Letter to the editor: no issues with BLM

To those that respond to the statement “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter,” let me say that you simply don’t get it.  Yes, our society has passed laws on equality that, theoretically, indicate all lives matter.  In practice, however, it is clear that our society does not believe that all lives matter.
We know that African-Americans are incarcerated at a higher rate than Caucasians.  We know that convicted African-Americans receive longer sentences when compared with similar cases against Caucasians.  We know African-Americans are instantly viewed with suspicion, and even more so if wearing a hooded sweatshirt.  We see African-Americans gunned down by police officers such as Laquan McDonald in Chicago and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.  We see police officers indifferent to injuries sustained when African-Americans are in custody as with Freddie Gray in Baltimore.  We see police officers indifferent to the fact that they are killing a person they are taking into custody as that person pleads for help saying that they can’t breathe as with Eric Garner in NY.  While these examples are from the criminal justice system, it is a reflection of our society as a whole, and it is clear that, in practice, our society does not believe that all lives matter.
Please also carefully note what is stated, “Black Lives Matter.”  It does not say that only black lives matter.  It does not say that black lives should matter more than others.  It simply says Black Lives Matter.  This statement serves for some as a battle cry to continue the fight for justice and equality for all.  It serves to raise awareness of the continued discrimination and institutional racism that African-Americans face daily.  It is there to help change people’s thinking and the culture that has developed in the criminal justice system.  And it should help everyone remember that black lives do, indeed, matter.
We all must admit that in our current society, not all lives matter.  For us to live in a just world, we must reshape our society into one where all lives do matter.  Until that time, we must remind ourselves and those around us that Black Lives Matter.
Joshua M. Dyer
Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics