ILLUMINATION
Published in

ILLUMINATION

EQUALITY

Why “All Lives Matter” isn’t helping

Before all that remains of us are hashtags

They looked down on my claws. My thick skin. Because I was different. Unlike them. Even simple conversations were tense. As though a mist of uncertainty hung in the air. It shackled me, true. But I soon gained the skills to make up for my weakness.

Little did I know that a 2003 role-playing game would prepare me for the future. Lionheart’s stable of characters treated me unfairly if I happened to have undesirable physical traits, ignoring the literal demon within. A mode of assessment that humans have institutionalized since time immemorial. Norms that should have never become orthodox in the first place.

Just as the game taught me, I saw colour as a weakness. Even my classmates back in high school shared that opinion. While moments of joy are fleeting, those of pain remain. In those days, lunch breaks had little to do with lunch. Boys fought for my lunchbox as my outstretched body lay at their feet, ironed shirt stained with the dusty marks of their boots. They were fair. They were better. I knew they were in the wrong, but I believed that it was the way of things. For I was at the bottom of the food chain.

I saw it as something that I had to overcome. A disability, a debuff, a product of circumstance. But were we all not products of circumstance? Our upbringing has instilled in us subconscious biases, rules that were never rules. The disembodied hand of society gripped our throats, crushing voices of opposition. Voices of change.

Much later did I realize that it wasn’t my fault. That it didn’t have to be this way. That there are people out there who see you for who you are, not for the inferior reflection that greets one in a mirror. Expecting them to have fought the oppressors is no solution; for their minds too are held back by centuries of conditioning. It needs to be done from the ground up. A society that sees all as equals. A framework in place to treat all lives the same. No matter their creed, gender or race. One that celebrates our differences.

I write this not out of self-pity, for I am privileged. Privileged to speak out.
In anger. In disgust. I have stood at the sidelines for far too long. I will suppress my voice no longer.
If you are reading this, count yourself among the privileged.

The world is a mess today. Plagued by an evil none can see, pushed to the brink. Power disparities, crushing inequality. Calamities, oppressive governments, the tip of the knife. Embedded within the remnants of humanity. But hope persists. Despite the impossible odds, the efforts by millions standing together as one to speak out against this crippling prejudice are commendable. And in time, we will endure. Become better.

But for this movement to truly erase the stains upon the fabric of society, it must start at the threads that formed the problem. Present a child with a childhood of equality, and they will grow up unfettered to a society that looks down on those of social and economic differences. Free to focus on their dreams instead of proving that they are just as good as everyone else. Free from believing that they entered the world with lower stats than the rest.

By saying that all lives matter, you merely dismiss the problem. Dismiss those marginalized by what society thinks, those who veil their true selves with hearts of stone as they face every morning. Would you dismiss a pandemic in the same manner? That there are other diseases too?

To say that black lives matter is not to reduce the value of other lives, it is simply to recognize the value of every life, no matter its denomination. It does not accuse you. Unless you are the perpetrator.

I ask of you to stand up for humanity. To spread awareness for a better tomorrow. Before all that remains of us are hashtags.

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Antony Terence

Antony Terence

0.2M+ views. 5x Top Writer. Warping between games, tech, and fiction. Yes, that includes to-do lists. Words in IGN, Kotaku AU, SUPERJUMP, The Startup, and more.

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