Next time you see someone use the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, you'll know what to say.
The movement behind the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter started a couple of years ago.
Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created the hashtag around the time George Zimmerman was being acquitted for the death of Trayvon Martin.
Some people disliked the hashtag and responded with #AllLivesMatter.
No matter the intention of #AllLivesMatter, the hashtag is still a problem.
Yes, all lives do matter — or *should* matter. The sad reality is that not all lives are treated equally or treated as though they matter, as slam poet Sarah O'Neal lays out perfectly.
Racial discrimination happens in the U.S. That is a fact. And it is strongly correlated with heavy policing of black communities. That policing has often ended in the deaths of black lives. But even when black lives are lost...
You've got to ask — when so many unarmed black people have died and their killers have been acquitted, why do so many people get angry when there are protests?
Eric Garner was killed after being placed in a chokehold for allegedly having untaxed cigarettes, and we heard his last words on video.
Michael Brown's dead body was left on the street for four hours after he died. He was shot at least six times.
These are just two of the many black people who have died by police violence whose killers have walked free.
When protestors point out the injustice of this through demonstrations, why do so many people scoff at their reactions? Why do we prioritize our mild annoyance at traffic jams over black lives?
"How many more must there be for you to finally call this a genocide?"
Listen to Sarah O'Neal explain it poetically.
- While chokeholds are not technically *illegal* under New York City law, the NYPD officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold definitely violated the department's policy. Chokeholds were banned by the NYPD in 1993.
- There isn't a clear record of how many black people were lynched specifically by the KKK. However, archives point to 3,446 lynchings of black people from 1882-1968, which spans 86 years. Police officers in the U.S., on the other hand, have caused 1,450 deaths between May 2013 and August 2014 alone. That's 15 months. While we don't know what exact portion of those deaths were black people, ProPublica has calculated that a black teenage boy is 21 times more likely to be shot dead by a police officer than a white teenage boy.
- When Sarah speaks about the widowed mother with six mouths to feed, images from the video show Michael Brown's mother. However, Michael Brown has only three siblings. It is, in fact, Eric Garner's wife who has six mouths to feed: the six children left behind after Eric's death.
- Near the end, Sarah references that a black person is killed every 28 hours. This is most likely a reference to the purported claim that every 28 hours, a black man is killed by a police officer. That claim is based on a very limited study that doesn't stand on two legs.