The Problem with All Lives Matter

libertyI have numerous problems with the All Lives Matter counter-movement, but the biggest is the hypocrisy buried in those three words.

You see, many–not all–but many of the folks who proclaim ALL lives matter mean exactly the opposite. They mean the lives they choose to encompass in their personal, cherry-picked version of ALL.

Millions of Americans just proved with their ballots that the lives of Mexicans living in the United States don’t matter. Or Muslims. Or Syrian refuges fleeing death and persecution. The lives of illegal immigrants don’t matter. The lives of the poor and welfare recipients don’t either.

If ALL is to be ALL, if we are concerned about the safety and well-being of ALL, is the welfare cheat, the lowest of scum according to many Americans, included in those three letters? Does it matter if you don’t believe in God or if you are pro-choice, if you are homosexual? Do you need to be American to be included in ALL?  What if you are anti-gun, or a socialist or a communist? If you’re an addict or adulterous? Are there conditions that need to be met?

It would seem that way. The folks who loudly insist that ALL lives matter are often the same ones who bray for blood, for revolution, for taking back. They are some of the same who anonymously wish death, rape, and cancer on those who don’t agree, (if you ever want to experience the bottom-feeding horribleness of the human race, check out the comments section of any article covering politics), the ones more concerned with owning an AK47 than protecting the lives of schoolchildren. Are schoolchildren not included in the ALL? How about a woman whose life in endangered by a pregnancy–does she count?

At its least offensive, All Live Matter is meant to be reminder to treat our fellow human beings like human beings, to respect ALL life. I understand the need to make sense of a topsy-turvy world, I understand the desire to use it to be inclusive. Yet most of the time it is anything but. The reality is that most things I see and read point in the opposite direction. Everything that is being screamed at me, being touted and voted for, shouted and demanded goes against the very notion of ALL, not only in the United States, but all over the place.

Which is, of course, the exact point of Black Lives Matter: not to prove that black lives matter MORE, just that historically, they haven’t been included in most people’s cherry-picked versions of ALL.

So unless you’re ready to truly include ALL in those three letters–the immigrant, the foreigner, the Jew, the black, the atheist, the refugee, the lesbian, the transgender kid, the Muslim, the woman who uses abortion as birth control, the guy on welfare, the unarmed black teen who got shot in the back, and yes, the cop—-until you’re ready to stand up for ALL those lives?

Just don’t.

 

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18 thoughts on “The Problem with All Lives Matter

  1. renxkyoko July 12, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    That’s true. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    • Dina Honour July 12, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      I’m having a whole lot of trouble with my thoughts these days.

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      • renxkyoko July 12, 2016 / 9:18 pm

        Ditto. Those 2 videos ( baton Rouge and in Minnessota ) really troubled me. Well, it’s been troubling me for a long time now. The worst was when a 6 year old black boy got out of the car with his hands up. ( His mother was mistakenly arrested ) I don’t know if you saw that, that was 2 years ago….. the image of that little boy with his hands up really broke my heart.

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      • Dina Honour July 12, 2016 / 10:05 pm

        I can’t watch them…but then again, I don’t need to. I accepted a long time ago that these stories of pain and inequality were true. I think for me, watching it unfold in real time might actually push me in the opposite direction–I think that I would have to crawl into a hole. I understand their purpose–and for shining a light on what has always been a huge problem, but I am too much of a coward when it comes right down to it.

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  2. South of the Strait July 12, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    I get the feeling the “all” means nobody. It seems the most egocentric of all movements.

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  3. London Mary July 12, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    Dina – I can only imagine how much vitriol you receive for sticking your neck out to speak the truth people don’t want to hear on so many topics. I look forward to every post and agree vehemently with everything you’ve stood up for, wishing I had as much courage (and creativity) to say these things as clearly, honestly (and entertainingly) as you do. Instead I share your blog with friends or on Facebook. Maybe it takes stepping out of the US (I’ve been away almost 20 years) to see it so clearly.
    Keep on posting!

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    • Dina Honour July 12, 2016 / 10:03 pm

      Well thank you for making my day, week, and possibly summer. I don’t get nearly as much hate as you would expect, but then my audience, especially for these type of posts is pretty limited–and tends to be cut of the same cloth. In a lot of ways it is a vanity I feel like I am allowed here–writing helps me to make sense of what is going on, although even that seems to be failing me at the moment (the trying to make sense part). But I thank you for reading and sharing and responding, but mostly for letting me know that I’m not crazy, there are lots of others out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. aviets July 12, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Well said. The best analogy I’ve read for the WRONGNESS of “All LIves Matter” was this: I go to the doctor with a broken bone in my arm. She immediately tells me “all bones matter” and proceeds to ignore my broken arm in order to care for all my other bones. I really need that arm bone fixed in order to function, but it’s not going to happen because “all bones matter.”

    I’ve run across several people in the last week who truly do not believe there is such a thing as white privilege and yet insist they are not racist. There’s nothing you can do with people like that, and it’s frightening.

