Black Lives Matter.
All Lives Matter.
Let the hashtag battle and rallying cries begin – never mind, they’ve been going on. In America there always has to be two sides – only two sides. There always has to be an epic struggle. There always has to be a dichotomy of two opposing sides caught in a battle with loyal followers and there has to be an enemy. Why would race be any different.
It isn’t possible apparently in this country for everyone to start being on the same side. No, that would mean some folks would have to start seeing how we’re all so very connected, or to use another common phrase – how we are all in this together.
I’m struck by the All Lives Matter mantra. Besides the obvious fact that it is only shouted out as a response to Black Lives Matter, I wonder about this phrase.
Look, let’s be clear about something. Black Lives Matter understands that indeed all lives do matter. They are simply saying that when there is a problem for some people, those folks deserve some extra attention in order to get things straightened out. That’s pretty logical. We humans use this logic already for many situations. When one of our kids gets injured or hurt, we don’t go around saying – all of our children matter, as if nothing happened. No, we take care of the child who’s life is in danger. Duh! That child’s life matters in that moment and needs special attention. It doesn’t mean the other kids don’t matter. It means that one of these needs the focus.
So here’s the question I want to ask those who shout out All Lives Matter. I’m going to take you at face value in your belief that all lives matter. I think you are being sincere. At least I hope so.
If you really mean it, then what changes are you proposing that would match up with the statement? What legislation are you proposing that would move our nation forward in the direction that all lives would in fact matter? What culture change would help bring that about?
Move past the rhetoric and start sharing your proposals. Unless you think nothing needs to change and that we are already in a place in our society where all lives matter already. If so, prove it. Do you believe that we are already in a place where all lives matter? Do you honestly believe that our society and nation have systems in place that support the notion that all lives do in deed matter?
Or is this just an empty rhetorical device designed not to stir conversation and proposals, but really just another rhetorical weapon meant to shut people up?
Is the chant of All Lives Matter sincere? Or is it just another convenient rhetorical grenade in the never-ending partisan political battle?
When you say All Lives Matter, do you really mean Keep the Status Quo? If not, then what needs to change? Seriously! I’m not being sarcastic here.
I’d really like to hear the policy and legislative and cultural changes that need to happen in order for us to move to a point that all lives do in fact matter.
And secondly, if all lives matter, then does that not include black lives? Wouldn’t an improvement for black lives mean that we are moving in the direction of making the statement all lives matter truer? How exactly is if Black Lives Matter in opposition to the idea that you keep chanting – that all lives matter? Wouldn’t black lives improving mean an improvement for all lives?
Or is the statement All Lives Matter really designed to make the problems we face too big to actually do anything about them? Is it designed to prevent anything from happening?
If all lives matter, then what are we doing to make that a reality? And why aren’t we starting with those in the most need? If all lives matter, then what do you propose should change for those living in poverty? Or who are homeless? I mean, if all lives really matter, then it should go without saying that we should do something to improve the lives of these folks right? Their lives matter right? If we improved the situation for those in poverty, wouldn’t that have an improvement on all lives?
How about people who suffer from mental health ailments? What do you propose to improve their lives – they fall into the “all” part of All Lives Matter right? How about education? What do you propose we change so that all lives matter in education, especially in schools that have a variety or socio-economic challenges? Do they fit into the definition of “All?”
How about people who have different physical or mental abilities? Or what about those who work multiple jobs and are barely surviving? Or how about the Indigenous Peoples of America whose land was swindled from them so long ago and who have to live with the after effect?
All Lives Matter, right? So to the person who stands by this statement, my question is sincere – what are you proposing that would move us in the direction that the statement was actually true? What would you propose that would show the world that we actually thought that all lives mattered, that we were willing to put our money and reputation and energy and focus on the line?
If all lives matter, then prove it. Don’t give me empty words. Show me. And start with those who are struggling the most. That will show me that you are sincere in your belief and not just trying to keep the status quo. Because if this is just empty rhetoric, you should really think twice about saying it. By chanting All Lives Matter when you don’t actually believe it and aren’t willing to do anything that moves us towards it being true, then what you are really saying, without words, is that not all lives matter – only your life matters. What you are saying is that your comfort matters. What you are saying is that your convenience matters. Let your actions speak louder than your chants. Words are empty if they aren’t backed up with action. You’d be better off not saying anything otherwise.