One of several mind-boggling aspects of the whole O’Malley / Sanders Town Hall debacle is the insistence of white progressives that saying “all lives matter” is an acceptable response when asked whether black lives matter.
I was confronted with this on Saturday at Netroots Nation, and again yesterday on Facebook. I even encountered genuine anger about Martin O’Malley apologizing for saying all lives matter.
I struggled in responding, because to me it’s instinctive that “all lives matter” is an inappropriate, unfeeling response. That’s the mind-boggling part. I can’t believe people need this explained to them. Especially those who consider themselves progressives.
I’m guessing Donna encounters this feeling on a regular basis from commenters to her posts who need an explanation why their chauvinistic (or even misogynistic) comments are unacceptable. Donna, I’m feeling your pain.
“All lives matter” is dismissive. It’s an implicit denial that racial disparities exist. People really need this explained to them?
This issue has taken on a life of its own. Dara Lind, at vox.com, addresses it well in Why Martin O’Malley had to apologize for saying “all lives matter” Any progressive who is struggling with why “all lives matter” is not okay should read Lind’s entire piece, but I’ll share this analogy she quoted from Reddit, which is brilliant in its simplicity:
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!
So, white progressives who insist that “all lives matter” is okay as a response to “Black Lives Matter”, after reading that analogy, do you still not get it?