Friday, July 8, 2016

Politics - Fuck All Lives Matter

Politics - Fuck All Lives Matter

With the recent spate of news regarding "Black Lives Matter", there again is the ever present rebuttal that "All Lives Matter." This happens over, and over. It happens with gender, it happens with culture, it happens with religion, it happens with sexual orientation. The thing is, like others have posted, until we started saying #BlackLivesMatter nobody ever said #AllLivesMatter. Until we had #GayPride, there was never a #HeteroSexualPrideDay. #WhiteHistoryMonth sounds ludicrous against #BlackhistoryMonth, and the idea of #MensRights makes us all cringe.

Here's the problem. All Lives Matter, is 'strictly true'. But it's also tone deaf. It's tone deaf because it's not about finding nuance, it's about maintaining status quo. It's about silencing the very real problems people have with what is going on in society right now. GeekAesthete wrote this about why it's not okay.

Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!

The problem is that the statement “I should get my fair share” had an implicit “too” at the end: “I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.” But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant “only I should get my fair share”, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that “everyone should get their fair share,” while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.

That’s the situation of the “black lives matter” movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.

The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn’t work that way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn’t want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That’s not made up out of whole cloth — there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it’s generally not considered “news”, while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate — young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don’t treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don’t pay as much attention to certain people’s deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don’t treat all lives as though they matter equally.

Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase “black lives matter” also has an implicit “too” at the end: it’s saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying “all lives matter” is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It’s a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means “only black lives matter,” when that is obviously not the case. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.

I'm not going to lie, at one point I do recall telling people that I was more for "Equal rights for everyone" and not "LGBTQ Rights" But I now understand better the nuances of speech and what that means. I understand that statement is tone deaf, and ignorant of the real world immediacy which is happening around all of us in society right now, as we speak.

So let's talk facts.

This week, two men, two black men, black americans, were shot and killed while not resisting police.

A white KKK member threatened to pull a gun on an officer at a rally, and nothing happened to him.

Weird. Right?