I am writing this post pursuant to a conversation with someone on Facebook – a high school classmate I have not see in very many years – who said the following things in response to me posting about Nike’s support for Colin Kaepernick, and I quote here:
Giant piece of shit
Seriously!!!!! How can u stand that piece of shit
ALL FUCKING LIVES MATTER…. SO TAKE YOUR BLACK LIVES SHIT AND SHOVE UP YOUR RECTUM
This is NOT an issue that I have spent a lot of time reading and researching, but with this conversation, I thought it would be good to distill my current thoughts on this as a response to his words in general, but to his saying
so you are saying all lives don’t matter ???
I will say that If you are burning Nike’s shoes because of their support for Kaeperick then you have some soul searching to do. If you are boycotting Nike because of slave labor then we can have another conversation.
If you would like to watch the controversial commercial then here ya go:
Racism and All Lives Matter
The #AllLivesMatter Movement is a clever, racist, and conservative rhetorical ploy whose goal is the undermine and co-opt the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.
By saying All Lives Matter it redirects the conversation away from police violence against black people and other minorities, to everyone which includes such people (like myself) which experience an incredible amount of privilege (in my case, white male privilege) by not needing to worry about whether or not we will get shot or pulled over while crossing the street or driving while white. The All Lives Matter Movement is dismissive of the plight that black people and other minorities suffer in the horror story that is the United States and other countries around the world, that the ruling majority (white people with their privilege) do not suffer.
I could insert a lot of stats and examples here, but I will let you search for them. I will give you one example. A white male domestic terrorist who shot up a black church received a bulletproof vest and a stop to a fast food joint to get food because he was hungry, and made it to court just fine. How about what happened to Sandra Brown or Eric Garner? One did not survive the night and was murdered while in custody, and the another was killed on the spot. The list goes on and so do the horrific stats of innocent people’s lives destroyed by police brutality and abuse.
Here is a great clip from the black family comedy show Black’ish which highlights the struggle that black people face in America. This is pretty raw and to the point.
The Implicit ‘too’
By saying that Black Lives Matter they are not staying that only black lives matter, they are saying that black lives matter too – in addition to – the privileged lives of white people; there is an implicit ‘too‘ at the end of the statement, because black people disproportionately fall victim to police brutality, murder, framing, and harassment to which the All Lives Matter Movement implicitly dismisses. White people do not suffer police brutality at the same rates the black people and other minorities do, which is completely the issue that they are fighting against and to which the All Lives Matter movement wants to distract from.
It is not that all houses don’t matter, its that the houses that we should be concentrating on should be the ones that are on fire right now.
If all lives truly mattered to those who say it, then they should truly be up in arms about the disproportionate slaughter and abuse of minorities by police and they should be there and supporting the Black Lives Movement too using the chant and chosen mantra that they have chosen to use: #BlackLivesMatter, otherwise… they are contributing to the considerable problem of pushing police brutality under the rug, because they are not so affected. Privilege at its finest.
Related Links for More Reading
You can believe me if you like, but do not take my word for it. Here are some links for more reading so you get more information on this issue:
- How To Argue Against Saying “All Lives Matter,” Because This Has Got To Stop (Bustle, Jul 2016)
- Why #AllLivesMatter is an ignorant response to #BlackLivesMatter (GQ Magazine, Jul 2016)
- Is the “All Lives Matter” Slogan Racist? (Psychology Today, Aug 2016)
- Why ‘All Lives Matter’ Is Such a Perilous Phrase (New York Times, Jul 2016)
- The Problem with Saying ‘All Lives Matter’ (Relevant Magazine, Jul 2016)
- Why you should stop saying “all lives matter,” explained in 9 different ways (Vox, Jul 2016)
- Every Time You Say “All Lives Matter” You Are Being an Accidental Racist (Huffington Post, Dec 2017)
- Here’s Why it hurts When People Say, “All Lives Matter” (Vanity Fair, Jul 2016)
We should not judge how well Americans are doing by looking at those with privilege (white people) are doing, but by how the least among us are doing (minorities). Guess what? Those minorities, they are having a really shitty time of it due to police brutality and the fear instilled because of it. The Black’ish clip from above refers to this.
I am not going to even start getting into the racism inherent in the US economic and judicial system, or even the structural violence inherent in capitalism, that just makes makes this issue even worse. Hell, even the Stand Your Ground laws themselves are racist in origin which gives a white person basically a blank slate to murder minorities.