    Except…that our youth group is currently on a mission trip, whose goal is more to be in community with people unlike themselves (in an urban Milwaukee neighborhodd) than for performing service. They were able to observe a Black Lives Matter protest walk in that neighborhood yesterday. One of the adults on the trip, who is a very dedicated youth leader but whose political leanings make me very uncomfortable, actually posted some video of the walk, with the comment that though he might not agree with everything the movement has to say, he was truly learning to respect the needs and concerns of the people he’s meeting. A tiny glimmer of hope…

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    • Dina Honour July 12, 2016 / 10:18 pm

      Thank you for that. A tiny glimmer often spreads into a ray, then a starburst and I’ll leave the metaphor there. The bones matter analogy is a great one. At the end of the day I assume it is easier to live in denial than it is to acknowledge the history of oppression we have tolerated. And holy cow, that history is heavy. It is amazing to me that someone who has lived it is actually able to hold their head upright let alone continue to fight. I think of the non-violent methods with which the African American community has used (mostly successfully) in the past, how hard white people have worked to keep them down, and how they still rise up and I am floored. I mean floored. And I think the same of women, and minorities. And I am floored. And then I am amazed at how few times the floodgates have really opened. How few times violence has actually been resorted to because honestly? The white male is incredibly overdue for a swift kick up the ass.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kelly July 13, 2016 / 9:15 am

        I think at its most well-meaning, “all lives matter” is meant to be “nice” and non-confrontational. But even then, it is annoying. It falls in the same category as saying “all politicians are the same” or “both sides are crazy.” I have friends who will say things like that in an attempt to dismiss or shut down discussion of real topics. And it is not constructive or helpful at all.

        It’s the same attitude that is behind giving all opinions the same weight on TV news. Some pundits (and people in general) are just factually WRONG. Some people are LYING. Some people, quite honestly, are just not that bright. We are not obligated to give them equal time or credibility! That is not being “fair and balanced.” That is just being sloppy. It’s “truthiness.” And what do we end up with? Donald Trump. The facts-optional candidate.

        I don’t think we are going to get anywhere on race or any other subject until we can all be honest about it. We need to deal in facts, as much as that is possible. We need to acknowledge our various privileges. And, as you say, white males really need to get over themselves!

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  5. aviets July 12, 2016 / 10:54 pm

    Amen. And I’ll be among the first in line to administer that kick.

    Like

  6. Kelly July 13, 2016 / 9:16 am

    I think at its most well-meaning, “all lives matter” is meant to be “nice” and non-confrontational. But even then, it is annoying. It falls in the same category as saying “all politicians are the same” or “both sides are crazy.” I have friends who will say things like that in an attempt to dismiss or shut down discussion of real topics. And it is not constructive or helpful at all.

    It’s the same attitude that is behind giving all opinions the same weight on TV news. Some pundits (and people in general) are just factually WRONG. Some people are LYING. Some people, quite honestly, are just not that bright. We are not obligated to give them equal time or credibility! That is not being “fair and balanced.” That is just being sloppy. It’s “truthiness.” And what do we end up with? Donald Trump. The facts-optional candidate.

    I don’t think we are going to get anywhere on race or any other subject until we can all be honest about it. We need to deal in facts, as much as that is possible. We need to acknowledge our various privileges. And, as you say, white males really need to get over themselves!

    Like

    • Dina Honour July 13, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      That’s it–I used least offensive, you used most well-meaning (yours sounded nicer), but it amounts to the same thing. The problem, as I see it, is that we have the facts. We have facts and studies up the wazoo. We have experts. And people STILL don’t want to believe them. It’s the same with gun reform. You have the military, the police, experts, doctors telling you that gun violence is a problem. You have the majority of Americans (at least according tot the polls that seem to be the most trustworthy) telling you they favor gun reform–and yet our elected officials refuse to budge. I don’t even want to begin to think how blind, ignorant, or in denial you have to be to be able to honestly and truly think that black Americans are equal to white–on any level. Or that women are equal to men for that matter. But you’ve hit on something important. The media plays a HUGE job in this. Too big in my opinion. And they are letting Trump slide like nobody’s business. Even positive articles about Hilary delve into how unpopular she is while they simply keep reporting on the spectacle of his candidacy. where is the outrage over his fraud cases? Where is the outrage over his racism or sexism? where is the outrage over his lack of qualifications? where is the outage most of all over the supreme and utter hypocrisy of the GOP?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amanda Afield July 14, 2016 / 8:46 am

    Well put. Sometimes it feels like the All Lives Matter movement comes with the caveat of (but some lives matter more than others!) which is very frustrating.

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    • Dina Honour August 12, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      Thanks for this. Who better to speak the truth than a mother who can daily SEE the difference in the way her children are treated? I am white and I am tired of trying to explain to people how and why racism exists, I can’t even being to IMAGINE what it feels like for a black American parent to have to repeat and repeat ad nauseam and then have folks invalidate their experience by refusing to acknowledge it. The only comparison I have is being a woman and having to repeatedly time and time again point out why American woman are NOT equal to American men, why globally women are still constantly in danger and fighting for rights. So thank you for sharing this. As someone pointed out, if you truly meant All lives matter, then you should have no problem with the BLM movement.

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