Mattering is not a zero-sum game.

Please, from one Mormon to another, please don’t use the hashtag #alllivesmatter. Here’s why:

The #blacklivesmatter movement has been in the news recently as people have been marching under that banner (literally, but not just literally) to protest recent repetition of what has become a too familiar narrative of police killing unarmed black men. In my own city, there were over 70 arrests of #blacklivesmatter protesters last night.

And in the face of these protests, some people I love and care about (most of whom are members of the church and are almost all white) have used the #alllivesmatter hashtag to express disapproval of the #blacklivesmatter protests. For many of them, I think it is at least in part because they genuinely feel like it is wrong or divisive to single out some lives to affirm that they matter. When they hear people saying #blacklivesmatter what they think they hear is that black lives matter more than other lives. And those who are trying to make it clear that #blacklivesmatter, when they hear people saying #alllivesmatter, have expressed frustration, because too often, those who have said #alllivesmatter, have used it as a response to negate and shut down those who say #blacklivesmatter.

Some of those who say #alllivesmatter are genuinely puzzled over why #alllivesmatter is so offensive. And I can see where they are coming from, because it is literally true that all lives matter, just as it is true that #blacklivesmatter. Why should something that is literally true be offensive?

Well, because as Elder Packer once (in)famously said, “some things that are true, are not very useful.” Just because something is literally true, that does not mean that it is wise or charitable or appropriate to say it in any context, regardless of whether it is hurtful. If we are trying to live a life of faith, hope, and charity, as the church calls us to do, then in addition to making sure that what we say is true, we also need to think about what effect saying it will have on other people–especially people who are less privileged and already hurting–how it is likely to be understood (or misunderstood), whether it will be more likely to result in more hurt feelings and escalation, or whether it will result in reconciliation and understanding. We have a responsibility to think about refraining from saying things that may hurt others–again, especially people who are less privileged and already hurting–and to say the things we do choose to say in a way that will minimize, if not eliminate, hurt to others. After all, Jesus blessed the peacemakers as the children of God, but there is no beatitude for the truth-tellers who speak without considering the effects of their words. Let us oft speak kind words to each other.

So just because it is literally true that all lives matter, that does not mean that it is appropriate to say it in any way and in any forum at any time. And in particular, it does not mean that using the #alllivesmatter hashtag to rebuke #blacklivesmatter is appropriate.

Think about the exchange between Jesus and the disciples in the house of Simon. The woman who anointed Jesus with costly ointment was essentially saying, “Jesus’ life (and death) really matters a lot right now.” But the disciples “had indignation,” and said that this woman’s act was wasteful, because the ointment could have been “sold for much” and given to the poor. Essentially, they were saying, “Why are you wasting all this attention and money, don’t you know that all (poor) lives matter?” The disciples were literally right that the church has a responsibility to care for the poor, and it was literally true that the ointment could have been sold for much and given to the poor. But they were wrong to express that truth at that time and place and in that way because they were speaking out of indignation against the woman, not love for the poor. So Jesus rebuked them, quoting the Old Testament to point out that of course they should care for the poor, but that doesn’t mean that this woman’s concern for Jesus in that particular moment was wrong.

By doing what she did, the woman was not disputing the need to care for the poor, so it was wrong for the disciples to use the truth that we should care for the poor–even though it was true–to rebuke her.

20160707_allhousesredux

Kris Staub’s apt illustration of why alllivesmatter can be hurtful

So let’s go back to #blacklivesmatter and think about what it means and what it does not mean. #blacklivesmatter does not mean that #blacklivesmatter more, or that only #blacklivesmatter. It means just what it says and no more: black lives matter. As others have pointed out, you can also read it with an implied “too” in #blacklivesmatter. #blacklivesmatter(too), #blacklives(also)matter.

