All Lives Matter
All Lives Matter became a larger talking point in the 2016 United States presidential election. During the October 2015 Democratic presidential debate candidates were asked the question "Do all lives matter, or do black lives matter?" All three candidates were careful to avoid using the phrase "All Lives Matter" in their responses and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley apologized for using the alternative "all lives matter" slogan in an earlier campaign stop. The change in discourse away from "All Lives Matter" came after criticism from Black Lives Matter supporters and protests during campaign stops.
Several notable individuals have supported All Lives Matter. Its proponents include Senator Tim Scott. American football player Richard Sherman supported the All Lives Matter message, saying "I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings." In June 2015, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton faced backlash after using the phrase "all lives matter" at an African-American church in Missouri during her presidential campaign.
Republicans have been stronger proponents in general of All Lives Matter and harsher critics of the Black Lives Matter movement in general. Senator Rand Paul has argued that Black Lives Matter has focused on the wrong targets and has stated, "I think they should change their name maybe—if they were All Lives Matter, or Innocent Lives Matter." President Donald Trump has stated that "Black Lives Matter" is a divisive term and that the term is inherently racist.
According to an August 2015 poll, 78% of likely American voters said that the statement All Lives Matter was "close[r] to [their] own" point of view than Black Lives Matter was. Only 11% said that the statement Black Lives Matter was closer. Nine percent said that neither statement reflected their own point of view.
The internet facilitates the spread of the message "All Lives Matter" as a response to the Black Lives Matter hashtag as well as the "Blue Lives Matter" hashtag as a response to Beyonce's halftime performance speaking out against police brutality.
At a performance during the 2016 MLB All-Star Game, Remigio Pereira, a member of The Tenors, held up an "All Lives Matter" sign and altered some lyrics to the anthem "O Canada". Pereira sang, "We're all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great," instead of the lines, "With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free." Even after criticism, he defended his statement, tweeting "I speak for the human race and the lives of all sentient beings. Love, peace, and harmony for ALL has always been my life's purpose."
Some supporters have used the phrase as a way to bring communities together, feeling that the phrase "black lives matter" is too narrow. Max Muncy, a professional baseball infielder for the Oakland Athletics, tweeted the phrase in response to the 2016 shooting of Dallas police officers.
Activists from Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter made news when they embraced during a "run-in" in Dallas. "We're all brothers and sisters," one of the protesters can be heard saying on CNN. "This is how you kick down a wall."
On October 2, 2016, a fan at a Chicago Bears NFL game ran onto the field during a television timeout during the 4th quarter dressed in a monkey costume, wearing a shirt that read "All Lives Matter" on the front.
According to professor David Theo Goldberg, "All Lives Matter" reflects a view of "racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial". On Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill Maher expressed support for use of the "Black Lives Matter" phrase, stating that "'All Lives Matter' implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they're not". Founders of the Black Lives Matter movement have responded to criticism of the movement's exclusivity, saying, "#BlackLivesMatter doesn't mean your life isn't important – it means that Black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation."
In a video interview with Laura Flanders, Black Lives Matter movement co-founder Alicia Garza said that "changing Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter is a demonstration of how we don't actually understand structural racism in this country". She went on to say that other lives are valued more than black lives, and that to take blackness out of this equation is inappropriate.
President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Obama said, "I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else's lives matter ... rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that's not happening in other communities." He also said "that is a legitimate issue that we've got to address."
|"All Houses Matter", Chainsawsuit, Kris Straub, July 7, 2016. A cartoonist uses a house fire to illustrate criticism of the term "All Lives Matter."|
In July 2016, USA Today concluded from the thoughts of Columbia University sociology professor Carla Shedd, that the phrase "'All Lives Matter' can actually be interpreted as racist". It also cited professor Joe Feagin, who said that white people use the phrase "All Lives Matter" to ignore the Black Lives Matter movement, which he described as "already about liberty and justice for all." USA Today reported that some celebrities who had tweeted using the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, including Jennifer Lopez and Fetty Wap, had deleted the tweets and apologized. It also mentioned cartoonist Kris Straub, who tweeted a cartoon titled "All Houses Matter", showing a house fire, to illustrate what he saw as the problem with the term.
Facebook graffiti incident
On February 24, 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, sent out a company-wide internal memo to employees formally rebuking employees who had crossed out handwritten "Black Lives Matter" phrases on the company walls and had written "All Lives Matter" in their place. Facebook allows employees to free-write thoughts and phrases on company walls. The memo was then leaked by several employees. As Zuckerberg had previously condemned this practice at previous company meetings, and other similar requests had been issued by other leaders at Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote in the memo that he would now consider this overwriting practice not only disrespectful, but "malicious as well". According to Zuckerberg's memo, "Black Lives Matter doesn't mean other lives don't – it's simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve". The memo also said that the act of crossing something out in itself, "means silencing speech, or that one person's speech is more important than another's".
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