6 Reasons Why “All Lives Matter” Is Neither Fair Nor Helpful

Articles | July 12 2016

by Susana Rinderle, MA, ACC

One week: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas. Finally, the number of White people moved to action against racism is reaching a tipping point, yet tired clichés like “violence isn’t the answer” and “we must unite” threaten to keep us stuck. “All lives matter” is perhaps the kindest and least helpful of these clichés, to the point of being dangerous. Here are six reasons why, followed by three concrete actions that are helpful.

All Lives Matter focuses on what should be. Black Lives Matter focuses on what is. Everyone (with 892 exceptions) wants racism to be over. The belief that Black people are being divisive or complaining unjustifiably about racism and violence is bigoted, because it assumes Black folks are either lazy with nothing better to do than whine, or incapable of living their lives without a handout. Black Lives Matter isn’t divisive, it’s responding to and calling out divisions that were already there. Black Lives Matter isn’t taking us back to the 1960’s, it’s calling out the fact that in many ways Black life is worse than it was in the 1960’s. These divisions and problems may be new to White people, but that doesn’t make them new. Just as women are more qualified than men to identify sexism and LGBT people are more qualified than straight people to identify homophobia, people of color are the best qualified to identify racism – not White people. Our job is to listen to the feedback, take it seriously, and act.  (Read More)