Do All Lives Really Matter Right Now?
Oh, great. Another 'woke' white person is about to tell everyone else what to think in an article centered around race. Perhaps that was your reaction upon reading the title to this piece. I recently took a few days off from work, and in doing so took a few days away from social media too. I just couldn't take the countless uneducated takes on what is wrong in America today. Don't get me wrong, the list is long. But to say that race doesn't play a part? I'm sure you've seen plenty of people post the phrase 'All Lives Matter." While I truly believe that some of the people that post this have genuinely good intentions, the phrase isn't correct.
Now I could sit here and tell you all my feelings on the issue, but I thought it might be better to bring in a friend to do that. His name is Don Black, and he is a black man living in America in 2020. He is actually also on the radio, at a station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I've known Don for a long time. He used to work for KRNA years ago. We've talked about a lot of issues before, including race. I wanted to get his take, hear in his words, why the phrase "All Lives Matter" doesn't help right now. Here is what Don had to say.
Why do you have a problem with Black Lives Matter?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of matters as a verb means to be of importance. But throughout America's history, it seems the only time people of color are viewed as important is if they are entertaining or working.
Our feelings about how we are treated or what we want out of life are not to be heard. Think I'm lying? When Lebron James made a statement about politics, he was told to "Shut up and Dribble. His opinion didn't matter. He's a basketball player. What does he know?”
He knows how he feels. He knows frustration. He knows that in his position, his words matter. His life matters. He's not better than anybody else. He wants to let people know that he has words of importance.
If all lives truly mattered, you wouldn't try to stop someone from talking or expressing their outrage. If all lives truly mattered, you would want to listen to someone who says they are hurting, or they feel like they have been treated less than a person.
The term Black Lives Matter came about to make sure that people know that our lives matter just as much as anyone else’s. We should be treated the same as you. But we aren't. Shouting All Lives Matters is like dismissing our argument. It's like saying Black Lives Don't Matter.
We can agree that everybody’s house is important. But if one was on fire, wouldn't you pay attention to it and try to put it out and make sure everyone is ok? The Black Community is telling you that the way it is being treated is not ok. We are hurting.
If all lives really mattered, you would really want to hear what we have to say and help to make sure we all looked at as equals.
All lives will never matter until you admit that our lives matter too.
I want to thank Don for writing that and sharing his feelings. I hope that you can feel and hear his hurt and pain. The bottom line is that all lives don't matter, until Black Lives Matter. And if you have issues understanding that, then ask for help. Ask a friend or acquaintance about the issue. My life experiences have been different than they would have for a black man my age. I realize that. But to find out why, and more about what we can do to stop systematic racism in our society we must stop and do something very important.