When we say “all lives matter”, it hurts people. “All Lives Matter” feels like happy birthday to everyone at your party.
But why? Glad you asked. This is important.
“Red and yellow, black, and white, they are precious in God’s sight.” Right?. It does not matter where you were born, to whom, what color or gender, how much money you have, what abilities or personality – none of it matters. We each have value just for being alive.
Got it? Good.
While all this is absolutely true, the timing is insensitive. To say “All Lives Matter” in direct response to “Black Lives Matter” is not helpful. Here is why.
Some people feel like their lives don’t matter and that should matter
Our brothers and sisters of color are crying out because they’ve been made to feel like their lives do not matter. Do you hear this? A segment of the citizens of our country, the land of the free and the home of the brave, feel like to you and me we do not care if they are dead or alive. That breaks my heart. Because that is heart-breaking.
Therefore, we are collectively taking time and effort and attention to stand with our black friends and family to bring awareness to the systematic problem that is racism in America. Whether you can see it or not or agree racism exists, that doesn’t really matter right this second. So hold that thought.
You might not agree with every line of the Black Lives Matter movement. I cannot say I agree with every single line of anything in this world. THAT is not the point. That is not the problem here. We get it. You are uncomfortable. We are all uncomfortable in some way or another.
Discomfort is NOT our enemy. Hatred is.
We are letting our Neighbors know we celebrate their lives. So we listen.
Happy Birthday to…
To illustrate, consider this. On your birthday, I hope you get a party to celebrate your life. If so, we will give you cards and presents, write YOUR NAME on the cake with colorful, sweet icing and we sing TO YOU.
It’s your day!
What if I arrived at a birthday party for a friend. I walked in, gather up all the gifts and passed each one out to all the lives. What if I got a butter knife and scraped off the guest of honor’s name and wrote all the guests’ names on the cake because they all deserved a slice.
Then I lead in the singing of “Happy Birthday to Everyone”?
That would be so rude (and odd).
In light of that, it is similar to saying all lives matter in response to the BLM movement right now. Our Neighbors of color are saying something. Things that need to be said. And heard. I need to hear it. We all do.
This is their party, so to speak. And they can cry if they want to.
I am glad you were born!
Just like the birthday party example, no one is saying we aren’t glad you were born. I am glad so you were born! Your life matters.
But right now we celebrate our Neighbors’ lives because they are not sure if their lives matter to everyone.
Does that help with understanding how “All Lives” could be taken to mean something hurtful?
Copyright © 2020 Altogether Mostly, All rights reserved.
If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to read about a time when I spoke up for anti-racism, When I Spoke Up (link).
Link to resources to start the process to educate ourselves on racism and help in the anti-racism fight:
Understanding Privilege (link)
Anti-Racism Resources (link)
Blaming Trump is Too Easy (link)
Tools for Anti-Racism (link)
Latasha Morrison on Instagram (link)
I know this topic can feel so difficult to talk about. Feedback is welcome and I will allow honest questions seeking to understand and kind, constructive, and on-topic comments.