Zachary Hammond was a 19-year old unarmed white teenager who fatally shot by a police officer in his car during a drug bust in South Carolina back in July.
His family is asking, where is the outrage? Where are the protests? The national attention? The media? The trending hashtag?
This comes amid heighten scrutiny over police shootings and over zealous policing in the United States. This month was the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was a black unarmed teenager who was fatally killed by police officer Darren Wilson. His death, along with the countless other black men and women who were killed by police, sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
In response to the growing movement, #AllLivesMatter was a hashtag created to show that it wasn’t just black people being killed by the police. Not necessarily an organized movement, but more of a knee jerk response to media attention of black lives killed by law enforcement.
The family of Zachary Hammond attorney says race is almost certainly playing a role in why there hasn’t been any national outcry for his death.
“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen…The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”
But many activists in the #BlackLivesMatter movement disagree with the family’s attorney statements. A quick twitter search of #ZacharyHammond show that the majority of the people who made his name a trending topic and eventually bought national media attention where black activists in the #BlackLivesMatter camp. Not too many #AllLivesMatter activists tweeting about the death of Zachary Hammond until after his name gets some media attention. Again, as a knee jerk response and attempt to call out #BlackLivesMatter activists.
#AllLivesMatter doesn’t mean what it stands for. It’s a derailment for a movement that not only supports the lives of black people, but the lives of all disfranchised. It was a movement for even Zachary Hammond.
#AllLivesMatter just means anti-black.
For many white people in America, white is the default. MTV tried to make white millennials think about what it means to be white in America in their documentary White People, but in failed to really dig deep in the concept of whiteness. The elephant in the room is that because many white people don’t see themselves as a racial collective unless it’s by ethnicity (per say Italian-Americans), they won’t go out protesting for the death of one white unarmed teenager. For many white people, they’ve never had to be the spokesperson for their race. Zachary Hammond is just another teenager who was killed by police and not a stereotype or a statistic. He was the “exception”. Christian Taylor and Sandra Bland were the “rules”.
All lives should truly matter, but competing over trending hashtags and derailing activism is not the solution. According to the Washington Post over 585 people where shot by the police this year. 24 of them were black and unarmed. The real question we should be asking is why are the people we pay to protect us, killing so many people?