Disclaimer: This article mentions touchy subjects for many people. This article also assumes the reader understands the actual definition of feminism, egalitarianism, and the actual purpose of the black lives matter movement. This is also an opinion piece.
So, in recent events, America’s experiencing the Black Lives Matters movement. To rehash it is a movement that protests against the racial inequality of black folks exhibited in law enforcement, such as killing and profiling. Many Americans felt that this statement did not correctly affirm their point of view and felt #AllLivesMatter fits their view more similarly, with the idea that not only black people were suffering racial injustice. The ironic dilemma with the phrasing of “all lives matter” is that it implies that all races are equally shown injustice, which is BS. The very nature of the Black Lives movement is one that highlights the specific problem happening in the African American community – it does not suggest other lives matter less by any means.
I will be honest. At first I wholeheartedly supported the “all lives matter” notion, not aware of the ramifications that came with the false dichotomy I saw. I did not realize how the all lives matter movement could be so inconsiderate, and how it actually contributed to the racial structure this country was built on. I simply saw injustices in other minorities as well, such as Latinos. But after learning more about BLM, I learned that this problem within the black culture did not mean to diminish other races in any way. It simply highlighted a race that is facing inequality at uncanny quantities. The way I realized I got it wrong was when I actually compared my misunderstanding of this terminology to the term “feminism,” a term that gets a ton of flack from people that, well, I am convinced support the idea but not the word because they actually don’t know what it means.
I used to think before I understood feminism that I was an “equalist,” because I felt like that word affirmed my view “more.” (I find it amusing that I typed equalist and there was no such word in this web tool’s dictionary). What I learned was that while my egalitarian view seemed swell and hunky-dory for me, I was missing the point. Again. To rehash, feminism is NOT trying to diminish other sexes in any way. It is not about matriarchy. It is the viewpoint that woman’s rights should find equality with men in opportunities ranging from social rights, equal pay, bodily integrity, and beyond. This perspective does not diminish my egalitarian views. In fact egalitarianism encompasses feminism. But simply having egalitarian views does indeed diminish the feminist movement. Egalitarianism is a philosophy that does not within itself promote change I discovered. In other words, being an “equalist” was not enough. But I learned the hard way, that meaning I didn’t actually know the definition of feminism.
So what is the point of this article? Well I think naming things is incredibly underestimated in importance. Names alter the course of history for each person in ways that I cannot comprehend. I recall in a computer architecture class I took, my professor was livid about some of the names given in the electrical engineering world. There was this logic circuit we learned called the master-slave flip-flop. Sure, the imagery helps understand the direction of control within the master-slave circuit. But the point is, the name is offensive for obvious reasons. (An alternate way to refer to that circuit name by the way is primary/secondary). The circuit’s name is another fabulous reminder that we are a country who’s illustrative history in racism from internment camps to Native Americans to slavery and beyond, persists. In engineering, a field that is so male dominated, naming conventions that do not consider these consequences only grow the unwelcoming atmosphere.
While I am a supporter of the feminist movement and the Black Lives Matter movement, I see an ongoing pattern. The reason I believe I misunderstood them at first is because I saw shortcomings within their names that honestly did not exist. I urge those with their agendas to consider extra hard what you name your movement. You don’t name your kid Hitler. That’s stupid.