Whose Life Matters?
Updated: May 23
It is fair to say that we can determine how much a person’s life matters based on how much media attention and public outrage there is when that life is lost. The organization, Black Lives Matter, was created and named because the founders of the organization believed that in our society black lives didn’t matter, that when a black person was killed, nobody cared, there was no media attention, no public outrage. And that apathy displayed by the public, the media and the politicians, was proof that black lives, in our country, did not matter.
Almost twice as many white people are killed by police officers than black people every year. We know the names of Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, Anthony Smith, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other black people who have been killed by the police. All of those killings became national news stories, and some even created national movements. George Floyd had one funeral and two memorial services – former Presidents and celebrities showed up to acknowledge the tragedy of his passing. BLM rioted for five straight months, supported by celebrities and politicians, to express their outrage over his death. Can anyone name the name of one white person who was killed at the hands of police officers in the last 10 years? Ever? Did any of those people’s deaths become a national news story? None of those killings created a protest, or even solicited a single comment from the President or any politician. If society believed that white lives mattered more than black lives, there would be more media attention and more political activism for a white person being killed by police than a black person, but you never hear a word about the deaths of white people at the hands of police. Those people’s deaths simply go unnoticed, as if they don’t matter.
Compare the media attention given to the racially motivated mass shooting of black people in Buffalo, to the racially motivated Christmas parade massacre of white people in Kenosha Wisconsin. There has been exponentially more media attention given to the killings in Buffalo than the killings in Kenosha. President Biden visited Buffalo, gave a speech about the shootings, and talked in length about the racial motivation of the shooting, while he merely released a generic statement about the massacre in Kenosha, ignored the racial component of the killings, and has not said another word about it. Celebrities, athletes, commissioners of sports leagues have all visited and made public comments about the Buffalo shooting, but very little was said or done by any of those people about the Kenosha massacre. Why? Most of the people killed in the Buffalo shooting were black, while all of the people killed in Kenosha were white. Who lives matter again? The people whose deaths are covered for a day and ignored, or the people whose deaths get national news attention for weeks on end, public statements of outrage by celebrities, and visits from the President of United States?
I do agree to a certain extent with Black Lives Matter because in our country, many black lives do not matter because their deaths go completely unnoticed. Over six thousand black people are killed every year whose deaths are completely ignored, and our political leaders do not take any action to prevent them. Black on black violence and murder does not solicit one word from our political leaders, from activists, from our media, from celebrities. It is by far the biggest threat and killer of the people in black communities, and very little is said or done about it. And if you happen to mention the systematic slaughter of black people by other black people, the media who is completely ignoring the issue calls you a racist for noticing it. Even Black Lives Matter has been eerily silent on the number one killer of black people in America, black on black murder.
The only thing that matters to the people in power in our country, the politicians, the media, celebrities, is their power, and doing whatever they have to do to gain and maintain that power. That’s why, to them, only certain lives matter, and others do not. The only lives that matter to them are the lives of the people whose deaths they can exploit to expand their power. That’s why they will make grand speeches about police killing a black man or a racially motivated shooting by a white man, but will completely ignore the police shooting of a white man, a racially motivated massacre by a black man, and the thousands of black people who die at the hands of other black people every year. They cannot score very many political points exploiting those deaths.
This is why the only acceptable stance to take on the issue of whose lives matter is, All Lives Matter. Every single life matters, and every single death is a tragedy. All lives matter; black lives, white lives, Hispanic lives, Asian lives, Muslim lives, men’s lives, women’s lives, babies’ lives, unborn babies’ lives, rich lives, poor lives, drug addicts’ lives, homeless lives – they all matter. All lives matter, because every life is a child of God, and should be valued accordingly.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.