But don’t just think about whether it is literally true that #blacklivesmatter (of course it is). Think also about why people say #blacklivesmatter: It is not because they think that black lives matter more than other lives, it is not because they don’t think that all lives matter. It is a response to something. #blacklivesmatter did not come out of nowhere; there is a history here. It is a response to the reality that despite whatever progress we think we’ve made on racial equality, in most places in this country black women and black men are more likely to be detained, handcuffed, killed, arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed than white people engaging in the same behavior; the reality that even though there are many many good police officers, police officers can kill black men or women often without having to even stand trial to let a jury decide whether it was murder or not. The message that that reality sends is that black lives don’t matter.

So when people say #blacklivesmatter they are saying: Yes they do! And when someone uses the hashtag #alllivesmatter to rebuke #blacklivesmatter, the message it sends, intended or not, is “No they don’t.

Maybe you think, yeah, but I would never say that somebody’s life doesn’t matter and it’s not my fault that people take #alllivesmatter to mean something that I didn’t intend to say. But history can help us to understand why that’s the message that #alllivesmatter sends. Remember the beating, raping, stealing, and burning committed against Mormon settlers in Missouri and other places. The saints weren’t wholly blameless in those conflicts, and it’s probably true that at least some of the members of the militias and mobs that perpetrated such persecution were genuinely afraid for their lives and communities should the saints be permitted to stay. But we understand that didn’t mean that the mobs and state militias were justified in trampling their due process rights. So it would be easy to get defensive if somebody says that the saints weren’t totally innocent, or that the mobbers and militia were just acting out of what they thought was self-defense. Now imagine that, in in the aftermath of the Missouri persecutions, the Times and Seasons had chosen “Mormon Lives Matter,” for its slogan. Then imagine that the Warsaw Signal or the Nauvoo Expositor had responded with the slogan “ALL Lives Matter.” Can you understand how that could easily be interpreted as denying that Mormon Lives Matter?

Unarmed black men and women get killed by police officers repeatedly. Message sent: Black lives don’t matter.

Response: “#blacklivesmatter!” Message sent: Black lives do matter.

Counter-response: “No, #alllivesmatter!” Message sent: No they don’t.

Taking #blacklivesmatter as a statement that other lives don’t matter, or matter less, assumes that mattering is some kind of zero-sum game, and that saying that one life matters implies that other lives don’t matter. But that kind of comparative thinking is wrong.

Jesus once told a story of an employer who goes out to the marketplace to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He goes out at the third hour and hires some workers, agreeing to pay them one day’s wages. He goes out again at the sixth and the ninth hour and does the same thing. He goes out again at the eleventh hour, when the workday is almost over, and finds laborers standing idle because no employer has hired them. He agrees that he will pay them “whatsoever is right” and hires them. When the workday ends, he begins to pay, and gives the eleventh hour laborers one day’s wages. The laborers who were hired earlier in the day get very excited, thinking that this means they will get more than the one day’s wages that they bargained for. But the employer gives them all the same: one day’s wages. At this, the other laborers begin to complain that he has “made them [the eleventh hour laborers] equal to us,” which isn’t fair because the eleventh hour laborers didn’t have to work through the heat of the day. At this, the employer responds: “Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”

When the lord of the vineyard gave the same wages to the eleventh hour laborers, he was, in effect, telling them, “your labor is valuable [that is, it matters] to me.” But when the other laborers saw that, they engaged in comparative thinking, and concluded that by paying the eleventh hour laborers’ the same, even though they had worked only an hour, what he was really saying was not just that the eleventh hour laborers’ labor was valuable, but that their own labor was less valuable. The lord of the vineyard corrected them by teaching them not to engage in such comparative thinking: “Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” Does the fact that their labor is valuable mean that your labor is not valuable? Of course not, is the obvious answer.

So when we as Mormons hear #blacklivesmatter, we should not engage in comparative thinking, hearing that black lives matter more, or that only black lives matter. That’s not what #blacklivesmatter means.

