Why #AllLivesMatter Is Incongruous

It’s simple.  #AllLivesMatter isn’t true until #BlackLivesMatter.

From the Washington Post (click image): “The Black Lives Matter sign outside the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation was vandallized to remove the word “Black” in July. (Courtesy of Rev. Nancy Ladd/)

The right wing  is all over the #AllLivesMatter counterpoint.  Even liberal standard-bearer Senator Bernie Sanders has botched this.

Here is a typical thought that I’ve heard spammed all over KINS over the past weeks as they glory in the #blacklivesmatter movement rightfully taking it to the bastions of contemporary liberalism – Netroots Nation and Bernie Sanders rallies.

But the confused and pointless anger of the Black Lives Matter crowd is a turn-off for the swing voters the Democrats will ultimately need in 2016, even though Democratic candidates won’t say so.

– Ed Rogers in the Washington Post “The Black Lives Matter movement is bad for Democrats

In that same article Mr. Rogers, whose politics can be understood with the following … he formed a lobbying group with former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, wrote this

The Black Lives Matter movement appears to be louder and more pointed, but is perhaps even more aimless than Occupy.

What Mr. Rogers doesn’t get is that Occupy is still with us.  The language and memes of Occupy has shifted our country’s thinking.  Occupy, along with the continuing reality it was reacting too, is what is allowing for Bernie’s candidacy to take off.

#BlackLivesMatter will be similarly successful in the future, but will similarly suffer from the fact that the difficult changes necessary in our society will not come overnight.

At least Mr. Rogers understood one thing.  He wrote…

The Black Lives Matter movement is misguided, much like Occupy Wall Street. Their dishonest, anti-police views belong exclusively in the Democratic Party. Gasp! Yes, I said it.

You did say it Ed, and you are right.  Both Occupy and #BlackLivesMatter are exclusively in the Democratic Party.  The Republican Party enthusiastically remains the party protecting the rights of entitled, bigoted, angry, white, real estate developers who have inherited their wealth.

In the meantime Bernie and Democrats need to understand and continue the arc of history that has taken us from the Civil War through the Voting Rights Act to today.  We need to continue this progression remembering that in order for all lives to matter, we must include black lives.

Black lives like Trayvon Martin (killed: 2/26/2012), Michael Brown (killed: 7/17/2014), Eric Garner (killed: 8/9/2014), Tamir Rice (killed: 11/22/2014), Walter Scott (killed: 4/4/15), Freddie Gray (died: 4/12/15),  Sandra Bland (died: 7/15/2015), Samuel DuBose (killed: 7/19/2015).  These lives mattered among hundreds or thousands more.  Millions in America matter today.  Let’s build a justice (not to mention economic) system that demonstrates that #BlackLivesMatter.

So, again, why is #AllLivesMatter incongruous?  NYT columnist Charles Blow summed it up brilliantly.

That is why when people respond to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter,” it grates. All Lives Matter may be one’s personal position, but until this country values all lives equally, it is both reasonable and indeed necessary to specify the lives it seems to value less.

All Americans need to recognize this, and our history…yesterday.


Think Progress:  Report: Black Male Teens Are 21 Times More Likely To Be Killed By Cops Than White Ones

Vox:  This chart explains why black people fear being killed by the police

Washington Post: From Trayvon Martin to “black lives matter”

Brave New Films: Racism is Real

Brave New Films:  Prison System by the Numbers

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