Do All Lives Matter?

Our society is broken.  We are broken and torn up and losing our minds over an issue that has been prevalent for all of America’s history.  Many of us have no choice but to think about race every single day, while others only think about it when issues like this arise.  Amongst all of the ignorance and outright hatred I’ve seen from people I consider friends or peers, there has also been a great deal of understanding that has been touching to see.  Unfortunately the latter type comments are fewer and far between…I guess I’m a little unique in the sense that not only can I see both sides, but I live both sides every day as a biracial adult in urban America.

I’ve been silent about the Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter issue for reasons ranging from being speechless (shocking, I know) to just not wanting to stir the already overflowing and nauseating pot.  But to be silent is to essentially be part of the problem, right?

Dear All Lives Matter “Activist”,

I envy you.  I envy your ability to turn a blind eye on the shitstorm that is modern day racism.  I, like you, think that all lives matter.  OF COURSE a black life is no more important than a white, hispanic, asian, green, purple, or blue life.  What you are failing to recognize is that 99.99% of people who are saying Black Lives Matter are not insinuating that black lives matter more than other lives.  The point is not that all lives don’t matter.  The point is that right now, in this moment, black lives need attention.  They deserve attention.  Action.  Progress.  This is something that you might not understand which to some extent, isn’t your fault.  If you have never experienced racism, how could you be expected to know that there are entire populations that live their day to day lives being treated as less than others?  Well, I guess you could read a book, but I digress…

All sarcasm aside, how can you genuinely justify saying All Lives Matter when a white man who carried out a massacre in a black church is taken out alive by police, but a black man who MIGHT have been reaching for a gun is killed in cold blood?  How can you say All Lives Matter if when a white man rapes a woman, all we hear about are the records he’s set in swimming, but when a black man MIGHT be reaching for a gun, all we hear about is his distant criminal record?  How can you say All Lives Matter when gun owners jump to the defense of white shooters’ right to bear arms but say nothing when a black man with a license to carry is murdered for this very same right?  This. is. real. life.  I do not understand what can be ambiguous about this concept when the evidence is so clearly there.

I think what’s most mind blowing to me is the fact that those who are not marginalized only come to their population’s defense when another population is striving for equality.  No one was asking for Heterosexual Pride parades before gay people were joyfully celebrating their own pride.  I never see people making jokes about White History Month until it is Black History Month.  Guess what – every day is a heterosexual pride parade and every month is White History Month.  It’s okay, I’m half white…I’m allowed to say that.

Maybe a lot of this comes down to fear or ignorance toward what we don’t understand.  I don’t think any of us can sit here and say we’ve never judged something we couldn’t understand.  I myself have gone back and forth on this topic because I am someone who is (clearly) all for equality.  OF COURSE ALL LIVES MATTER, EMILY, COME ON.  But that’s really not the point right now.  I heard this comparison the other day that really made it clear to me and maybe it will help you, too.  It went something like this…

“Saying All Lives Matter is kind of like going to the doctor with a broken arm and having them say “all bones matter.”  This is true, but right now let’s take care of this broken one.”

I don’t have any answers and I don’t sit here and claim to be helping the cause.  I just think it’s important for everyone to be able to take a step back and realize what the real conversation should be.  Killing police is the FURTHEST thing from a solution, but demonizing black people asking for equal treatment isn’t going to do it either.  What kind of humans are we if we are fighting over who has the right to be angry?

All lives should matter…but right now, they just don’t.