One thing that I have been asked about is the hashtag, all lives matter, that is appearing all over Twitter and Facebook. I have been asked if I like it and should it be used. The short answer to both is NO!
On it's face, it seems good, but let me tell you why it's not good and why it is so offensive to me.
All lives matter was created in response to #BlackLivesMatter by White folks who were offended by that hashtag and wanted to try to say that the murder by police of Black men, women and children was not about race.
Let me tell you why this is highly offensive. All lives matter seeks to erase, indeed, obliterate Black voices in the conversation that IS about us. It is a derailing tactic used to take the focus off of us and make it all about them by equalizing things. It is a manifestation of the discomfort, guilt and defensiveness that many White folks harbor when the conversation is about race.
Look, folks, there is a reason why there is the hashtag, #BlackLivesMattter. That is because Black folks know that all lives matter, but lots of folks don't realize or care that Black lives matter, too. We are dealing with an epidemic that is only recently being realized and understood - that Black folks - men in particular, but also, many women and children - are having our lives ended at the hands of mostly White cops and vigilantes who see us as demons, threats, etc.
Some time ago, I wrote a blog post that I got pushback from the mostly White disability community because we were making the events in Ferguson all about us, instead of centering it where it belonged - on Black lives. I see this same thing happening with White supposed allies, both nondisabled and disabled, around the whole "all lives matter" issue because most cannot acknowledge that this isn't about equality because equality doesn't exist, nor did it ever, no matter how much we want it to. There are some lives that matter far more than others and trying to erase that fact by saying all lives matter isn't going to work.
Here's the deal: I don't do all lives matter because YOURS already matters - it's MINE that doesn't matter! It's ME as a BLACK person who has to assert and prove my humanity time after time. I'm the one who will be murdered for living while Black, then, demonized and blamed for my own death. I have said it before and I'll say it again: I endure FAR more discrimination because of my Black skin than I do as a disabled lesbian!
So, White allies and others, take note: We, as Black people know that all lives matter. Now it's time for you and everyone else to realize that #BlackLivesMatter, and let the focus and centering be on us, where it belongs!