Yes. Yes they do.
As I am a bit slow on the uptake, when I first heard the phrase, “Black lives matter,” my first thought was, “All lives matter.” Yet, somehow it felt wrong when I said it. If all lives matter, then black lives do matter. So, why my immediate dismissal of the phrase?
I have since realized there is a specific movement that has taken this statement of fact as a slogan, as the identity of their movement.
In the ensuing days after the shootings in Dallas, the Black Lives Matter movement was implicitly blamed for the shootings. Former Mayor Giuliani has publicly stated that the movement is racist. And of course we have now had a petition to formally list this group as a terrorist organization in wake of the specific targeting of police officers.
Yet the march in Dallas was organized by Reverend Jeff Hood, who has no apparent ties to that movement and is a white Baptist minister. And so we see how quickly a statement of fact is co-opted and politicized. Perceived power bases attract those seeking power. Lots of angry emotional people are a ready-made power base. And currently there are lots of angry emotional people. In the stampede for power, Truth is also a victim.
And what is the truth? Black lives do matter. Stop saying “All lives matter.” Don’t say “Asian lives matter, white lives matter, black lives matter.” To do so is to tacitly dismiss the idea that black lives matter.
No one has felt the need to state “White lives matter.” But quite apparently someone felt the need to say, “Black Lives Matter.” In response, start saying, “Yes they do.” Own the truth of that statement. Let it seep in. Recognize a plea for help when you hear one. Stand in solidarity with your fellow man. Ignore the politics, don’t be manipulated. It’s a true statement. Recognize it. Respond in love.