The necessity of #BlackLivesMatter and the distraction of #AllLivesMatter
One of the easiest ways to get me to roll my eyes in the most dramatic way possible is to sincerely say ‘all lives matter’ in response to hearing the phrase ‘black lives matter‘. The reason why? It’s partly because just as Common states in the song ‘Glory‘: “justice for all just ain’t specific enough”. And Julia Craven wrote to stop telling her that all lives matter, specifically saying that:
Race brings on individual issues for each minority group. Saying “all lives matter” causes erasure of the differing disparities each group faces. Saying “all lives matter” is nothing more than you centering and inserting yourself within a very emotional and personal situation without any empathy or respect. Saying “all lives matter” is unnecessary.
The entire point of the All Lives Matter seems to really only be in direct retaliation and deflection to Black Lives Matter. It really just seems like a way to shut up activists calling for justice, take away from the entire point of the BLM movement, and the fact that people of color (and particularly black people) are disproportionately dehumanized, profiled, attacked, and killed in the US.
— Izaha Akins (@AkinsIzaha) July 26, 2015
We don’t need #ALLlivesmatter b/c the only lives we have to work at humanizing in death are black lives
— #000000 (@Awkward_Duck) November 26, 2014
One major point of the Black Lives Matter movement, at least to my limited understanding, is to highlight the fact that as a society, we tend to devalue black lives as a whole. Brianna Cox wrote about the dangers of the ‘All Lives Matter’ rhetoric and said that:
…when people use #BlackLivesMatter, they’re saying “black lives matter too,” not “black lives matter more.” The hashtag is a declaration that signals the need for others to care about how our country treats black people, especially law enforcement.
Whereas #BlackLivesMatter is at the crux of what’s one of the largest social movements of our time, #AllLivesMatter is a hypocritical at the very least, and offensive at most. Even outside of the context of black lives, #AllLivesMatter also sweeps other issues of oppression under the rug—all for a façade of inclusion.
— Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) November 27, 2014
If you truly believe all lives matter, then the importance of saying “#BlackLivesMatter” should not be vexing to you
— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) July 18, 2015
#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean other lives don’t. Like people who say “Save The Rainforests” aren’t saying “Fuck All Other Types of Forests”
— Matt McGorry (@MattMcGorry) July 18, 2015
It’s important to remember that if you truly believe that all lives matter, you wouldn’t be offended over the black lives matter movement. And it’s important to understand the movement and learn the things you shouldn’t be saying. And if you’re white like I am, it’s important to remember among other things that reverse racism doesn’t exist.