On the surface, this seems harmless. Like, yes, everybody matters, nobody should be harmed, and everyone should be allowed to be happy and free and frolic through life without a care. But there’s a reason why there’s so much backlash against the phrase All Lives Matter, a saying that gained traction in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. If you’re confused as to why All Lives Matter puts such a bad taste people’s mouths, check out these four reasons why you should never say All Lives Matter. It’s time to unpack its real intentions.
1. It’s an anti-Black Lives Matter phrase. Period.
— cSTAN (@FabulousChannyn) July 12, 2016
Let’s not forget the origins of All Lives Matter. It wasn’t created out of some genuine love for humanity and our collective struggle. It was a phrase born in direct opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lately, there’s been a lot of talk thrown around about Black Lives Matter being a terrorist organization full of anti-white bigots. Let’s not get it twisted. Black Lives Matter is simply an activist movement that challenges racism against black people, especially with regards to police brutality. The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was created in the aftermath of George Zimmerman being acquitted for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, but it became a household name around 2014 following the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, unarmed black men who were killed by police officers.
The #AllLivesMatter hashtag was created in direct opposition to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, thanks to people who thought that focusing on anti-black racism inherently ignores violence and injustices against other groups. This, obviously, is unfair.
Get a load of this: Imagine yourself attending a rally for breast cancer. You see survivors, maybe you overhear others reflecting on loved ones they lost to the disease, and others are just there to show their support. You’re outraged. Who the hell do these people think they are? Celebrating breast cancer? Hello! There are so many other cancers out there, so many other diseases. Do they not think that colon cancer matters? What about AIDS? Do they think that breast cancer is more important than heart disease? Heart disease kills way more people every year than breast cancer. ALL DISEASES MATTER.
Do you see how wack this sounds? That’s exactly what the All Lives Matter crowd sounds like.
2. It’s usually used to derail, not bond.
As I said, the All Lives Matter mantra is largely a response to Black Lives Matter. That response? Not so friendly, not so loving. Let’s say I’m tweeting about how unfair racism is, and how sickening it is that black suspects are shot and killed by the police at a higher rate than white suspects. I end that tweet with #BlackLivesMatter. Somebody replying to me by saying, “Actually, #AllLivesMatter” is just a way to derail the conversation. What’s derailing? Think of a train suddenly breaking free from the tracks, careening off in a completely different direction. That’s what All Lives Matter represents, a way to sideline legitimate conversations about systematic racism and black pain! It’s pure distraction, nothing more, nothing less. Which brings me to my next point…
3. It’s often incredibly insincere.
If someone is so passionate about all lives mattering, wouldn’t they support the notion that black lives matter? Why would Black Lives Matter be seen as a challenge to the idea that everybody deserves to be treated fairly to someone who, apparently, believes that all lives matter? I’ll tell you why: Because All Lives Matter is insincere AF. Like I mentioned earlier, All Lives Matter wasn’t created organically out of people’s collective concern with everybody’s well being. It is a way to tell black people and their allies to shut up and stop complaining.
Did JLo infer that in her tweet? No, probably not. I’m sure she didn’t mean anything malicious behind her use of the #AllLivesMatter hashtag; without knowing the phrase’s background, it’s easy to see it as a joyous, WE ALL BLEED RED slogan. But when she and other people mindlessly promote that hashtag, they’re not supporting marginalized people who deserve acknowledgement. It’s just feeding into All Lives Matter’s anti-black nonsense.
4. It’s pretty pointless.
If All Lives Matter had a twin, it would be Blue Lives Matter. This is another phrase that was created in opposition of Black Lives Matter, because apparently in the minds of far too many people, opposing the police’s uses of excessive force, racial profiling, and other harmful practices means that you hate every single police officer on the planet. But it’s a pointless phrase that acts as if the whole world is out to get cops just like black people believe that the system is out to get them.
I know, this is a touchy subject–especially following last week’s mass shooting in Dallas which left five police officers dead–but hear me out. Despite all the criticism they receive, and despite a few people saying, “F**k the police” on the internet, or iconic songs that echo similar sentiments, our society, overall, has massive amounts of respect for police officers. We hold them to a higher standard and they hold immense power.
So when people say “Blue Lives Matter,” one can’t help but go, “Uh, obviously?”
The same can be said about All Lives Matter. It’s like, yes, we know that everybody “matters.” And in an ideal world, we would actually act like it; women wouldn’t be blamed for their own rape, gay men would be able to donate blood, poor people wouldn’t have to decide between paying rent on time or feeding their family, and black parents wouldn’t have to sit their kids down for a talk about racial profiling. But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where activists have to remind everyone that people aren’t just being treated unfairly, they’re dying. Black Lives Matter isn’t pointless because we live in a world that, unfortunately, needs to be reminded of black people’s humanity. All Lives Matter acts as if that’s unnecessary. There’s plenty of evidence that proves just how wrong that thought process is.
All Lives Matter sounds nice and cuddly on the surface, but it’s really just a phrase that will always be associated with discrediting and erasing black grief. That’s why you should never say it. That’s why anyone who really cares about others should make sure they stay as far away from All Lives Matter as possible.
What’s your take on the phrase “All Lives Matter”? Tell us in the comments.