Why #AllLivesMatter is a Racial Slur

#BlackLivesMatter is a call to action for every race, every person. Its explosion upon the human consciousness testifies to its organic creation, how it so well captures a critical moment in civilization’s crawl upward. It has permanently altered our group consciousness, and that will never change.

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Flickr/creative commons

#BlackLivesMatter (#BLM) is conjoined with other moments in time, of course, for example, Hurricane Katrina, which brought about a national tragedy starkly divided along racial lines. The civil rights movement itself is connected to #BlackLivesMatter too. Although the dynamics 50 years ago may be different from the strategies employed now, there is a great deal of common ground yet to be discovered — ageism should never be a reason to cut ourselves off from knowledge that can help today’s cause.

Having said that, I’ve had to have a number of long chats with white friends still trying to understand just what enrages me and #BLM activists when we hear the counterpoint, #AllLivesMatter. White people are slow to understand that #AllLivesMatter only expresses their privileged point of view, a world where, in their mind’s eye, every life is, or ought to be, cherished. They fail to understand, or even try to understand, how hurtful it is to people who are literally afraid of losing their life at this very moment because of racial prejudice, poverty, and government injustice.

#AllLivesMatter is the white supremacy viewpoint, I point out, because their thinking goes like this: My (white) life matters, and because I’m progressive, I care about all lives, including black lives. Or (white) lives were laid down 50 years ago for black lives, so my (white) life matters, and because I’m progressive, I care about all lives, including black lives. Or, they’ll counter that #AllLivesMatter is true within some philosophical construct, the fullness of a perfected infinite eternity, etc.

If you want to be a trusted ally, stop saying or defending #AllLivesMatter whenever you hear #BlackLivesMatter. That shouldn’t be a white person’s trigger to make it all about themselves, because it most assuredly is not. Instead, get to know your own community and become politically active. If you are somewhere where there is all white people, find out why it isn’t racially diverse and then do something, speak up. Instead of reacting to the words, #BlackLivesMatter, answer it with a question, “What can I do to help?”

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Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner is co-founder of VenusPlusX, and writes frequently on global sexual freedom, American fundamentalists exporting hate and homophobia, and grassroots activism.
Alison Gardner