A recent protest movement by African-Americans has chosen the simple, but profound, slogan “Black Lives Matter.” The movement was born in the wake of a rash of deaths of black citizens, most often by the hands of law enforcement members, which left many in the black community outraged. Black Lives Matter is an attempt to remind the larger population that the death of a black young person matters as much as the death of any other young person – but too often, it is not treated that way.
Almost on cue, many people have responded to Black Lives Matter by coining a new phrase: All Lives Matter. Their point, I suppose, is to insist that all deaths are tragic and why would we dare suggest that only the deaths of black citizens deserve attention? I’m not sure if they’re missing the point, or deliberately trying to minimize a problem that should never be minimized. It seems that the All Lives movement is saying, Black Lives Matter Doesn’t Matter.
And I very much disagree.
[insert stats on police brutality and violence]
Invoking All Lives Matter isn’t the only way the subject gets changed. What about black-on-black crime, we are asked, whenever a white-on-black or cop-on-civilian crime is committed. The subtext is this: these people have no right to be outraged when they do a heck of a lot of killing themselves. And let’s call it for what it is – a rationalization, a pathetic attempt to explain away an uncomfortable problem, an effort to show that you just don’t care.
Stop changing the subject. The black community feels targeted. And they feel that because, frankly, they are being targeted. Injustice is no longer just an accusation; we are seeing it happen, through footage from dashcams and cellphones. God through his grace and sovereignty has seen fit to provide this window into dark places thanks to technology. Will we face up to what we actually see, or change the subject yet again?