Lately, I've heard the term "All Lives Matter" in response to the "#Black Lives Matter" movement. This saying is stronger than ever after five police officers were killed in Dallas at a protest. To be sure, all lives do matter--no one is saying they don't. People say black lives matter not because all lives don't matter, because what happened in Dallas is horrible too. The black lives matter movement is a specific issue about systemic abuse of authority towards a certain race.
I understand Alton Sterling had a gun. He did not deserve to die. I understand that the Dallas police officers may or may not have been a part of a culture that targets a specific race. They did not deserve to die either. And in my opinion, filming Philando Castile's death was not tacky. It was the quick-thinking of his girlfriend who recognized what was happening--as it has happened many times before--and wanted video evidence.
Black people are scared of police officers, with every right to be. The issue arises when police officers are scared of black people. Now, I want to acknowledge the police officers that protect and serve, and have lost their lives doing their job. Innocent deaths on either side--whether you are a black civilian or a white police officer--are tragic .
Drawing Battle Lines.
I can't imagine the bravery it takes to be a police officer. I also cannot imagine the fear black people must experience knowing that statistically, they are not going to be taken as seriously as white people. That's where the problem occurs: the polarization of us versus them is what is escalating the violence. As a white person, I want to do my part and stand with the victims of these horrible tragedies. I can sympathize with the fallen police officers, but I can also still stand with the voices who some people are desperately trying to silence.
It doesn't have to be either/or. We can come together as one. Even police officers can join the movement. There is a culture of violence, and it needs to change. I think we can all agree on that.