How “Black Lives Matter” Can Be Misunderstood

America’s desperate struggle to achieve equality throughout history has been manifested into hundreds of riots and protests across the nation. Violent, sometimes, and peaceful for the majority. The death of George Floyd stood as the last straw for African American citizens. These riots have both helped and hindered the Black Lives Matter movement by bringing it positive and negative attention. Not only did it abruptly shake American everyday life, but it also created a mass amount of unity. Not only was a large amount of Generation Z, celebrities, witches, and other unorthodox groups. This grew to the point where two famously opposed gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, put aside their differences to stand for the lives of black America. It is not far fetched to say that this movement will, hopefully, change American society for the better. On the other side of the scale, other that side with law enforcement has come to reject the idea of this movement, claiming “All lives matter” or “Blue lives matter.”

These statements are nowhere near inherently wrong. The only problem with these two statements is that they discredit and undermine the struggles and injustices that Americans of color struggle with every day. The Black Lives Matter Movement was created and brought to light because this specific issue is most important. It is not to say that all lives don’t matter or that the lives of officers don’t matter, it is to cry for justice from people of color whose lives have not been treated like they matter.

For example, imagine a car on the side of the road. It’s badly crashed, burning, with a family inside. The ambulances and firefighter rush to that car first to make sure that everyone inside is alive.

Then, from behind, someone exclaims, “But, what about my car?”

The paramedics ask what is wrong with the car. 

The person responds with, “Nothing! But doesn’t my car matter too?” 

Although this example may seem extreme, it is one that shows how it comes across as discrediting the movement created specifically to catalyst the equality of people of color. As Americans, it must be understood that not all situations are the same. Yes, of course, all lives matter. The ones in the most danger, though, are the ones being fought for in the protests. As a white person, I can not and will not ever understand the hardships and differences there are between a black person and me. I can know, though, that I can’t understand. I can see my social advantages to fight for the equality of my fellow American people. I can sign petitions, donate, and show my support for the struggling community.