Black Lives Matter not because other lives don’t but because other lives are not targeted for the color of their skin in the same way black lives are targeted. Other lives don’t garner the same automatic prejudicial suspicions nor do other lives need to worry as much about being mistaken for being a dangerous perpetrator that immediately justifies the use of excessive force against them by law enforcement officials. That latter presumption too many times has resulted in unnecessary and unjustified tragic deaths. Saying “All lives Matter” against this context then becomes an offensive remark if not as great as someone who had employed the use of an unspeakable derogatory word in their smug response to this legitimate call for justice then something very close.
Only the naively ignorant or people who have white supremacist sentiments buried in their subconscious think that “All Lives Matter” would be an appropriate response to the idea that “Black Lives Matter.” Perhaps this response that “All Lives Matter” might be said without ever realizing how dismissive they are being of the just cause that is so appropriately and passionately articulated by the “Black Lives Matter” movement. But make no mistake, responding with the statement that “All Lives Matter” is an offensive refutation of the notation that the equality and respect that is granted to all other American lives is also required to be granted to black American lives too.
The message that “Black Lives Matter” needs to be properly heard. It needs to be properly respected. It needs to be properly understood. And real reforms towards that end need to be properly implemented.
“Black Lives Matter” is not exclusive. “Black Lives Matter” is an inclusive call and, indeed, it is the God given American right to be included in the contract specified in our Declaration of Independence that emphatically states: “all men are created equal.” Along with the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is the inference that all have the right to be treated equally without prejudice in the eyes of the law, to be recognized and respected as human beings that matter
But this contract has fallen severely short when it comes to Black Lives as demonstrated time and time again when tragedies at the hands of law enforcement are more often experienced by Black American lives and less often experienced by other American lives. That’s why the only response to “Black Lives Matter” is, “yes, they absolutely do matter.” No other flippant, dismissive, knee-jerk unthoughtful, foolishly un-clever counter response can ever be acceptable if you truly believe in the rights of all people regardless of skin color, if you truly believe in the words in our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and if you truly want to celebrate our nation’s independence today as a proud American dedicated to the self-rule and the rights of all people.
So, let’s celebrate our 4th of July, our Independence Day, 2020, in a social distancing safe way but also keeping this in mind: “Black Lives Matter” so that all lives can share in our inclusive American contract defined in our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.”