Amid the countless articles and Op-Eds that have been written to forward the cause of #BlackLivesMatter, a perilous phrase — sometimes used by people who appear to be acting with good intentions — jolted into awareness: “All lives matter”. Of course, the latter is a fact that shouldn’t even need to be said.
And you should stop saying it, especially in response to systemic racism and discrimination not just in the US where the nation is currently gripped by the all-too-familiar tragedy of George Floyd who died in the cruel hands of the police but anywhere else too, including our home soil. Because claiming “all lives matter” is just suggesting that all people are in equal danger, invalidating the specific concerns of the marginalised and the oppressed.
“Black Lives Matter” is a chant that states the obvious but has not yet been historically realised. Because we missed the fact that black people have not yet been included in the idea of “all lives”.
In an apt analogy, Allen Kwabena Frimpong, organiser for the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter said, “You’re watering the house that’s not burning, but you’re choosing to leave the house that’s burning unattended. It’s irresponsible.”
While some of us may never understand the racial vulnerability suffered by the black community — or the fact that why a person sleeping on the couch, walking, jogging, running or even just shopping for a pack of cigarettes and clearly brandishing no gun or posing any sort of threat had his/her life brutally extinguished — we need to, with humility, learn history of racism that persists in the everyday vicissitudes of the present.
It is no longer just up to individuals to fight the fight. Major companies are taking to their influential social platforms to demonstrate solidarity with frontliners. Brands are stepping up by sharing useful information and donating funds to NGOs and social enterprises that support anti-racism causes. Here are just a few labels that are doing just that: