about.
The phrase “Black lives matter” is the name of the movement, yet it is much more than that. Black lives matter is a notion and a logical concept that Black lives actually matter. This phrase is used in response to the actions of law enforcement officers, as their actions treat Black lives as something that can be tossed around. In an article I wrote this summer, I outlined the systemic racism within our law enforcement system. Factually speaking, Black men are five times more likely to be stopped by cops than white people (44% vs. 9%), this is based only on skin color. Being stopped by cops isn’t the only problem in the law enforcement system. Black unarmed men, in particular, are being killed by the hands of cops. Law enforcement isn’t the only one branch suffering from systemic racism. Government officials have normalized the murder innocent Black people, and in response, our country has turned a blind eye to their pleas of help.
Have you ever walked down the street in Manhattan, seen a Black man, and unconsciously steered clear of them? That is because years of systemic racism and constant media attention aimed at the Black community have made it normal for us to think that the Black “suspicious looking” person is the one who is dangerous. It is a no-brainer that Black people are racially profiled on a daily basis, and it is the job of the BLM movement to reconstruct society’s conception of them.
One of the most harmful notions to put online is that if Black lives matter, then everyone else’s lives don’t matter as much. That is definitely not the case. People respond to the phrase “Black lives matter” by stating that “all lives matter.” Well, black lives are encompassed within all lives, so those people are right, yet since Black lives are not treated as though they matter, these people should be backing Black lives with their logic that all lives matter. One great explanation of BLM is as follows: You and your neighbor are standing on your lawns. Suddenly your house catches on fire and the fireman comes to put it out. All of the sudden, your neighbor yells to the fireman, “What about my house?” The fireman turns around and asks, “What about it?” Your neighbor says, “Well my house matters too!” The fireman responds by saying, “Well yes your house matters, all of the houses matter, but this one is on fire! So I am going to tend to this one.” Black lives are at risk on a daily basis. They are constantly mistreated and undermined, and it is important to support them and be their ally until they are treated the same as any other lighter-skinned person.
Black lives matter because they do. If you say they don’t, you are saying innocent human lives do not matter. So, Black lives matter.