Brody Jenner’s "All Lives Matter" Comments Receive Backlash & Rightfully So
More often than not, I find myself going against public opinion and defending members of the Kardashian-Jenner family. They're often scrutinized over every little action and it's not really fair. But, for once, I believe the backlash a member of the family is receiving is warranted. On Sunday, Brody Jenner posted photos with the caption "#AllLivesMatter" on Instagram after allegedly defending comments made in an Instagram post by his friend. According to BuzzFeed, this all started when the friend posted a lengthy Instagram stating that the recent police shootings of black men had "nothing to do with race." Afterwards, Jenner allegedly reposted (and has since deleted) his friend's comments and wrote, "AMEN T!!" Bustle reached out to Jenner's rep regarding his alleged comment and his #AllLivesMatter posts, but has not heard back at this time.
Regardless of whether he did condone his friend's statement about race, Jenner's other posts are still problematic. Seemingly missing the point of the Black Lives Matter movement, one of his #AllLivesMatter images is of himself, another friend, and his dog. Given the seriousness of what the Black Lives Matter movement is fighting for, he appears to be taking the situation very lightly. Jenner's second photo features only puppies with the caption "#AllLivesMatter."
If giving Jenner the benefit of the doubt and believing he sincerely means that all lives matter, it makes even less sense that he would be against the Black Lives Matter movement. Black people certainly fall under the umbrella of "all people," so he should have no problem supporting their movement for justice. In my opinion, the #AllLivesMatter initiative often contradicts itself, because instead of really valuing others' lives, it's saying, "But wait, what about me?" It's rooted in the privilege of not truly understanding what it's like to be judged by your race or why black people should be the focus of this movement. And I say this as a white woman, who cannot recall a single instance in my 20-something years of life where I've faced unfair treatment because of my skin color.
All Lives Matter takes the spotlight away from its intended focus and the people who really need it to be recognized that their lives are important. A common misconception is that Black Lives Matter is anti-police; instead, it's about holding those who misuse their authority accountable.
Jenner's initial comments in support of his friend could be viewed as well-intentioned, yet ignorantly so. Maybe he agreed with his friend's sentiment — that the violence needs to end and people need to come together. For context, here's a longer excerpt from his friend's initial post:
"This world is getting out of hand with the race issue. Maybe I say that because I'm not racist. I see humans as equals. You shoot me, or you shoot an African American, we are both humans with the same beating heart. Why is everything these days about race? Why?"
It's possible Jenner was sick of all of the racial indifference going on. But by continuing to post "#AllLivesMatter," he went from oblivious to tasteless. There's no need to share photos of his pets with that hashtag. It's a stretch to say he's calling people animals, but he definitely is further exhibiting his ignorance — and privilege — in this situation.
While I understand someone feeling frustrated with recent events, dismissing the voices of those who are hurting is not the right way to deal. It doesn't do any good to say something doesn't have to do with race, when many feel strongly that it's at the heart of the issue. And if you don't think so, consider the fact that the recent shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott are only two of 214 police shootings of black people in 2016, according to MappingPoliceViolence.org. That number is out of control.
Hopefully, Jenner's social media missteps will become a learning experience. Instead of continuing with his #AllLivesMatter hashtag, maybe he can step back, reflect, and listen. That'd certainly be a step in the right direction.
Update: Jenner's friend, Taylor Mosher, who posted the original Instagram Jenner allegedly reposted, issued the following statement to Bustle in regards to the controversy:
I'd love to comment. But I can only speak for myself. In no way do I represent Brody or his thoughts.In my opinion, and again, this is strictly MY thoughts and no one else's... but it's sad that because I'm a white male, I can't comment on any of the recent police issues without immediately being berated by hundreds of people stating that I'm a racist. It's time that we create an environment where young people can actually DISCUSS today's current events in a round table type setting instead of people just hiding behind social media post and spreading hate.I'd ask that anyone go back and read my post again, and then please come to me with legitimate questions or arguments. Maybe I'm wrong... maybe what I said sounds racist. I don't agree. But let's get into a discussion about it. But I'd just ask that they REALLY READ what I said. Was I racist in stating that? Really? Am I, as a lot of people stated, a "racist cracker ass privileged white boy" who's "mother should have swallowed me"?? I don't see how what I wrote deserves such hateful responses.
It's a shame that I'm not allowed to speak about the situation. Period. Unless my thoughts perceived as being aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement, I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut. That's not right. Young people today need to talk. We need to look each other in the eyes and try to understand one another.