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Exploring a Word

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Immanuel Haley

ENGL 1000

3/4/2018

Exploring A Word

        Equality. A word that speaks volumes by itself, a word that everyone knows the meaning of but still many individuals struggle with applying it to their lives. As a 25-year-old African American male who works at a predominantly Caucasian job, I see different forms of equality every day. Digger even deeper than working as a minority in my field myself, I also work with a minority population that also doesn’t receive the proper amount of equality that they deserve. With over 5 years of experience with working with individuals with disabilities, every day I see the different forms of inequalities that they face, and it is usually easy for me to sympathize and relate because I see similar inequalities.

The official definition of the word equality derives from the word equal, which means to be the same in quantity, size, degree or value. The word equality refers to the actual state of being equal, specifically in status, rights and opportunities. In our culture today, the word equality is thrown around almost just as much as was before the days of people like Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. Mainly because of the large amounts of unfortunate incidents, the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was created. At the core this phrase, the people marching, protesting and shouting this phrase are basically saying that there isn’t any equality in America in this day in age and black people are tired of being treated unequally. As a rebuttal to the “Black Lives Matter” chants, the phrase “All Lives Matter” was created. Basically, stating that not only black people deal with inequality, but all people deal with inequality. I personally believe that both statements are true, we are unfortunately living in troublesome times and mostly everyone is affected by it. My only issue with the phrase “All Lives Matter” is that is was created to essentially be used as a protest to the “Black Lives Matter” protest, and that leads to the narrative that black people aren’t treated equally to continue.

According to Urban Dictionary, the terms “Black Live Matters” and “All Lives Matter” have interestingly vastly different definitions and it speaks volume to how similar words can be used so differently. Black Lives Matter is a social movement advocating the view that the lives of blacks matter more than the other lives to include those who are the victims of black on white crime (Urban Dictionary.)  All Live Matters is a hashtag often used to shut down Black Lives Matter, they hold no rallies or protest and only show up when Black Lives Matter does (Urban Dictionary.) Using the phrases “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” are perfect examples of how the meaning of equality can change depending on who, where or when it is being used. One group could be screaming one phrase and another group could be screaming the other phrase, both groups would be asking for equality, but each group has different motives. Each group could also say that the word is being misused but that is technically an opinion and a relative deposition. Just because one group believe that it is being misused, they may have a reasoning behind their statement, but their reason doesn’t involve the view of the other group.

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