Why Black Lives Matter and “All Lives Matter” is Offensive

Okay, let’s step in that bear trap. All I ask is that you actually read my argument before you leave nasty responses. I’ve decided that to remain silent and complacent is to remain complicit. Black Lives Matter is a way of saying, “enough already, the lives of our children count and should not be disregarded.” It is not saying other lives don’t matter. Yes, no lives should be disregarded, but here is why I find “All Lives Matter” offensive.” All Lives Matter” is merely a response to Black Lives Matter, and it is code for “white” lives matter, and we might as well strip away any euphemisms and just call them uppity niggers. Shouting down “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” is simply telling those that are standing up to sit down and know their place. I find that there is no way that this can’t be offensive.

Before “Black Lives Matter” was a thing, “All Lives Matter” wasn’t a thing because “All Lives Matter” or to strip away the code, “White Lives Matter,” didn’t need to be a stated. It was implicit in every aspect of American society. This is what “White Privilege” is about. And of this too there is little doubt, and denying it is wishful thinking at best and racisms at worst. There is never a day when I am fearful for my life when pulled over by police. Hell, I’m not even really fearful that I’ll even get a ticket. Usually, a friendly warning. Of course, what we see on the news are the tragedies, and we rarely see what happens the majority of the time—police officers doing an impossible job with dignity and class. But the fact remains, I have no fears when interacting with police officers. I’m not worried that my daughters with their very northern European names will ever get passed over for job interviews, apartment applications, etc. simply because of their names. Yes, yes, we have affirmative action. But affirmative action does not deny individuals the opportunity. It simply affords those historically passed over during the past 50 -100 years a shot. I’m not worried about being followed by security guards when shopping. I don’t worry that if driving a nice car (this is purely hypothetical!) those in the lane next to me are quietly wondering what sport I play, or what form of drugs I sell. I could go on, but there are others who have written much more eloquently and personally about this than I can.

Others demanding equal rights does not mean you will lose yours. Demanding equal rights is not demanding special rights, though, maybe just leveling the playing field after 400 years of inequality simply isn’t enough to end systemic racism, poverty, and lack of opportunity.

I have one quibble with “Black Live Matter.” Maybe it should be “Minority Lives Matter.” All minority groups face many of the same issues of systemic racism, though with different subtleties and to different degrees: Indigenous peoples, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, etc.

And finally, anyone using any of this discussion, these debates, issues or labels to justify violence against anyone else has forfeited their right to participate in this societal conversation.

Okay, bear trap sprung. I’ll chew off my foot now and continue on if necessary. Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

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3 Responses to Why Black Lives Matter and “All Lives Matter” is Offensive

  1. Dean Sorenmann says:

    Respect of the law matters. The law could give a damn less what color your skin might be. By the way, the argument against black lives matter was made by John Adams in defense of the red coats who opened fire against an “unarmed crowd”. The facts are the only thing that matter.

    Tim, I respect your position, but your position ignores the entire system we are in and obligated as citizens to defend. And, as you know, the system doesn’t work if the members fail to support it.

    Yes, all black lives matter under the law. As for all lives matter, the point is either you support equal treatment under the law, or your argument against all lives matter is just as prejudiced as extra judicial punishment or execution by cop, which we both know is plain old fashioned wrong.

    Next time you call out people for saying all lives matter as being wrong, think about why they may be right. All lives matter is an eternal value for me and not a single use excuse. Black lives matter is a smaller movement within a larger movement. Disputing their limited aim and choosing to grasp a larger message is not dishonorable. It can be quite supportive by respecting the intent of the opposition by moving the ball further forward. If you can’t see that, well, find a different team to play on. And, quit trying to call out your supporters for failure to grasp the importance of that statement that all lives matter.

    Justice is blind for a reason. But, the public should never be blindfolded.

    Police are not perfect. In fact, the statistics show that they perform more crimes against person than any other segment of society. However, their incarceration rate is 1/3rd of any other group of society for a reason. Juries find police to be credible and supported by the facts and evidence put before the jury. I have not heard one Black Lives Matter spokesperson decry the use of juries in cases against the police. Justice isn’t easy. It isn’t even always correct. But, it serves society honorably.

    The statistical evidence is that police killings of black people in the line of duty is one fifth it was in the 1970’s and improving. The problem today is not that that trend has slowed down. The problem is that in light of history and instant video communication is that each death is magnified beyond its relative weight of importance to society as a whole. Last year, about 500 black people died by police shootings good, bad or other. Each and every one of those shootings resulted in internal investigations. Each and every one of those investigations involved a county attorney reviewing those results and if warranted, to further investigate those cases in addition to the police investigation. In other words, evidence was weighed against the terms of the law. If you do not appreciate how that is conducted, you have choices. You can do any of the following: sit on a jury, if called upon; vote in new county attornies, advocate for specific changes to police policy, further the science of criminal investigation, or other acts too many to list here.

    I understand the anger. I really do. But, it is misplaced anger. And, it is unjust for the simple reason that you have not advocated for what needs to be changed. Justice is poorly served by demanding processes be changed without legislative review as Black Lives Matter has advocated for existing cases. In fact, what they advocate violates the principle of ex post facto. You cannot change the law to convict existing or prior events or persons. The push back against BLM is in support of the princible of ex post facto. Work to change the law and police procedure. That would be honorable. Charging all lives matter with being racist is not helpful, factual, and or responsible.

    As your friend, my post might be offensive to your sensibilities at the moment. Mull it over. Challenge yourself to see through my lens. Justice isn’t about right and wrong. It is merely about the facts as applied to the law. What needs to be changed in order to form a more perfect union?

    • I like your question at the end. To that I agree, which is my intent. To challenge us to recognize that things may have improved since the 1970s (and beyond). I’m not condemning a system. I don’t know that there is a better form of governance, but we still have a long way to go and need to continue have the difficult conversations to reach a more perfect union.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Dean

  2. Maria Musachio says:

    I’m with you Tim.

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