Writer: Gabrielle Poole
Editor: Laila Michel, Tonwaan Apiratikiat
Graphic Designer: Anza Bintoro
Racism has plagued the globe for centuries, but since the beginning, there have been movements with efforts to end it. One of these more recent movements is the Black Lives Matter movement, a campaign aiming to abolish systemic racism and end police brutality against Black people. Unfortunately, certain parties view the cause as degrading and unfair to those who aren’t black. They believe that Black Lives Matter is simply a campaign that believes Black lives are superior to other races. This misinformation has sparked counter-movements, like All Lives Matter and White Lives Matter.
Fundamentally, White Lives Matter was created in response to the protests in early 2015. The phrase was a retort to protesters who were against police brutality that disproportionately affects African Americans. Since 2015, white supremacists in several states, like the Texas-based supremacist group Aryan Renaissance Society, have trademarked the slogan “White Lives Matter.” They waved flyers, protested, and formed a loose campaign to make the phrase popular. In 2016, other white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan were also using the derogatory slogan. Soon after, it became a motto amongst these extremist groups and has since always stuck.
White Lives Matter is a problematic campaign and completely misses the point of the perspective they disagree with. BLM was not created to degenerate the worth of other races, it was created to highlight a specific problem of injustice. Supporters only ask for the bare minimum of human decency: regard Black lives as lives of importance in a world that demonstrates day in and day out that they are not. The slogan doesn’t even ask for equality, it merely asks to matter.
White Lives Matter is a slogan that demonstrates the fundamental misunderstanding of the struggles that Black people are experiencing. First, “All Lives Matter” and “White Lives Matter” were born in response to “Black Lives Matter,” a social movement in response to racism and violence that has been perpetrated against Black people throughout history. When the phrase first gained popularity, many people mistook it as an attempt to exclude others and despised the campaign altogether. However, Dr Ali Meghiki explains, “By saying Black Lives Matter, you are not saying that other lives don’t matter...you are bringing attention to the way that black people across the world are denied certain human rights by virtue of being black.” In other words, by saying “White Lives Matter,” you are disregarding the racism that Black people experience globally.
Lifestyle blogger Ayana Lage brings up excellent points regarding the situation. She states, “No one’s saying that your life doesn’t matter. What we’re saying is… all lives can’t matter until black lives matter.” Initially one of the biggest problems with White Lives Matter is that it diminishes the meaning of Black Lives Matter.