At the moment, the United States seems to be fragmented by opinions from biased individuals who believe they’re neutral and objective.
With the revolutionary hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and responding hashtags such as #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter, everyone has an opinion on police brutality, and the rising death in the African American community. With those opinions comes blame.
There are also people who don’t seem to understand Black Lives Matter in its entirety.
And it’s not just your “average” white American who doesn’t understand the need for Black lives to stop being lost — there are people of all races who don’t understand the movement. This large population of people responded to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with one of their own: #AllLivesMatter. Another segment of folks created a third, #BlueLivesMatter, in favor of police.
Lots of people will argue that #AllLivesMatter, and I get it. #AllLivesMatter holds that everyone is of equal importance — yes, all lives do matter…in a utopian society — but here’s the big problem with #AllLivesMatter…right now, all lives aren’t mattering, or we wouldn’t need a #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Blacks are being killed by police with impunity.
#AllLivesMatter holds that everyone is of equal importance — yes, all lives do matter…in a utopian society — but here’s the big problem with #AllLivesMatter…right now, all lives aren’t mattering, or we wouldn’t need a #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
#AllLivesMatter is Black erasure, and an attempt to silence the problems Black people have been suffering from for decades. #AllLivesMatter translates to “This happens all the time, so you’re not that important. Get over it.” It discredits Black Lives Matter because they focus on Black bodies — well, someone has to! Because the #AllLivesMatter coalition sure hasn’t. It seems to me that most people are confused why the focus is on Black lives.
Well, here’s why.
Historically, Black people have been suffering from systematic racism and oppression for centuries. The deaths of Blacks at the hands of killers who receive little to no punishment is nothing new. It’s that now people are tired of it, fed up, and rising up. The Black community is advocating on behalf of themselves — and they have to — because no one else has been, and because they want to see root change in the justice system that has let down their community. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
They don’t want to see fear of their skin color be the reason why their son/daughter/father/mother/etc. won’t be able to sit at the dinner table with them anymore.
I’ve seen #AllLivesMatter being used an escape route for those who are in the limelight, i.e. celebrities and politicians, when asked about their opinion on the recent traumatic events on the Black community. Some even go further, using Muslims as an example of another group suffering and under attack in the United States. It becomes the oppression Olympics.
As a Black Muslim, this resonates negatively with me.
Using the Islamophobia to distract from the violence happening in the Black community is wrong. These people are basically telling me that they are blind to the struggle I go through as a Black individual, but support me and stand beside me in the struggle I face because of my Muslim identity.
It doesn’t seen right to me. Why are they picking and choosing groups to stand in solidarity with when allegedly, ALL LIVES MATTER to them?
There’s also this erroneous assumption that both communities — Black and Muslim — are mutually exclusive, which shows when #AllLivesMatter uses other minorities to undermine Black struggle.
It is assumed that a typical Black person isn’t Muslim, and a typical Muslim isn’t Black, so our struggle — the struggle of Black Muslims — is not only erased, but also somewhat non-existent to society.
Black people and Muslims are seen as two separate groups that can’t come together. They seem to not know that my identity as both a Black person and as a Muslim exist within both communities.
It’s a metaphorical slap to my face — and millions of other Black Muslims living in not only the U.S., but around the world — as they watch the U.S. crack from within. Millions of Black Muslims besides myself suffer from both anti-Blackness and Islamophobia, but you’ll feel sorry about me suffering from the latter, and not the former.
Really, it’s disgusting.
If all lives mattered like some of you have suggested, then those in favor of #AllLivesMatter would at least agree to the fundamental principals of Black Lives Matter, as it helps to fight against police brutality within the Black community. It helps to create change for a specific group of people, who desperately need that change.
Just because it’s targeting a specific community doesn’t mean that others aren’t important as well. In order to create change, it’s better to have a clear goals to tackle injustices, instead of having a broad and vague thesis that includes people who may not need inclusion just for the sake of saying they’re included.
Being neutral is said to be the same as siding with the oppressor, so saying #AllLivesMatter doesn’t do anything to heal the Black community; it just makes things worse.
Written by Sara Abdullahi
Join the conversation.
We’ll be having our very on town hall on Black Lives Matter, and why it’s important via Facebook Live this Sunday, July 17, at 8 pm EST. We’ll be taking your questions. Tweet them to us @muslimgirl, leave them in our Instagram comments, or on our Facebook wall, using the hashtag #BLMLive.
Catch it this Sunday, July 17th, at 8 pm EST, only on facebook.com/muslimgirlarmy.