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As minorities, we should be working together to help fight all racism, not pick and choose which battles we want to fight.
Many people talk about why they are inclined to support the All Lives Matter movement over the Black Lives Matter movement without truly knowing the difference between the two.
Sure, the phrase All Lives Matter sounds nice on paper. Because it’s true, every life does matter. But think about it this way. Let’s say Bob Smith is having lunch with seven of his friends. The food comes, but the waiter forgets Bob’s food. Everyone else begins to eat. Bob complains that he is hungry. His friend Susan, who has a full plate of food, turns and stares at Bob, who has no food. Susan says: “We’re ALL hungry, Bob”.
This is why, even disregarding the white supremacist agenda of the All Lives Matter group, the phrase All Lives Matter is fundamentally flawed. In a country where black people are systematically oppressed, where the colour of your skin determines what other people think about you, no lives can matter until black lives matter.
As a first-generation Indian living in America, who has first generation Indian friends that talk about the words of their parents, I have heard harmful and concerning statements. Friends have told me that their parents disagree with the Black Lives Matter movement because it excludes other minority groups like Indians, even stating that the Black Lives Matter movement is disregarding the racism and hardships other minorities have had to go through.
I know of Indian parents that have perpetuated harmful stereotypes about black people being thugs or criminals, and these parents have said that if they simply worked harder, there would be no need for such a movement today.
This is not okay. As minorities, we should be working together to help fight all racism, not pick and choose which battles we want to fight. Indian people are not being excluded by the Black Lives Matter movement. Even as an Indian woman, I will never fear being stopped by the police, because I am not seen as “threatening” or “scary”. I carry that privilege.
As an Indian woman who jogs regularly, I will never have to worry about being chased down while I’m running. I carry that privilege. Because we, as Indian people, have privilege that some black people do not have, we need to fight for them to have that privilege, not tear them down based on old stereotypes that further to the hate circling in the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement is necessary and while yes, Indian people do face racism in the United States, it does not compare to the level of systematic oppression that black people have faced since before the founding of the country.
The police in America was created to catch runaway slaves. It is a system that was built in racism, rooted in oppression against black people. The police system is inherently racist, and we need to realize that in regard to police brutality, we have privilege and it needs to be used. If you have privilege, it needs to be used for good. It is that simple.
If you see someone in the Indian community perpetuating these stereotypes, explain to them that we have a duty to fight for other people of colour. Recommend to them one or all of these books:
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Making of Black Lives Matter by Christopher J. Lebron
They are worth reading. Remember, the fight cannot be won unless we all stand together, all across the world.
Top image of a protest courtesy Pexels
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