The other day I posted a link to another blog about how #BlackLivesMatter should matter to Humanists on the iHumanism Facebook page (cheap plug for the Facebook page here). Someone left a comment about how ‘all lives matter not just black ones.’ Besides being a ridiculous and in some cases a racist response, if you have a problem with #BlackLivesMatter then the problem might be you.
Here is the blurb I included with the link:
If you’re a Humanist, there is a reason #BlackLivesMatter right now and a reason you should listen. If you’re a Humanist and aren’t paying attention to what is happening to other Humans or the inequality and suffering that exist for them, you’re doing Humanism wrong. Focusing on white only aspects of Humanism, makes you a white only Humanist, which by that distinction doesn’t really make you much of a humanist.
I agree with the article and the point being made. #BlackLivesMatter should be a concern for all Humanists.
Responding that we should be colorblind or that “all lives matter” makes you look stupid and depending on who you are makes you look racist and that was exactly the point of the article.
It really bothers me when someone comments based only on the title and it is obvious they never read the article at the link.
Some other things to consider when thinking of using the “all lives matter” response:
Semantics matter. Here’s academic Judith Butler explaining why to the New York Times:
“When some people rejoin with ‘All Lives Matter’ they misunderstand the problem, but not because their message is untrue. It is true that all lives matter, but it is equally true that not all lives are understood to matter which is precisely why it is most important to name the lives that have not mattered, and are struggling to matter in the way they deserve.
I mean only to say that we cannot have a race-blind approach to the questions: which lives matter? Or, which lives are worth valuing? If we jump too quickly to the universal formulation, ‘all lives matter,’ then we miss the fact that black people have not yet been included in the idea of ‘all lives.’ That said, it is true that all lives matter (we can then debate about when life begins or ends). But to make that universal formulation concrete, to make that into a living formulation, one that truly extends to all people, we have to foreground those lives that are not mattering now, to mark that exclusion, and militate against it. Achieving that universal, ‘all lives matter,’ is a struggle, and that is part of what we are seeing on the streets. For on the streets we see a complex set of solidarities across color lines that seek to show what a concrete and living sense of bodies that matter can be.”
The next time you think about responding to #BlackLivesMatter with “all lives matter” or claim you don’t see color – think again.