Friend, #blacklivesmatter does thee no wrong. Does thy life matter less, because #blacklivesmatter?

Of course not.

So please don’t say #alllivesmatter. Not now. Not as a slogan or a hashtag to shout down #blacklivesmatter. Because black lives do matter, and mattering is not a zero-sum game.

Comments

  1. A Happy Hubby says:

    Amen! A persecuted race is deeply hurt by what they see as persecution – not too dissimilar to how many feel about Hans Mill. Innocent people being killed. And worse, it just keeps happening.
    Some may not see it as this, but to most of the black community I talk with it is exactly how they feel.

  2. thank you for this piece. For me it feels so important to not see myself as the most important for a time because for my whole life I’ve been protected, supported, believed in, and watched over. I’ve been told my whole life that my life matters, and it is heart breaking and awful that many people have not been told or shown that. It feels vital to say now that #blacklivesmatter

  3. hope_for_things says:

    THANK YOU!!! So much, this is how I’ve been feeling, and you expressed it much better than I could, with great examples, and even some scriptures and Mormon history examples. I loved it!!! Going to share this with some friends. This is truly a gift for a privileged white guy like myself who’s been struggling with how to communicate why I don’t like the all lives matter or blue lives matter responses to black lives matter. I’ve had some success, but other times struggled to get my point across. This really helps, thanks again!

  4. all lives matter says:

    If black lives matter cared about black lives, they’d so the major abortion genocide, and the staggering black on black crime in Chicago. Police deaths are a statistical drop in the bucket…

  5. An important clarification, and well said. Thanks JKC.

  6. #blacklivesmatter

    Thank you, JKC.

  7. BHodges says:

    Already, the obligatory reference to Chicago violence. It’s baffling that anyone could think black communities in Chicago, and throughout the US, are not concerned about violence in Chicago and elsewhere.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/12/black_community_is_concerned_with_black_on_black_crime_suggesting_otherwise.html

  8. Antonio Parr says:

    There was a time, you know, when the world turned without hash-tags. Now, social pressure and political correctness, coupled with the bombardment of incessant and instantaneous comments and causes, require us to swear our allegiance to simplistic phrases and symbols and signs that belie the complexity of the underlying dynamics. Hesitate for even a moment to embrace the trend of the day and one is shouted down.

    Modern media and, in particular, modern social media have not helped create authentic dialogue. The slogan/hashtag “Black Lives Matter” is a case in point. Of course Black lives matter. And of course the poverty and violence and incarceration rates in the Black community are a horrific scandal. But one can recognize the scandal and be resolved to fight to bring healing without feeling a kinship with a hashtag or with the particular personalities and agendas behind the movement du jour. Whether it is “Black Lives Matter’ or “All Lives Matter” or “Your Life Matters” or a complete absence of catch-phrases and slogans, what really matters is that one commits one life to lifting the burdens of others, including (and especially) the burdens of those who don’t look like we do.

  9. Antonio Parr, this is why Twitter is terrible. I once worked for a prominent DC think tank. My division chief made frequent mention of how much he loved Twitter for its immediacy. It was then–even before I started seeing my work censored out of fear of offending potential donors–that I knew I was working at, well, a facility for the industrial-scale production of bovine fecal matter.

  10. I’d agree with that, Antonio.

  11. People can care about more than one disturbing thing at the same time. Well, most people can, anyway.

  12. BHodges says:

    Antonia Parr:

    “But one can recognize the scandal and be resolved to fight to bring healing without feeling a kinship with a hashtag or with the particular personalities and agendas behind the movement du jour.

    Sure.

    Although it seems one should beware not to fall into the trap of flippancy one is decrying as a possible fault of hashtags in one’s response to said hashtags.

    Moreover, should one spend time fighting against a hashtag phenomenon, or a movement behind that hashtag, as opposed to trying to take active measures to “fight to bring about healing” in other ways? Instructing grieving people on the proper way to grieve from afar doesn’t seem right.

