All Lives Matter or Black Lives Matter?

Women holding Black Lives Matter Sign.Photo by Tony Webster. Courtesy of WikiMedia.
Women holding Black Lives Matter Sign. Photo by Tony Webster. Courtesy of WikiMedia.

All Lives Matter or Black Lives Matter?

This is a question as old as time. How old? Possibly going back to the Civil War old.

The United States has been plagued by systematic racism for decades plunging this country into a great divide. This year’s election has greatly divided us also. But we’re not here to talk about the election.

We’re talking about the recent events that have been happening in the United States between black people (or other people of color) and law enforcement. But it couldn’t possibly be recently if it’s been happening for about 200 years in this country. The tension between black citizens and law enforcement has risen and so have protests.

Since the death of Trayvon Martin, there has been constant debate on and off social media on whose lives matter and I’ve witnessed some of them. And there’s no gray area between those two statements on whose life really matters.

Think about it.

We have come to no solution on this matter of racism and the proof is in the media. African-Americans have endured so much: from being ripped away from their home country and practically becoming footstools to Caucasians, to being forced to sit in the back of the bus; from being forced to sit in the back of the bus to being racially profiled as a thug and shot dead in the middle of the street.

Choked to death, sent to jail and “committed suicide”, stopping and asking for assistance after your car broke down?

Do these sound familiar?

Could you put a face to these issues and tell me who were these victims and what race they were?

Could you?

Of course you couldn’t. Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Terence Crutcher: all African-Americans who were doing harmless things (Eric Garner was actually doing an illegal activity but resisted arrest: but must you rob him away of his oxygen?) but were killed mercilessly and/or in the police’s “self defense”. These deaths have made headlines and the list of victims just keeps getting longer and longer as the days go by.

So what do I think? As a girl who’s been raised in the Christian faith, I believe that no one should be killed by anyone for any reason at all. I believe that peace can be achieved if we all work together as one big community. Riots, killing police, almost overthrowing the government? This is not our country working together to stop these violent protests. But black lives need to stop being taken away. These are fathers and mothers police are taking away, and they are not being paid for it.

Black Lives Matter banner. Photo courtesy of WikiMedia.
Black Lives Matter banner. Photo courtesy of WikiMedia.

Black lives have always mattered. There’s no historical background to All Lives Matter except probably for 9/11. Other than that, I don’t see any white people fearing for their lives unless they have any black relatives. Men and women, old and young, straight or not: black lives truly, honestly have truly mattered. There’s no question about it.

According to the Huffington Post, as of September of 2016, 780 people have died from fatal law enforcement encounters. 193 of those people (roughly 25%) are black. That’s about 200 US citizens being taken away from their children or their parents. The constant racial profiling is taking away lives, ripping this country apart.

Even some of your favorite celebrities are protesting through their art. Such as Beyonce with her recent visual album “Lemonade,” Kendrick Lamar with his mixtape untitled unmastered. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has also made headlines by refusing to/taking a knee during the national anthem during 2016 preseason, and other sport teams—local and state teams—have followed.

There voices are being heard, but that isn't enough.

There needs to be a solution to this problem that lasted for more than 200 years. There's no such thing as All Lives Matter if black men, women and children are the common denominator in this nation’s racial issue.

Black Lives Matter. Black lives have always, and will always matter. As long as we work together to come together and peace and find a solution, we can all join hands like Martin Luther King said. And it's obviously clear, we can all hold hands if we trust and love each other.

Makesha Mercedat

Makesha Mercedat is a senior at Malden High School and a returning member of the Blue and Gold. She joined the class because she wishes to become a journalist, as well as a writer and filmmaker. You’ll probably find her with a book in her hand or in front of a screen watching some of her favorite movies such as Back to the Future (all 3 movies), all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and When Harry Met Sally. She enjoys listening to all kinds of music but mostly enjoys rap and alternative rock, which she knows are two extremely distinctive styles but enjoys them anyway. She’s part of the choir, play production and the speech and debate team here at Malden High School. Furthermore, she will miss every one of her friends and teachers that made her experience here at the high school a great one.

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