What Do You Mean When You Say “All Lives Matter”?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Black Lives Matter Movement. A movement that started out to express outrage at the way African-Americans are mistreated by the American police, has now grown at an unprecedented rate, giving a voice to people of African origin all over the world. 

But with a need for a voice, comes the need to silence the voice. A surprisingly common response to “Black Lives Matter” is “All Lives Matter”.

So here’s my question…what do you mean when you say all lives matter? Did all lives not matter before you said so? Or does saying “Black lives matter” automatically negate the importance of “other” lives?

Imagine being persecuted for centuries, simply for the colour of your skin. It’s 2019, and black people are still being treated as second-class citizens all over the world, facing the wrath of prejudice and bigotry; with a record number of black people being maimed or killed by the police.

Imagine speaking up against such injustice, and saying 3 little words “Black Lives Matter” only to be met with an outcry by people who insist that you have attempted to negate and devalue the existence of every other human being on the planet.

Perhaps it’s the fact that black celebrities like Kanye West and JayZ have participated in and supported the “All Lives Matter” perspective, that reinforces your belief that BLM is a load of poppycock. 

Perhaps you are afraid that by agreeing to the fact that black lives do in fact matter, you will somehow give away your position of power and privilege, one that benefits from the exploitation of the black community.

Perhaps it’s the fact that by saying All Lives Matter, you can draw attention away from this crucial social movement without you essentially having to wear a pointy white cap and burn crosses.

So, tell me again, what do you mean when you say “all lives matter”?

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