Opinion: All lives don’t matter

Last weekend, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that has barred citizens of Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. These countries were Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq.

Whenever “black lives matter” is mentioned, someone usually replies with, “No, all lives matter.” When incidents occur that harm non-black people of color, those who shouted “all lives matter” are usually silent. I’ve noticed that some people chanting the mantra “all lives matter” become bothered when someone insists on saying something like “black lives matter” — which is puzzling.

Black Americans are more likely to be victims of things like racial profiling, police brutality, and other injustices. Black Americans aren’t saying that these problems don’t apply to other races — they’re saying that it happens to this race more often. Saying “all lives matter” doesn’t do anything to help the situation black citizens face.

Saying that all lives matter when you’re at a rally for #BlackLivesMatter is like going to a march for breast cancer awareness and screaming, “What about brain cancer?” It’s important, but it’s not the right time.

On social media and in person, I’ve noticed that people who swear that “all lives matter” avoid the topic of this ‘Muslim ban.’ I’ve come to the conclusion that “all lives matter” only matters when people want to pull away from #BlackLivesMatter.

#BlackLivesMatter isn’t to say that those lives are more important than others, otherwise the hashtag would say that “Black lives matter more.” If all lives really do matter, then what’s wrong with saying that black lives or any other lives matter?

On Facebook I asked, “why are the people behind the ‘all lives matter’ or ‘blue lives matter’ hashtags didn’t speak against the Muslim ban?” The response I received was “cause we support it.” If all lives matter, why are people supporting this executive order? If you don’t care that people are being stopped from entering a country that they now consider home, all lives don’t matter to you. If you don’t care about the distress that this is causing a specific group of people, then it’s very clear that all lives don’t matter to you.

Maybe it’s because this ban doesn’t personally affect these people. When something doesn’t directly affect a person or anyone close to them, it’s very easy to turn away from the issue. It’s even easier to say that it might not be a problem if it’s not your problem. I call this a lack of empathy.

If all lives really do matter, then this ban should be something that everyone should be concerned about.

It’s the United States’ humanitarian duty to help someone in need. It’s almost the United States’ obligation to protect refugees, especially since we claim that we are an international superpower. America has claims to be a melting pot for all different cultures and backgrounds, except one? That’s not right.

On top of that, it’s unconstitutional. One could argue that this executive order violates the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that says that doesn’t allow discrimination based on a person’s national origin.

This ban is essentially based on a person’s former place of residency, birth, and nationality. If someone’s still unbothered and in support of this institutional ban — while it inconveniences the lives of people who haven’t done anything wrong — then all lives don’t matter to them.