  13. Your post makes many good and true points, but seems to me like the YW modesty lessons that try to encourage young women to dress modestly by explaining to them the message that their immodest clothing is sending to men–as if the young women don’t instinctively understand far better than their leaders the messages they intend to send by the way they dress.

    Perhaps I’m cynical, but I think most of the users of both the “black” and the “all” hashtags have a pretty good sense of what they intend to say when they use those hashtags.

  14. Black Lives Matter.
    Thank you. Well done.

    This: “when someone uses the hashtag #alllivesmatter to rebuke #blacklivesmatter, the message it sends, intended or not, is “No they don’t.”” — Is so important. Here and elsewhere we must pay attention to the message sent. A bad message can do great harm even with the purest of intent.

  15. I don’t know, MJP, I think there’s a real difference between saying “you’re responsible for how somebody might react to your appearance,” and “you should avoid saying this thing that is hurtful.”

  16. I agree with that, also, Blair.

  17. Perhaps I’m cynical, but I think most of the users of both the “black” and the “all” hashtags have a pretty good sense of what they intend to say when they use those hashtags.

    All any black person means with #blacklivesmatter is that black men and women are in greater danger of losing their lives for the same behavior that white people don’t have any risk of losing their lives over — and that this *must* stop. It is not something that is happening in a vacuum but rather that comes on the heels of the most severe abuses during the period of African chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and then rampant discrimination.

    They are *not* saying white lives don’t matter. But white lives aren’t in danger from cops right now.

    On the other hand, those who use #alllivesmatter in response definitely have the intention of dismissing the real issues that underlie the #blacklivesmatter movement. It is a very troubling scenario.

    These are facts.

  18. MDearest says:

    The use of hashtags alone won’t solve any problems, but that’s not what they’re for. I am a devout Luddite in my avoidance of Twitter, but I use hashtags somewhat on Instagram, and find them to be most useful when I am looking for visual information. For example, today if you look at #burrhamiltonduel the images are most interesting.
    So yeah, I don’t think hashtags are a problem at all, I understand them a little, and I felt a warmth in my heart to see Ardis post #blacklivesmatter upthread. I’m also barely educated about how people of color view white privilege, so I don’t feel like the expert in the room on that either, but even I can see what a slap it would be to post #alllivesmatter in any social media this week. Or any weeks to come.

  19. That’s true, MDearest. Hashtags are not always just slogans.

  20. Really great thoughts. I wholeheartedly agree that the “all lives matter” hashtag has taken on the meaning of “Your movement is unimportant” regardless of the intent of the person using it.

    I think, though, that it’s important to recognize intent, and recognize that there’s a *lot* of misinformation out there regarding what “Black Lives Matter” does mean. A mission friend of mine posted an “All Lives Matter” image on Facebook today. I’ve tracted the ghetto with this guy: I’m pretty confident in saying he’s not trying to be racist. In the comments, though, someone (incidentally, a member from our mission) used the “burning house” analogy to try to convince him to use different messaging, or take a different perspective, and he got pretty defensive. People really hate being called racists, and pithy little analogies like these can come across as pretty condescending.

  21. N. W. Clerk says:

    “On the most extreme use of force –officer-involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account.”

    http://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer

  22. I agree that black lives do matter. I get that. We can support the notion without supporting the Black Lives Matter organization, we can support our black friends and family without agreeing to the violence and hatred that is put fourth by BLM. Had they never marched down city streets chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now!” If they would condemn the people that use #blacklivesmatter in their images with a gun in hand a statement that says, “It’s open season on the pigs.” Or, “F#$% the cops!” If they would stand up and say that executing and ambushing police is a vile act, than I may get behind their movement. But, until then I can’t in good conscience support that particular movement.

    Here is some food for thought.
    http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler

  23. Meg, you need some more accurate sources.

  24. Public service announcement: we’re going to be moderating the comments pretty heavily. Don’t get mad if your comment gets zapped.

