When there was Me Too, there was Men Too, not to forget #NotAllMen when women spoke up about sexual assault, and when Black people all around screamed that ‘Black Lives Matter’, an ignorant ‘All Lives Matter’ came as the prompt reply. Every social, civil and political movement begins with a hashtag, and is always aggressively contested with an opposing hashtag, a counter movement.
Over the past week, George Floyd has become a household name around the globe, and people, celebrities and organisations all around the world have raised their voices, protesting on the streets and on social media, against police brutality and racism. On May 25, 46-year-old African-American George Floyd was brutally killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin. Video footage showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes as Floyd pleaded, calling out to his mother, and saying his final words that have now become synonymous with the current Black Lives Matter protests, “I can’t breathe.”
Celebrities, both from Hollywood and Bollywood, including Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Meghan Markle, Halsey, Jamie Foxx, Dwayne Johnson, Karan Johar, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor have also showed their solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. Either by taking to the streets and joining the protests, or writing messages and posts showing support for the movement on their social media.
Several social media users called out Priyanka, Sonam, Deepika among others for being hypocritical as on one hand they promote skin lightening creams and fairness products and on the other they show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. However, it was Abhay Deol’s post on Instagram that really struck a chord.
The What Are The Odds actor posted a photo with three hashtags written in plain ink, “#migrantlivesmatter #minoritylivesmatter #poorlivesmatter”, and captioned it, “Maybe it’s time for these now? Now that “woke” indian celebrities and the middle class stand in solidarity with fighting systemic racism in America, perhaps they’d see how it manifests in their own backyard? America has exported violence to the world, they have made it a more dangerous place, it was but inevitable that it would come back karmically. I’m not saying they deserve it, I’m saying look at the picture in it’s totality. I’m saying support them by calling out the systemic problems in your own country, because they turn out to be one and the same thing. I’m saying follow their lead but not their actions. Create your own actions, your own movement, relevant to your own country. That is what the black lives matter movement is all about! In the larger picture, there is no “us” and “them”. There is not a country that’s real. But a planet in peril. #migrantlivesmatter #minoritylivesmatter #poorlivesmatter. Black Lives Matter (find out why not to use the hashtag and still support the movement).
All Lives Matter
Sara Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and most recently, Tamannaah Bhatia were at the receiving end of some serious flak for taking to their social media accounts and posting about ‘All Lives Matter’. However, Black rights activists have forever contested how the statement “All lives matter” completely takes away from the Black Lives Matter movement. The BLM movement is not contesting that Black lives matter more than other lives, it is simply saying that in the present scenario Black lives are relatively undervalued as compared to that of others, and that they matter too. Yes, ‘Black Lives Matter, too.”
While Sara put up the above post with praying hands as the caption, she quickly took it down when social media users started to correct her about why saying ‘All Lives Matter’ was both ignorant and insensitive. However, it seems Baahubali actor, Tamannah Bhatia did not receive the memo and she posted a picture of herself with a black hand print covering her mouth, captioning the photos, “Your silence will not protect you. Doesn’t every life matter, human or animal? Muting any form of creation is against the universal law. We must unlearn and learn to be human again, express compassion and practice love. #AllLivesMatter #WakeUpWorld”
Social media users did not take kindly to Tamannaah’s post. And one user even wrote, “There are a couple of things I want to point out to you miss Bhatia: DO NOT use black lives matter as an aesthetic; nobody ever said ONLY black lives matter, but all lives can’t matter unless you treat black people equally; speak on up racial equality the day bollywood doesn’t promote fair & lovely and ponds white beauty anymore. Speak out against your peers when they promote such products that have had an incredibly degrading and depressing effect on millions of Indian girls who are made to believe their skin colour isn’t perfect.”
Yes, all lives matter, human and animal alike. But underplaying the suffering of an entire race by ignoring their plight proves that their lives do not matter in this warped reality. That people are completely misunderstanding the statement, nobody said that Black lives matter more than other lives, they matter too.
The purpose of the movement is to highlight that presently the situation and lives of Black people are undervalued, that Black people are arrested, convicted and killed by police more than white people, that they do not feel safe, and hopes to bring an end to this.
But if that is still hard to understand, here are some social media posts that will help you understand why All Lives Matter completely rebukes the Black Lives Matter movement.
A Reddit user explains “Why is it so controversial when someone says “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter”?”
All houses matter
All Plates Matter
A simple explainer
— jite (@JlTEAGEGE) July 7, 2016
Would you crash a funeral and say ‘I too have felt loss’?
— Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) November 27, 2014
Or say ‘All Diseases Matter’ at a fundraiser for a disease?
— Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) November 27, 2014
Law professor’s response to BLM shirt complaint. Read about the whole episode here.
A Unitarian Universalist minister’s explanation to a church member
Read all about it here.
A Black Lives Matter painting is seen on 16th street near the White House as protests against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, continue in Washington, U.S. June 5, 2020. Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Friday that the section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza” in defiance of President Trump.
To put it simply, imagine getting into a car accident and rushing to the emergency room as you are losing blood, only to be turned away for someone with a broken thumb and the statement, “All lives matter.” Yes, but an internal injury could kill you, a broken thumb? Not so much.