QuoraED! This is when we pick up a trending or interesting thread from Quora and spin a story around it.
Following the BlackLivesMatter Movement protests, many shootings-killings, earlier this month and the entire black lives matters and it’s counter all lives matter issue instigating debates all around the world, we thought of addressing this question and found a perfect Quora thread for it.
The original question says : Why do Black Lives Matter? Why is it so controversial to say “all lives matter” instead? Is it insensitive to do this?
Following five answers address the question aptly.
1. “#AllLivesMatter” basically means nothing – it sounds like an empty cliche but to an extent if it does mean anything, it is a rebuke of “#BlackLivesMatter.”
Because #BlackLivesMatter says that we need to focus our attention on one group (African-Americans) because that group gets such terrible treatment by government/society/law enforcement.
#AllLivesMatter implies “Hey lots of people have it bad and race doesn’t matter that much in helping us figure out who is getting screwed.”
#AllLivesMatter is basically infuriating to someone who thinks that we have a huge problem in this country with African-Americans being treated terribly by law enforcement and being so massively over-incarcerated.
2. Saying all lives matter is the point that #BlackLivesMatter is making.
Whites aren’t disproportionately murdered every 28 hours by law enforcement, only for less than 4% of those officers to be found guilty at trial.
When establishment Whites with power in government, media, business, etc. are equally outraged by this injustice then #AllLivesMatter will actually be true.
Supporting #BlackLivesMatter exposes the contradiction and asserts black humanity and value.
It does not assert that Black lives matter more than any other life.
3. The #AllLivesMatter hashtag is not being used to value the sanctity of all life. It’s being used to shout down someone else.
Yes, all lives matter. No, that is not controversial. But the users of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag aren’t saying anything about white lives. They’re not saying other lives matter less, or not at all. They Are Not Talking About Us.
What they are saying is #PleaseStopKillingUs. They’re saying #StopThrowingAwayOurLivesAsIfTheyDidn’tMatter because that’s exactly what’s happening. Black people are way disproportionately at the wrong end of the gun.
So along come a bunch of white people who immediately think that #BLM is about them, and get all threatened. Which is pretty pathetic, but there you are.
4. It is offensive because it *belittles* the issue that black people are injured and killed by police way out of proportion to their number in society.
Of course all lives matter but my white ass isn’t likely to get beat up or shot to death by a cop. Unless this sort of thing happens to people like you that you know, you have no right to bitch.
Responding to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” is ethically equivalent to responding to “Starving people need food assistance” with “All people need food assistance.”
5. Did the ice bucket challenge (http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ic…) mean ALS mattered more than other diseases? Would you sneer at someone raising awareness of ALS and say, “All diseases matter”?
That would be rude and rather aggressively stupid. One can call attention to a problem without suggesting other problems do not exist.
The rallying cry “Black lives matter” is a response to the perceived indifference shown by American society toward black people’s lives. You are free to disagree that this indifference exists; but in that case, your response should be, “Yes, black lives matter. They matter to me, and I think they matter to pretty much everyone.
Let me explain why I think American society values them as much as white lives.” Your response would only be “All lives matter” if you were trying to utterly invalidate the pain and frustration and grievances behind the phrase. Which would be rude, aggressively stupid, and, frankly, racist.
Many have fallen into the “All lives matter” trap. Sanders and Clinton struggled to find their footing on this issue. They were presumably aware that “Black lives matter” alienated rude, aggressively stupid, racist people, and they wanted those votes because they need all the votes they can get. Their teams were perhaps unaware that “All lives matter” was not a conciliatory version of “Black lives matter,” and was instead a rebuke. Or they were aware and thought it wouldn’t hurt them. Either way, the course was changed.
My life matters. But my life isn’t the one in front of the barrel, so I’m not feeling like I need to get all #JewishLivesMatter on people.
So, majority of the answers stood tall on the point that #alllivesmatter doesn’t make sense at all and that #blacklivesmatter comes with an assumed “too” in the hashtag.
A cry for help shouldn’t be answered with “everybody needs help” instead of actual help after all!
Have something more to add? We’d love your point of view in comments below.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.