  25. @Merlin, the difference is that when black people talk about black on black violence, nobody listens. White America only listens when they feel aggrieved by their privilege being challenged. The good old days we Lon for are the good old days when we could be ignorant of other people’s suffering.

  26. Meg, the movement has in fact decried the violence you describe, including the violence in Dallas. Your sources are tainted.

  27. Antonio Parr says:

    Steve – not all of the Black Lives Matters founders and supporters are created equal. To that end, your reference to the “movement’ decrying violence is only partially correct, and depends on which personalities you attribute to that movement. Some are young Martin Luther King’s – peace-loving visionaries and prophetic figures. Others not so much.

  28. Jason K. says:

    Thanks, JKC. I was moved to see protesters in Dallas looking out for the cops and vice versa, and also to see the good relationship between police and protesters in Provo. Cooperation like that might not happen in every case, but it happens often enough to show that BLM really isn’t about the proposition that only black lives matter. All lives do, so lets attend to the ones that have systematically been treated as though they don’t.

  29. Meg, Nobody is asking you to support violence. And almost all black lives matter protesters would agree with you and would condemn calls for violence. Let’s not paint all black lives matter supporters with the same broad brush, because of the actions of a few lunatics on the fringe. They are not responsible for the violence any more than the thousands of good police officers are responsible for the actions of the officers that are corrupt.

  30. Steve, is this better?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html?_r=2

    About the idea the BLM as a whole has condemned the violence, that isn’t truthful. Have some people in the movement condemned it? Of course. But, the truth is that some parts of the movement are still very much accepting of the violence.

  31. “we also need to think about what effect saying it will have on other people–especially people who are less privileged and already hurting–how it is likely to be understood (or misunderstood), whether it will be more likely to result in more hurt feelings and escalation”

    Well I for one would think that this street runs both ways. Does the #BlackLivesMatter supporters not bear the same burden? Do they not know that the #BlackLivesMatter sends a message of anti-white, anti-police. And how that message makes law enforcement feel hurt/marginalized/targeted? Do they not know that the chantings that take place at their rallies pointed out above by Meg confirm those feelings and messages. And do they not see events like the shooting in Dallas as the nature escalation that their message encourages? This message your pushing applies equally, right?

    “#blacklivesmatter did not come out of nowhere; there is a history here.” Correct. It appeared during the protests following the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO. Eyewitnesses, forensics, and office testimony all confirm that Mr. Brown assaulted a police officer, attempted to take his weapon from him, and was shot legally and justifiably by the officer. The ‘history’ of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is to lie about the facts regarding police shootings and to agitate for uncontrolled destruction of their own communities like they did in Ferguson and Baltimore. The “newspaper of record” put this out today:

    “But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.” – NYT

    So… the point that was made saying “All any black person means with #blacklivesmatter is that black men and women are in greater danger of losing their lives for the same behavior that white people don’t have any risk of losing their lives over” is a falsehood. I grant that there is a perception that this is true, because those black shooting events do gets lots of attention. But in a world where FACTS matter, a black man/woman is in no greater danger of losing their life than is a white person for the same behavior.

  32. Right, Jason. If BLM was the things some are accusing it of, those scenes of cooperation would not be happening.

  33. Right, Meg, some very few have said things that seen to call for or support violence, but that does not taint the entire movement any more than the actions of racist and corrupt police taint the enter profession.

  34. JKC, If police-black relations were as BLM is accusing them of, those scenes of cooperation would not be happening. So what are the protests about then???

  35. Meg, the article you cite does not speak to whether the BLM movement has condemned the use of violence.

    Antonio – just so. The movement is made up of individuals, some good, some bad, some smart, some dumb. Like Church membership, Christianity, or humanity. That doesn’t mean that the motives of the movement are somehow groundless.

