Monday, January 16, 2017

Of Lives and Mattering

I've been looking at this post of mine for several months now, resolving to finish it and post it, just waiting for the appropriate time. The obnoxious, fairly maligned MTV video chiding white males (addressed here last week) makes this seem as good a time as any. It's not going to get any better -- my post, I mean.

The phrase "Black Lives Matter" caused a firestorm, and it begat "All Lives Matter," which was met with equal scorn. After police officers in Dallas were gunned down, many "BLM" advocates clarified  that "BLM" in no way implies "ONLY BLM." Seth Meyers, who a while back decided to abandon all pretense of evenhandedness and go the Full Olbermann, made this point while attacking Rudy Giuliani after Dallas.

I do understand that most who say "black lives matter" do believe that other lives matter, as well, but they also believe that African-Americans are being disproportionately targeted by police. One may agree with that assertion. One may disagree. But at least the conversation can begin from there.

But if "BLM" deserves the benefit of the doubt, then the same is true for "ALM." If people should not mentally add "only" to someone else's "Black Lives Matter," then others should not mentally add "Except Black Lives" to someone else's "All Lives Matter."

Then there are the shoddy Internet comparisons. One argues that saying "all lives matter" is like a fire department hosing down all the houses on the street, not just the one burning, because "all houses matter." Or a surgeon operating on every bone in your body, not just the one that is broken, because "all bones matter." But I look at the lives being lost on the news. Folks, it's not just one house on fire. I see many broken bones, and they're not all one color.

The difference between "BLM" and "ALM" is one of emphasis. Never have so many people who seem to be in agreement argued with each other with such ferocity.


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