Perhaps the missing element in this conversation is that the phrase “all lives matter” came about as a social media response to “black lives matter.”

In most of Canada (I’m Canadian) Indigenous women go missing at a horrifying rate. And no one looks for them. So imagine if every time another woman went missing, Indigenous people started using a hashtag that said #IndigenousWomenMatter — and then someone posted back and said #AllWomenMatter.

Can you see how that comes across as dismissive? Same thing.

If a white man was having an epileptic seizure on the ground, police wouldn’t shoot him. But make it a black man and you know the rest. Police don’t shoot little white boys playing with toy guns. They don’t wrestle white girls for being out on a bicycle. They don’t arrest white men for standing outside the mall.
(unless they’re homeless. Then it’s a different story)

So when black people are being killed at an alarming rate, and they post on social media using a tag that says #BlackLivesMatter and white people respond by saying All Lives matter — it IS dismissive. Also, disrespectful.

And honestly, it’s not about what YOU think or what *I* think. It’s about their experience, not ours. Personally, I think one of the most insidious parts OF privilege is how free white people feel to staple our opinion on someone else’s experience.

Written by

Top writer. Featured in NYT, Forbes.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store