So, the other day I got wrapped up on a Facebook thread discussion/argument over this image. Now I understand that people have a problem with the various sides of these issues and what not, but that isn’t what I am here to write about.
What I do want to comment on is this counter movement that is #AllLivesMatter. I can’t comment on the broader strokes at work here, but from what I have read on the news and seen on my varied Facebook feed has been really revealing.
What I have seen is that most #AllLivesMatter supporters assume a defensive position in a debate, because they feel that their livelihoods has been encroached upon. They will be the first to point out that everyone should respect all life, but only to the point that it doesn’t make them uncomfortable. I am going to explain this positioning in a few moments.
I want to talk about what it means to stand by the statement that #AllLivesMatter. This entails that you respect life as it coincides with human persons. It in turn means that life should be defined as the well-being of those persons, which would entail that they have food, water, shelter. This is of course speaking very broadly, but I can safely assume that we can agree on that.
Now to go a step further I want to look at that third aspect, “shelter”, and analyze what this means. For this discussion, I believe “shelter” includes security. In our current soceity climate, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has grown out of the injustice that African Americans are not afforded the same security that is given to the majority of the populace. With the numerous injustices of Laquan McDonald and Tamir Rice, without getting into the nitty gritty of “police procedure” or “they got what was coming to them” sort of arguments, we have to recognize that these two individuals were children and they were not the only cases this year.
If #AllLivesMatter than why do we think it’s acceptable for police to arrive on a scene without proper assessment and open fire? If #AllLivesMatter than why do we believe it’s okay to subject refugees to the pain and suffering of war? If #AllLivesMatter than why do the homeless, poor and mentally incapable rest on the streets?
My own experience over these past few months with the #AllLivesMatter stereotype has been with white males, like myself, that feel somehow persecuted, because what they want isn’t good enough. Their voices are no longer singular in what they have to say. This may not be true for all, but if you can agree with my previous paragraph then this doesn’t apply to you.
What this hashtag is ultimately covering up is guilt and the conceit, because they cannot admit that they are wrong. They cannot dignify the other side with a real response, because that would make them gain validity in the common discussion.
The implicit fear that #AllLivesMatter have towards refugees, of possibly being terrorists even though those instances are very few and far between, isn’t good enough to deny them sanctuary. Sure, I understand the concept of protecting family and country, though I’m cynical of the latter. Yet, protecting and fostering life is a RISK. It always has been and will keep being a risk for as long as there are living creatures.
Parents know the risk entailed. They can only protect their kids for so long before they go out on their own. All the things that I myself got into when I was a tot was potentially dangerous. Living by its very virtue takes into account of risk and that is why our cars, buildings, and other contraptions all have warning labels or safety features on them. We use some of these objects daily, despite them being so much more dangerous than some stranger walking down the street.
People are like that too. We don’t have control over them. That’s the beauty of all of us having our own free will and person hood. We have to take the risk and welcome them into our communities and homes. Alienating them doesn’t help anyone and I would go as far as to say that it works in a counter productive manner. And this doesn’t even just apply to refugees obviously, but any group of people that is different from our own.
In short, if we are going to take up arms with certain movements and phrases we must be ready to stand by them. If one is going to claim that #AllLivesMatter then they must be ready to defend life in all it’s forms and phases. If you cannot then you shouldn’t be espousing the position or supporting its cause.