Commentary on ‘11 Things White People Need To Realize About Race’

In my view, “black lives matter” was a flawed phrase from the beginning, since it practically begs for people to diminish it by saying “all lives matter”, and because it tends to put white people (many of whom have very little understanding of modern racism) on the defensive without providing any constructive information to help them understand the reality of how racism exists today.

The article cites a tweet where Matt McGorry draws a nice analogy between ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Save the Rainforests’:

#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean other lives don’t. Like people who say “Save The Rainforests” aren’t saying “Fuck All Other Types of Forests”

The analogy is apt — enough so, that it’s worth a little thought experiment: What if, rather than #BlackLivesMatter, we were using #SaveTheBlackLives?

#BlackLivesMatter, while apt in its implications of how black lives are valued in American society, has the effect of putting white citizens into a defensive mindset, and the message is so easily undermined by “all lives matter”.

#SaveTheBlackLives is more positive. It acknowledges the inequalities that need to be fixed, but rather than implying that white people don’t care about black lives, it implies the opposite . Rather than insisting foremost that white people are part of the problem, it invites them (and everyone else) to join the cause.

I’m not saying that #SaveTheBlackLives is the best slogan, but I do think it’s probably better than #BlackLivesMatter, and I think it’s worth thinking about how, even though #BlackLivesMatter had good intentions, it probably wasn’t the best choice of slogan.

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