The Westerly Sun

June 8, 2020


“Black Lives Matter” arose in the context that historically they did not. At least they never mattered as much as white lives. It’s always been taken for granted that white lives matter, so there was never seen to be a reason for any white person to articulate that obvious fact. However, when black people said, very recently, that “Black Lives Matter,” the response from some, perhaps many, white people was to say that “All Lives Matter.”

It seems to me that “All Lives Matter” is a devious way for some, perhaps many, white folks to negate the need for black folks to finally stand up and rightfully claim their full personhood and citizenship. “Black Lives Matter” is a reply to centuries of systemic white supremacy. On the other hand, “All Lives Matter” is white supremacy’s response, when forced to defend itself, to act as if racism and its resultant effects of exploitation and inequality never really happened.

As I see it, if “All Lives Matter” had always been the truth in the history of this country, there never would have been such atrocities visited upon black people as slavery, Jim Crow, convict-leasing, redlining, a prison-industrial complex where a minority of Americans are in the majority and now, most recently, a greater impact from coronavirus than that visited upon the rest of society.

People now claiming “All Lives Matter” are centuries late to the party. “All Lives Matter” is actually a pretense that would have us white people believe “Black Lives Matter” is unnecessary because that has always been the reality. In light of American history as it really was, not as it was taught to me in high school, I see that as another morally repugnant falsehood to be added to the long unbroken line of injustices that preceded it.

David Madden


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