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LINK How to Respond When Someone Says “All Lives Matter”

This may be the first useful thing I've seen in Reader's Digest in 45 years.

'Conversations about race are difficult even in the best of times. But over this past contentious year, Americans—both White and BIPOC—have argued over different perspectives on race relations, including whether Critical Race Theory should be taught in schools, how prevalent institutional racism actually is, whether there can be voting-rights restrictions, and the idea of police reform. But few issues are more polarizing than the language people use in their conversations about how to stop racism or whether racism even exists. That's why you've probably heard the slogan "Black Lives Matter" countered with the phrase "All Lives Matter."

But that response is not only insensitive—it is also completely off-point and lacks historical context, explains David W. Campt, PhD, an expert in cultural competence and the founder of The Dialogue Company. "Of course all lives matter," he explains. "The reason that I say Black Lives Matter is because, historically, the sad fact is that all lives haven't mattered equally. That is why I and others are pointing out that Black lives matter also."

Matthew Harper, PhD, an associate professor of History and Africana Studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, puts it simply: We should be upset when police kill unarmed Black people. Full stop. "If it's divisive, it shows that we have a real big problem in our society," he says. "It means that, on some level, a good number of us think that Black lives—or at least certain Black lives—are disposable." To counter this statement, he suggests saying: "It's only divisive if we don't think that Black lives matter. It's actually a very modest claim. All it says is these people who are being killed deserve not to be killed."'

Paul4747 8 Nov 26

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I told a colleague that i find "all lives matter" offensive becaues coopts the issue and trivializes it. He could not agree me because to him its a true statement. He is a republican. I rest my case.

JGal Level 7 Nov 26, 2022

No one has said to my face that "all lives matter," but if someone did, I would say, "True, but until it is demonstrated that Black lives matter as much as white lives--or fetuses--it needs to be emphasized that BLM.


IMO when someone says “ Black Lives Matter” some people hear “White Lives Don’t Matter”. They immediately go into defensive mode rather than honestly listening and attempting to empathize.

True. I'm also amazed that it is white people who always tell us all about Black Lives Matter.

Being defensive doesn't mean they don't empathize. Said differently they might even become allies. How about Black Lives Matter Equally? It strikes me that a lot of the arguments stem from initial messaging (sometimes born during the emotional height of protest) and then both sides dig in.

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