Western Courier

The rebuttle to Black Lives Matter



Ryan Zurek, Courier Staff

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When talking about race and privilege today, an often-heard rebuttal to the idea of Black Lives Matter is the phrase, “All Lives Matter.” It’s frustrating to hear that response from someone, because it reveals that they really don’t understand what Black Lives Matter is about. It completely misses the whole point of the movement, and only contributes to increased doubt and confusion about social justice.

 So yes, the idea that All Lives Matter is true, every life is equally important. But said in the context of Black Lives Matter, it comes across as at best pedantic and at worst completely ignorant. This is because the whole idea of Black Lives Matter is that all lives do matter, black people included. The idea of All Lives Matter is included in the movement; it doesn’t seek to elevate the status of black lives over others, but rather highlight the fact that black lives are often ignored or neglected in this country. Perhaps a better name for the movement may be Black Lives Matter.

 To convince readers of how silly All Lives Matter is, I offer this metaphor. Imagine you’re at home for Thanksgiving dinner, and your father is carving up the turkey, and everyone is getting a slice of it except for you. You might speak up and say “Hey, I deserve some food too!” And you would be correct. Now imagine that the response to your protest was a condescending, “Well, everyone deserves food, not just you.” You would probably be a little peeved, and rightly so. Of course everyone deserves food, that was the whole reason you were upset at not getting any turkey.

 Now imagine instead of turkey on Thanksgiving, your protests were about innocent people of your ethnicity being gunned down on the streets by police officers all the time. And every time this happened, the murderer got away scott free. And so you speak up and said “Hey, we don’t deserve to be carelessly murdered over traffic violations! We deserve justice too! Our lives matter!” Now imagine you hear the response, “Well stop whining, everyone deserves justice, all lives matter, you guys aren’t special.” You would be more than a little peeved. You would be downright angry. I know I would be. But that’s the reality for people that are a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. They aren’t saying that people of other ethnicities don’t matter. What they’re trying to say is that black people in America aren’t treated as if they matter.

 If you ever find yourself wanting to say, “Well all lives matter,” stop yourself and think for a bit. Is this really the image you want to set for yourself? Are you so pedantic that you cannot and will not acknowledge that Black Lives Matter protest already know that all lives matter, that the entire point of their movement is that all lives matter? And this idea goes beyond Black Lives Matter and race relations. Please, for the love of god, take a moment to actually try and fully understand what a movement is about before you start criticizing it. You may find you agree with it more than you thought you would.

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The rebuttle to Black Lives Matter