An Essay by Linda Lopez on the questions that lie between “All Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter,” as interpreted by a Caucasian woman.
“All lives matter” has become the go-to slogan for people who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand the Black Lives Matter movement.
The slogan is part of the offensiveness people experience when they hear it. When combined with anger, inappropriate verbiage, privileged attitudes, aggression or condescension, the slogan takes on a powerful admonition.
Replace the word “all” with its synonym “everyone.”
The questions we must ask ourselves;
If everyone truly matters, then how can we, as part of the “everyone,” safeguard the “matters” portion of the slogan?
We need to clarify in our own minds just who we believe to be included in “everyone.”
Are homeless included? What about immigrants? How about the unemployed, do they matter? Do the elderly matter? People with different physical and mental capabilities are included, right? For sure women and children living in housing projects are part of “everyone.” Do indigenous people, and people of color matter? Are they not part of “everyone”?
When confronted with “Black lives matter,” we ought to examine our motive for using the slogan “all lives matter” as a retort. In this case, using the slogan as a retort is micro-aggression.
If, in fact, “all lives matter” why isn’t every legislative representative working toward that reality? Why aren’t people who look like me taking necessary steps to prove it?
If “all lives matter” why are we allowing voter suppression, economic oppression, and poverty to plague segments of our society?
If you believe all lives matter, then shouldn’t any disenfranchised segment of our society be able to draw attention to their plight?
The next time you are confronted with “Black Lives Matter,” remember why the cry is important. The demand to be included as part of “all” (everyone), with no bias due to the color of one’s skin, is in part what drives the Black Lives Matter movement.
The unanswered murders of unarmed Black people is part of the movement. Racial profiling, harassment, assault, and humiliation of Black people is part of the movement.
In conclusion, using the slogan “All Lives Matter” when confronted with “Black Lives Matter” the people who look like me need to embrace, and understand that it is not a slogan. It is a cause, purpose, and a hunger to be justly included as part of the “everyone.”
When deciding to use the “All Lives Matter” slogan, ask yourself why you need to hide behind that slogan, when being white is and of itself privilege.
Resident of City of Antioch