To be honest, I am extremely tired of writing about why black lives should mean something to the rest of the world. I should not have to argue that I have the right to be alive.
There have been two more black men killed in the past week, and in the same breadth a column was published on CNN arguing the Black Lives Matter movement is only about American black lives.
Before I get into the fallacy of Vava Tampa’s column, I would like to stress, once again, all lives are important. black lives, white lives, Hispanic, Asian and all other ethnicities and demographics are included in the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” By asserting that the lowest common denominator in society is important, everyone else’s value is affirmed.
Thanks to European colonialism’s concept of race, black people are victims in society everywhere—not just in America. So when Tampa begins his argument by stating, “When people say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ what they really mean is that Black American Lives Matter,” I can’t help but roll my eyes.
The Black Lives Matter group was started in America on American soil. Since it began in America, obviously the group’s focus would be on what is happening in its immediate area, first and foremost.
Yes, black people are being slaughtered in Congo, Brazil and across the world, but how will Americans help them if we cannot help ourselves?
To argue the Black Lives Matter movement does not care about black lives in other countries is asinine at best. People tend to care more about things in their immediacy because the impact will be greater on their lives.
I’m not worried about being raped in Congo because I do not live there. I am worried I will be pulled over by the wrong cop, on the wrong day and ending up as another dead black American.
That may seem like a selfish assertion and in part it is, but if a cop in America kills me, how will I help black lives in places like Africa and Brazil?
Of course, black lives in other countries are important—no one person involved in Black Lives Matter has said that they are not. If anything, those proactive in social justice will be more concerned about the social injustice in other countries, but are preoccupied trying to mend things at home.
The Black Lives Matter group has been fragmented since its inception, with members in cities all over the United States fighting for change within their own communities. Because the organization uses a localized, grass-roots approach to protest, it is up to local branches to call for change overseas—and they have been doing just that.
For many Americans, Black Lives Matter protests are not out of moral outrage as Tampa would argue, but they are personal demonstrations for fear of our friends and family being hung next on the hanging tree.
All lives matter in every nook and cranny of the world. For Tampa to reason that Americans do not care about other countries is an overgeneralization and is extremely unfair.
Everyone has the right to live.
-Mikala Everett is a mass communications junior