Why saying “all lives matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter” is just the wrong thing to say…

I want to think that most white people are just generally confused about this issue, and they don’t mean to be saying that all lives matter in a way that is as bad as it really is. Oh, sure, there are people who are willfully misunderstanding, or worse, they know exactly what they are doing, but I want to give some benefit of the doubt.

Here is a simple breakdown of how these two slogans have much deeper meaning than just the words themselves.

Firstly, Black Lives Matter in no way implies that other lives don’t matter. Specifically, it does not imply that white lives do not matter. White lives do matter, obviously. But go back a ways. White people didn’t come to America as slaves, against their will. And they came with expectations of making their lives better, and being treated fairly and equally.

The fact is that every time some group tries to get treated a little better than they were, when they struggle for recognition and fair treatment, or try to get new rights given to them, it doesn’t take anything away from the people who already have those things. Gay marriage has no effect on straight marriage. In the same way, Black Lives Matter isn’t trying to take anything away from white people. They just want to be treated like white people treat each other.

The whole Black Lives Matter movement is based on real things. They are more likely to be pulled over while driving, and the outcome is more likely to be worse. They are more likely to be profiled, more likely to be followed around a store by security. Much more likely to have their house raided by police, to be arrested, to be beaten, to be shot, all by the police.

They can’t take it for granted that they will be treated as fairly as white people in a lot of circumstances. This is what institutionalized racism means. It doesn’t mean they have to drink out of their own separate water fountains anymore, or use the service entrance, or be denied almost any good jobs. But it does still mean that black people have a harder time getting a good job than their white counterparts.

This whole movement was brought to a boil by one too many police-caused deaths of unarmed black people. And it is still happening, at a rate that is inconsistent with the percentage of black people that there are.

Stop acting like this is some way of saying that white people don’t matter. If someone says “Black Lives Matter” it doesn’t impact you negatively in any way to just agree, or at least not respond by saying all lives matter, because they do. But black lives matter too. And we can all say “all lives matter”, just as soon as all lives matter to the same degree.


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8 Responses to Why saying “all lives matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter” is just the wrong thing to say…

  1. marymtf says:

    I’ve. Seen aggressive response against anyone who has the temerity to suggest that all lives matter.
    Patrisse Cullors, a self proclaimed Marxist and co founder of BLM has been reported as a fraud after she recently bought a $1.4 million three bathroom house in Topanga canyon. The question is how can she afford to buy such an expensive house in her name. It is said that she is using the funds of her foundation that she has raised to help black people, and it is considered to be illegal as she is using the money she has raised for her own comfort.
    Last years riots, showed a disregard for human life and property. Not to mention mobs ignoring social distancing in the middle of a pandemic. I say, individual lives matter, no matter who they are. I say, judge each person you meat by their actions not their colour or religion.

    • Every part of that is true about the mob storming the capitol.

      • marymtf says:

        Interesting to see what you’ve decided to focus on.

        Last summer, criminal mobs stormed federal buildings in an attempt to intimidate elected officials and overturn our democratic republic. “Burn it down” and “No USA at all” were their frequent chants. Some demagogic politicians egged them on. People died.
        Fast forward to this year. Another criminal mob stormed another federal building in another attempt to intimidate elected officials and overturn our democratic republic.  “Stop the steal” was their frequent chant. Some demagogic politicians egged them on. People died.
        The media accurately reported this year’s riot as a riot, but they reported last summer’s riots as “mostly peaceful protests.” The reason for the disparate reporting is of course that the media sympathized with last summer’s criminal mob but not with this year’s criminal mob.

        • And it is at least equally amazing that you equate the president of the United States egging on a violent attack on the most important federal building there is, to overturn an election with false claims that it was stolen to people pushed past the breaking point by decades of oppression and abuse. Yes, I do consider rioting to be always wrong, but one group had thousands of protests that were peaceful, and most of the violence was caused by just a few, who were, many times, actual outside agitators with their own agendas.
          Those other people lost one election. They were going to hang the vice president for fuck’s sake. One of their own.

  2. MomzillaNC says:

    Cogent commentary.

    I wrote similar things in my Medium blog in June 2020. https://momzillanc.medium.com/why-is-there-rioting-f36b5c4b3dc6

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