As we navigate the unnecessary and untenable debate concerning the validity of the statement “Black Lives Matter” which is argued in exchange for the escapist and dismissive retort “All Lives Matter,” it is critical that we confront and admit one reality.
America has always had an “Exception to All.”
Before we dive into that well of thought, let’s first probe the diction posed in the debate. For one to say All Lives Matter provides the definitive assumption that “All” is in fact “All.” All by definition, is used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or a thing. If in fact, this is believed then any individual sect of people is merely a subset to the whole. We all collectively make up the larger group.
So then, when one says Black Lives Matter, they are literally affirming the over-arching position of the All. Granting humanity and dignity to particular groups that make up the whole, highlights the creative genius and diversity of community.
Instead, diversity has been weaponized and lingual truth turned on its head.
Why? – America’s Exception to All.
When the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 it veiled the idea that “all men were created equal.” Except – it didn’t. Equality extended only as far as whiteness. During the Constitutional Convention of 1787 there was framed a document that provided and protected liberty and justice for all. Except – it didn’t. In that meeting was a compromise that provided that 3 out of every 5 slaves would be counted as people. The Emancipation Proclamation ensured the freedom from slavery. Except – it didn’t. Thousands of slaves in Texas were left in bondage until years later, not to mention the graduation to Black Codes culture and later Jim Crow.
As we peruse the annals of history we park in periods of “Separate but Equal” – which was anything but equal; Redlining which subverted efforts of providing fair housing; Unequal access to quality education and academic resources; Pay disparity and unequitable employment . . . and so much more. What has been afforded to the All has been denied to Many.
Humanity and Dignity have been denied to a group that in fact makes up the whole – Black Americans.
So, when you say All Lives Matter in response to our cry of Black Lives Matter, what you are literally pulling the bandage from the open wound of “America’s Exception to All.”