The ‘Black Lives Matter Movement is a political and social movement around America and Eurasia that protests the racially motivated violence and killing of black people by law enforcement agencies. It particularly gained a lot of momentum after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American male outside a shop in Minneapolis.
But as honest and as ‘justice for the black man-driven as the slogan might seem, it is often criticized for being racially biased and turning a blind eye to other forms of police violence and killings of other so-called privileged races.
History of Black Lives Matter Movement
The slogan Black Lives Matter -hashtag BlackLivesMatter- first surfaced in 2013 in an attempt to protest the release of George Zimmerman after he shot dead an African American kid. In 2014, the movement gained national recognition after widespread demonstrations following the police killing of two blacks—Micheal Brown and Eric Garner.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has also been driven by other racial prejudiced killings such as the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, and Jerame Reid, among other hundred cases of police brutality that have not been fully recognized
In 2013, a group of activists and black community organizers Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi founded the Black Lives Matter Network. This was an online community where ideas, values, and principles are shared amongst activists.
In 2015, a group of activists DeRay McKesson, Johnetta Elzie, Samuel Sinyangwe, and Brittany Packnett in a bid to find legislative solutions to end police brutality launched Campaign Zero, aimed at promoting policy reforms to end police brutality.
From then till now, they have led street demonstrations throughout the countries protesting against police violence against African Americans.
The slogan has however come under scrutiny and criticism. With a good number of critics arguing that the slogan excluded other races.
The Czech Republic President, Milos Zeman had called the Black Lives Matter Movement Racist. This came just 11 days after the European parliamentary backed the movement and urged its member states to follow suit.
Speaking on American Independence day in Prague, President Milos said, “I say that the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a racist slogan because all lives matter”. The President critical of the movement blamed “stupid fellows who declare themselves value leaders, or even opinion leaders” for its insurrection.
Furthermore, a lot of folks claim that while they oppose racism they do not necessarily support the movement. A notable example includes Tyrone Ming’s an African-English defender who stated that “It’s never been about supporting Black Lives Matter as an organization.” That was a cheap argument that people threw at the movement.
Some critiques argue that this honest movement has been hijacked by those with ulterior motives. The renowned neurosurgeon and former US secretary of housing and developments Ben Carson stated that “people with noble aims had been taken advantage of by a Marxist-driven organization that supports taking down the model of Western family structures”.
“All Lives Matter”
The “All Lives Matter” campaign was launched in response to “Black Lives Matter”. This is because the first time the slogan was fronted, some critics interpreted it as being divisive and capable of heightening already existing racial tensions. This new slogan was used by Former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to criticize the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Australian Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has also used the ” All Lives Matters” to slam the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The brusque picture the slogan “All Lives Matter” movement tries to paint of BLM is one where the lives of people of other races are overlooked.
But that is false, the Black Lives Matter simply tries to highlight the systematic racial prejudices the black man has suffered in the modern and the slavery eras. These are prejudices that have gone unanswered for way too long, and the movement aims to bring this issue to the fore. The “All Lives Matter” is an attempt to play down the racial inequalities the average black man is plagued with.
A new slogan: “Black Lives Matter Also”
In essence, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” allows some racist elements to describe the BLM movement as racist because it only caters to the ills against the black folks rather than protesting for a wholesome change in the faulty police system.
The effect of the poor branding might not be so significant or felt at the time being, but down the road, there is every risk that it will breed mistrust, division, hysteria between blacks and other race factions.
As such we must get things right from the get-go. The message the slogan aims to send should be crystal-clear, direct while accommodating the fact the police brutality could be against anyone no matter the color of their skin. For this purpose, the new slogan ‘Black Lives Matter Also” would fit nicely.
The prospective new slogan work in a way that eases the ethno-racial tension that may come up, while advocating justice and equality for the black man.
The road to racial equality and fairness is indeed a long one. We must get things right from the start and remove elements that might complicate this honest movement in the long run.
One of the places where reforms should be considered is the slogan itself. Reason being that the slogan can easily be taken out of context or worse twisted to depict something darker. A new slogan “Black Lives Matter Also” will hit home the point that we stand in solidarity against all and any forms of police brutality on anyone, the blacks included.