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.