I can’t believe I’m still seeing it, on my my Facebook newsfeed, on Twitter, and in online comments from my own family and friends – #AllLivesMatter – and it pisses me off every time. For the most part, I find that white people I know who are posting this phrase are oblivious of its divisiveness.
I believe in my heart that they’re attempting to be inclusive, instead of exclusive, or that they are wholly unaware that #BlackLivesMatter is a peaceful civil rights movement. Still, their ignorance of the destructiveness of #AllLivesMatter is part of the problem.
Friends, family, people I love, please listen! #AllLivesMatter originated as a response to #BlackLivesMatter. “All Lives Matter” is not an inclusive phrase to unify the human race, but rather highlights the exact problem that the Black Lives Matter movement means to abolish. “All Lives Matter” – the phrase and the hashtag – inherently divides. It pits black people against white people. It hurts the black community.
It is proof that we, the white community, still do not get it.
Imagine you have a friend who has breast cancer. She is fighting for her life every day. It consumes her. She posts regularly on social media about her journey and shares articles about supporting breast cancer research.
This woman doesn’t only fear for her own life. She has lost loved ones to breast cancer, and she fears for the lives of her daughters. She hopes and prays that research will discover new treatments and a cure for breast cancer before her daughters or granddaughters have to fight for their lives against a seemingly incurable disease.
Now, imagine that every time this woman posts, “Support breast cancer research!” someone else posts in response, “Support all cancer research!” Do you understand the insensitivity of this response? Do you see how that person comes across as having no empathy for the woman, her situation, or the struggle she faces every day?
Of course all lives matter. No one is saying they don’t. That is a given. My six-year-old would say, “duh!” But posting #AllLivesMatter disregards the real battle for equality and fair treatment minorities in this country face. It’s equal to saying, “we need to fight all cancer, not just the one you’re fighting” to a woman dying of breast cancer.
If you wouldn’t go to a breast cancer event, where flat-chested women in head scarves walk to raise money for research, and hold up a sign with the words, “Support All Cancer Research” then stop typing #AllLivesMatter.
If you cannot lend your voice to the #BlackLivesMatter movement for fear of offending all of the other “lives” out there, then stay silent.
Words matter. Your words matter. Make sure you know their significance before you post them.