Scenario 1: “My dog was hit by a car! Somebody help!” A man approaches and says, “All dogs matter.” Ok. Great. But my dog was just hit by a car and he needs help. Your platitude ignores my dog’s injury and denies any help you might provide.
Scenario 2: My son is diagnosed with cancer. I don’t have the financial means to pay for adequate treatment. I ask friends and family for help, as people do in these situations. My brother responds to my plea with the straw figure, “All children matter.” Fantastic. I never implied otherwise. I’m not saying my child matters more than others, or that other children don’t matter. But my son is currently in a unique situation that calls for your attention and compassion. I can’t treat or cure my son’s affliction by telling him, “All children matter.” Those words don’t cure cancer.
Scenario 3: A woman sails in the Atlantic when she passes a man whose boat has capsized. The freezing water inches the man closer and closer to hypothermia. He begs for her help. The man whimpers, “Help. My boat capsized. I’m dying.” She replies, “You’re being ridiculous. Boats PREVENT people from drowning. I LOVE boats. Why are attacking boats?” He pleads with her, “But MY boat flipped over. If you don’t help me, I’ll lose my life. My life matters.” The woman comes back with, “ALL lives matter.”
The point? If your response to “Black Lives Matter” is, “All lives matter,” you clearly don’t think ALL lives matter. If the man in scenario one won’t call 911 for my dog, he doesn’t value my dog’s life. If my brother can but won’t donate to my son’s cancer treatment fund, he’s lying to himself when he says, “All lives matter.” If the woman in scenario three allows the man to sink into a blue abyss, she is COMPLICIT IN HIS DEATH.
You can only value ALL lives when you stop ignoring how some groups of people are routinely brutalized and destroyed at an epidemic proportion in this country. Try STARTING at Black Lives Matter, then work your way up to EARNESTLY being able to say, “All lives matter.”