People protesting in the name of “Black Lives Matter” are met with shouts of “All Lives Matter.” How strange to treat these slogans as if they’re in conflict. If “All Lives Matter” seems to make sense, please think about what it means when used as an argument against “Black Lives Matter.”
Imagine your child is dying. You go to the ER and say “You have to save my child.” But the doctor refuses to help and just says “all children matter.” You’re furious. You understand that all children matter, but it’s your child who’s dying!
“Black Lives Matter” protests never suggest that only Black lives matter. Black parents worry about their children not coming home alive. Black men and women worry about their families and friends being harassed and killed. No one else has cared enough to stop it or even to recognize the problem until the protest movement got going. And finally, as the issue starts to get attention, all some people seem to care about is making sure we don’t focus on the people being hurt.
I’ve heard some people insist that Black Lives Matter is actually anti-white. Some politicians always tell us we’re always under attack so they can pretend to be defending us and get our votes, but they’re the ones escalating the conflict. If you believe in freedom and equality, don’t get tricked into opposing Black Lives Matter. The movement has never advocated for taking anything away from whites or from anyone else. It’s come in response to Black deaths.
I think some people honestly find it hard to comprehend how serious the problem is. Most of us are raised to love this country as a land of freedom, equality, and democracy. We know it’s not perfect, but we tend to be taught that the real problems were in the past, or aren’t that serious. But if you’re white, just listen to African Americans tell their daily experiences. Pay attention to all the news stories of people stopped for minor traffic violations or even people who’ve done nothing at all and end up dead. Now imagine that’s you or your family. People make a lot of excuses or reasons to dismiss the seriousness of the situation, but you have to admit that if you were in their place, you’d feel like this isn’t really America. People are hurting. People are dying. Don’t get hung up on word games.
We pledge allegiance to the flag and a nation “with liberty and justice for all.” Ironically, so many who shout “all lives matter” seem content with a nation in which some lives don’t matter. Yes, all lives matter. Black lives matter because all lives really matter.
Mitch Hart lives in Lewisburg.