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.

 

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4 thoughts on “Do All Lives Matter?

  1. Maureen O'Connell says:

    Emily, this is such a great message. I too, have said All Lives Matter, thinking it helped. But, I like the broken arm example. Your message really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I feel helpless. Each day I say to myself I’ve got to do something. I am almost paralyzed as to where to begin!

    Like

    • Emily Crocker says:

      I know, it’s so horrible. There’s nothing wrong with believing that all lives matter, it’s just a matter of understanding the implication! Hope to see you soon xoxo

      Like

  2. Lars Goed says:

    Someone shared this onto my facebook feed. Thanks for writing this.

    I’m hearing more and more young adults use this argument as a talking point or political stance, likely trickling down from their elders and role models doing so as well, and I think it’s very nearsighted. Also, very stupid.

    I thought this issue was– rather, that this issue you clearly map out here should have been hashed out on the first day the All Lives Matter hashtag surfaced and trended on whatever platforms it did. It’s a shame the phrase “black lives matter” was and still seems to be immediately misunderstood by white people in predominately white areas of our country. The reach of the “all lives matter” sentiment has just moved so slowly into the lexicon of older generations over the past few years. And the late adapters, the Fox News-watchers, those who perpetrate it seem to have no immediate detractors. No one taking part in their suburban household conversation seems to know any better, or know how to reproach that sentiment without, ironically, being labelled racist. Then again, more overt and traditional, face-value racism lies with older people, and most systematic racism was incepted during their era. The latter is unbeknownst to most and flat-out denied by others: a really sad truism of systematic injustice.

    It’s hard to tell if a solution to this malignant problem is solely a matter of calling attention to misunderstanding, as you very astutely mapped out here, or if at the root of that problem is actual racism. Let’s hope for the former. Either way, I’m glad you wrote this and are sharing it with friends. I’ll pass it along as well. The broken bone metaphor you noted will be very useful when trying to get this through to old people in my family/circle of friends.

    Like

    • Emily Crocker says:

      Hi Lars!

      I agree…in many cases this issue has roots much deeper than misunderstanding. However, I am a firm believer in nurture over nature and have hope that the younger generations will raise their children in a different fashion. I guess we can only hope. Thanks so much for your comment!

      Like

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