The #blacklivesmatter and the #alllivesmatter movements are two of the biggest American controversies occurring right now. Depending on where you are from, you probably have heard of the Orlando shooting (not race-related but definitely , the terrible murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the cops from Dallas, and most recently the bailiffs from Michigan. These aren’t new incidents, either. More and more videos of African-Americans suffering from police brutality are going viral by the hundreds, the thousands, and it’s not stopping. I was very quiet about these tragedies and the protests since I didn’t want to get into any drama. But as I heard my family and friends discussing the horrible news going on, it never felt right to remain silent. It wasn’t until later when I decided to educate myself on the issues at hand and see what everybody was up to.
I agree that yes, all lives do matter. As a heterosexually-straight-as-a-board female Asian-American Buddhist who has just turned 18 years-old last year, I deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect as anybody of a different sexual preference, gender, race, religion, social class, etc., at least in legal terms. Obviously, our society wants to establish peace and equality. Why is it that we see all of these innocent lives being decimated so rapidly and so many other individuals killed by people who are supposed to protect us and keep everything in order? I’m not going to say that these Caucasian white individuals are just butthurt from the #blacklivesmatter movement because they shouldn’t feel bad for something their ancestors did more than seventy years ago, and I know a lot of white people would definitely support #blacklivesmatter. But here’s the thing: I find that this hashtag #alllivesmatter is basically like reminding a group of people at a funeral that there are starving children in Africa. I won’t go into much detail but in short, the #alllivesmatter movement is all talk and doesn’t so anything to change the problem. I think this Reddit link did a very good job at breaking down the whole argument against #alllivesmatter in a very precise and well-written manner.
After days of research along with connecting everything I read to what I’ve learned prior to these incidents, I reached a solution that might fall towards a more unpopular spectrum. No, it doesn’t involve building a giant wall, but it also doesn’t involve banning guns. I hate talking about politics because the conversations just end up in a big whirlwind of a mess, but I’m a strong independent with a lot more liberal beliefs. Throughout the election, I’ve been supporting Bernie Sanders as much as I possibly could, but now that it’s pretty much down to Clinton and Trump, I honestly don’t know who to vote for, which is pretty dangerous because both parties are fully relying on my kind of voters for the big win. So that is my stance on the current political situation in America, but what is my solution to these ___livesmatter movements, might you ask? My philosophy is that the tragedies that we face in our society doesn’t start with the law. It starts with us. Culture. Education. Interaction.
Think about it: the most revolutionary historical events up to date were almost always started by ordinary citizens. The civil rights movement that consisted mostly of protests by African-American racial justice organizations won them the rights of equality that they long deserved. Same with other immigrants and those of the LGBT community. These events have proven that the power is all in the people. To make my point more concise: depending on what we know and how we live out our lives, we can influence so many others.
No matter how many times our president will advocate for something that the people want, it will never happen if we as a people are too uninformed about everything going on in our society to actually make a difference. Why is it that we know consumerist commercials by heart, the name of every single Kardashian plus who they’re dating, and who tweeted what, rather than more about what’s causing global warming, national poverty, bee endangerment and our major health problems? It’s because we choose to expose ourselves to these subjects and we don’t go out of our way to become more educated about what’s important.
To a degree, the media does shove the wrong information in our faces. There are so many stories about murder, robbery, police brutality, racism, rape, environmental destruction and so many more injustices that are so broadly scaled, yet most of what is shown to us involve who just came out of the closet, who body-shamed who, who’s dating Taylor Swift next, which company dominates all, yadda yadda. But what we need to know is already out there at our disposal–the Internet provides instructions on how to support local farmers and grow a garden. Food labels in grocery stores reveal the dangerous aims of our corporations. Homeless people on the streets can tell you about poverty in America. Traffic on the freeway already shows how excessively we rely on fossil-fuel burning machines. By the way, I’m not saying that some of the issues that are shown to the public don’t matter. I am simply saying that there is a lot more vitally important information that is not exposed widely enough to the mass public. It’s why the mass public is unaware of a lot of worldwide problems besides global warming and world hunger that we use to lessen the scale of our own issues.
I know that a lot of us are also really scared for our future. I’ll be honest–so am I. The worry about who our future president will be makes my stomach churn and the idea of millions of animal species going extinct along with the loss of our ozone layer nauseate me. But understand that you ultimately have a limited spectrum of things you can control. You can control what you do, what you value and how you carry about your life. So be what you choose for society, whether it be kindness, drive, ambition and courage. If you choose to be anxious, then your friends and family will also adapt to that same jittery energy, and that energy will extend to their other friends, coworkers, and extended family members and so forth. If you choose to be peaceful, then the same will happen. Educate yourself about everything that is important, even if it hurts and if it’s uncomfortable. Choose the light that you want to radiate towards the world wisely. Be kind. Eat healthily. Share kindness. Express gratitude.
What are your thoughts on #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter? What do you choose to be for our society?