I recently had to mansplain something. Why all lives matter is the wrong argument. Usually, my conversations (and relationships with said person) end somewhere after the phrase “But all lives matter” is muttered. But after protesting all day in the Cleveland heat, I hoped a conversation would convey our message.
The girl I had the conversation with was an intern from Arizona who was young enough to not remember 9/11. She followed like a baby duckling behind her boss during a lunch break. Her boss marched over and immediately started yelling, arguing, and being the stereotypical Trump supporter. She, on the other hand, asked in a somewhat polite but incredibly shy way why we weren’t arguing for all live mattering.
“When we say black lives matter, we’re not saying Black lives are more important than Native American lives or any other kind of lives. We are saying that lives that our society has consistently treated like second class citizens are of equal value.”
“Well, why don’t you guys protest black on black crime?”
“This issue arises all the time. ‘Why protest cops when you don’t protest black on black murder’ We never condone any kind of crime or murder. Rather this is an issue of justice. I know if almost anyone is killed in the US, then justice will eventually be served. This isn’t the case for Blacks when the police are the ones doing the killing. Just look at Freddie Gray’s case. The police are on a rampage and no justice is being served. When you put these those two factors together it shows how society values black lives less than any other lives and what’s even worse is that they view our lives as expendable.”
She was quiet after I pushed that last point across. She didn’t have much left to say. She sat quietly on a nearby curb while her boss lost a battle of words against a group of my friends. As she walked away, she waved. Not in a manner of confusion or politeness that would have suited her. But one that was almost gracious.