As I mentioned two weeks ago, I do my best not to get overly political on here. But at the same time, I cannot be silent while so many are hurting. Again, this isn’t about me. I know I speak from a place of privilege. I also know that I have a small but decent following on here. This is my platform and I intend to use it for the benefit of those whose voices aren’t being heard.
In the past few weeks, as I scroll through social media, I am heartened by all the “Black Lives Matter” posts. But at the same time, I am disheartened by the almost equal response of “All Lives Matter.”
Yes, in general, lives do matter. However, the point of Black Lives Matter (BLM) is not to exclude. Rather, it is to draw attention to the specific area of need. I’ve seen several analogies on Facebook of what people sound like when they say All lives matter. My favorite one is this: Imagine a house in your neighborhood is on fire. It is secluded to the one house and will not spread to other houses. The owners are crying out, asking for help, and saying their house is on fire. People are coming to help put out the fire. Are you going to stand on your porch and say, “well, don’t all the houses in the neighborhood matter?” That is the equivalent to saying all lives matter. Black lives are the ones in danger. We say Black Lives Matter because for so long, they haven’t.
Being a supporter of BLM is not about trying to be a hero or a savior. Theoretically, they can save themselves. However, the reality is much more complicated than that. If you read my post two weeks ago, you saw that I wrote about a brief history of racism in America. (read it here) I didn’t cover everything, and I recognize that. But though the BLM movement may be new, the need for it is not.
Harpers Bazaar started out their article by saying this, “Black lives did not matter when they were inhumanely transported like livestock from Africa. Black lives did not matter when they were lynched by the hundreds at the hands of the KKK. Black lives did not matter when they were attacked by dogs as they protested for equal rights.” They go on to say later, “Anyone who has kept any type of pulse on civil rights and the black human condition in the United States since the transatlantic slave trade would understand the need to emphasize the protection of black bodies. The people who have had the luxury of ignoring this particular issue is the white community, which has had the privilege of not questioning—on a large scale—whether the systems they live in are detrimental to their livelihoods, based on their skin color.”
If you recall from my post two weeks ago, I said that “it was easier and cheaper to keep importing slaves than it was to actually treat them well.” I talked about the KKK as well. I didn’t give all the details, but it’s there. We cry that Black Lives Matter because for so long they haven’t. Slavery, sharecropping, KKK, and Civil Rights are all examples of that. When you say “All Lives Matter,” you are neglecting history and sweeping all of these issues under the rug. Elle.com puts it this way: “Its opponents suggest that it implies Black lives matter more than those of others, with some proposing the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ be used in its place.” We’re not trying to say that. We are just trying to bring awareness to what Black communities and people face on the daily.
Harpers Bazaar makes this really good point in their article: “This is because there is a fundamental understanding that when the parts of society with the most pain and lack of protection are cared for, the whole system benefits.” It’s not about decreasing the rights or freedoms of white people. That has never been an issue in this country, even if it’s always the fear. It is about improving Black communities to make everyone better. A Black man on a panel in Illinois about race said, “I personally feel that ‘all lives matter’ is a response to just hush us from saying ‘black lives matter.'”
When you say “All Lives Matter,” to me, what you’re really saying is “This issue that you’re facing can’t be real because I’m not facing it.” That right there is why you need to say Black Lives Matter. I’m white. I recognize that I won’t be able to identify with the issues Black communities face. But I can support them and amplify their voices. This way, we can work to make them better. Elle.com says this, “Until international institutions and citizens begin to recognize that and act like Black lives do matter than the phrase ‘all lives matter’ ignores the reality that not everyone’s life is at risk due to their skin color.”
“All lives matter” is a truthful statement. But it’s not accurate. ALL lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about everyone who is hurting. It’s about wanting to help.
Another thing I don’t do on here often is talk about faith. I’m a Christian, but I make a point not to mention that on here. But in this instance, it all ties together. Many of the people who are the ones to say “All Lives Matter,” also claim to be Christian. I’m not trying to call you out on your faith and say that you’re not. But I am trying to point out that ignoring the pain that Black lives and communities are facing is not very Christian. James 2:15-16 (ESV) says, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” I know this passage is talking about faith without works, but it is very relevant to the BLM movement. They are hurting. They are in need. It should be our jobs as Christians to want to help. 1 John 3:17 (ESV) says, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” If you really are a Christian like you claim to be, then why are you not wanting to help? One of the best ways to demonstrate Christ’s love for the world is by helping those in need. Lastly, Galatians 6:2 (ESV) says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Christians are supposed to be loving and helping people. It is the Black communities that need help, and we should be there.
I honestly don’t normally, but I hope this makes you uncomfortable. I hope this challenges why you think you need to say “All lives matter.” I hope, whether through religion or morality, that you take a long look at your beliefs and why you believe them. I refuse to be silent because, as I said two weeks ago, doing so would only allow this to continue. We need to change. We as a society need to do and be better. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about community. It’s about the fact that so many are hurting and facing all kinds of problems, including death, for their skin color. I’m not expecting you to immediately change your mind, but I am hoping this challenges you. I am hoping that this inspires you to take a long look at your beliefs. There are so many good links and people out there if you have questions. I’m always available. If I don’t know an answer, then I will gladly do what I can to help you find an answer.