It is true to say that all lives matter. They always have and always will. So why then is this considered to be the wrong response to “Black Lives Matter?” The idea itself makes sense, after all Martin Luther did say:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”
Black people at the time wanted to be treated as equals, not to be treated any different because of the colour of their skin, so to think that we should not have to see race is perhaps a natural conclusion, however it is also rooted in ignorance, denial and a sense of passivity. It presents itself as a rebuttal to the idea that issues faced by black people are unique to them, when in reality black people are facing all kinds of discrimination every day.
In Ben Lindsay’s book “We Need to Talk About Race,” he discusses the idea of racial diversity without inclusivity. He notes that living in a diverse community without a sense of inclusivity can be a source of resentment, frustration, and isolation for the black person. Such is the result of being misunderstood. The term “All Lives Matter” seems to accept diversity but refuse inclusivity, as though we are all one generic fit with similar struggles. To quote Ben Lindsay again, “The danger in disregarding difference is that we risk creating a dominant, generic monoculture, a one-size fits all model, while ignoring the complex tapestry of the community surrounding us.”
We say Black Lives Matter because black lives have been overlooked, black people still face discrimination, black people are still socially isolated, disproportionately affected by poverty, and negatively affected in more ways than we know. We say Black Lives Matter as an act of solidarity, and as a signal that we want change, we want to be visible and we want our uniqueness to be recognized.
So in conclusion, yes all lives matter, and that includes black lives which have been overlooked long enough and therefore the Black Lives Matter movement is necessary.
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