  36. Jason K. says:

    Jax: again, the issue here is, as BLM activists know, that not all cops are bad. There have been police chiefs marching in the protests. Cultural change happens through alliances like this. It’s people working together for a more just world. In many (most?) cases, that’s an outcome that both the police departments and the protesters want. It’s public democracy in action. You get in the streets to show that you support a particular course of action. In thus case it’s one more step toward healing the long-standing racial divisions in the U.S.

  37. Jax, of course they bear that burden, but I am not black and am not a part of the movement, so I’m in no position to preach to them from the sidelines. That may be an issue for someone else to take up. But I see people in my own community reacting in a way that I don’t think is very conducive to healing, and I can speak to that with some credibility. In any case, I disagree with you that #blacklivesmatter is in any way anti white or anti police. I’m not going to debate the merits of the Michael Brown shooting. That’s been discussed to death, and at this point I don’t think anyone is likely to change their mind based on internet discussions. I saw the ny times article earlier this evening. I haven’t read it in detail yet, but based on the summary I looked at, it seems like what they are saying is that once officers are in a situation where they are using lethal force, they don’t seen to discriminate in how they apply that force, controlling for everything else. But the bigger issue is that black men and black women seem to be put into those situations more frequently than white people doing the same thing. And there’s no question that black people are more likely to be detained, searched, arrested, tried, convicted, jailed, and killed than white people.

  38. I don’t follow your logic, Jax. In my example, I was responding to the accusation that ALL black lives matter supporters support violence. The fact that there are good police departments that have recognized that there is a problem, or perhaps more urgently, that regardless of whether the problem is as bad as some have said, they need to build bridges, does not mean that we should be dismissive of the protests.

  39. Exactly, Steve. The average BLM supporter is no more responsible for the Dallas shooting than sister Jones in American Fork is responsible for the murders of the Lafferty brothers.

  40. Jason, I couldn’t have said it better.

  41. Antonio Parr says:

    I guess my question is who gets to decide what and who the “movement” is? And does one need to swear allegiance or provide deference to the movement, or is it enough to recognize that the lives of our priceless African American brothers and sisters are often disadvantaged, and to then work to build bridges of friendship, opportunity, justice and peace?

    (I am glad that you make the contribution that you make, Steve. Your thoughtful contributions to discourse are admired and appreciated. Peace!)

  42. JKC… they are treated differently as the article shows. More likely to be handcuffed, questioned, etc. But they are also far more likely to commit crime according the FBI statistics from every year in my lifetime.

    I don’t know how you can disagree that BLM is anti-white or anti-police. The coverage from police/black shootings gives the impression that blacks are more likely to be shot (which they aren’t), and the coverage of BLM also centers on their anti-cop and anti-white statements/signage. That’s what moves the ratings needle and that is the perception put out there. And then when a few of those protests turn into neighborhoods on fire (Ferguson/Baltimore), cops being attacked (Dallas, NY, others), those events turn into the evidence. Not all BLM are anti-white, not all cops are racist. But I haven’t seen any cops go out and intentionally shoot a black kid because he was black (and everyone is looking for one it seems). I have seen BLM activists go out and attack cops because they are cops.

    I also disagree with the premise of the OP that #AllLivesMatter cheapens the #BlackLivesMatter message. The history here is not that #BLM is trying to just get to equal, IMO they ARE trying to say that #BlackLivesMatterMore. Then campaign event with Bernie Sanders in Maryland last year demonstrated this clearly to me. He was on stage and was supporting the BLM movement. He was addressing their complaints and concerns. He stated, “#BlackLivesMatter. #AllLivesMatter” tying them together, in essence saying, “Yes Black lives matter, because all lives matter”. He was supporting the premise of the OP the #BLM is striving for equality. But the crowd turned ANGRY in an instant; yelling him down and shouting that all lives don’t matter. They want it heard that ONLY #BlackLivesMatter.

    The OP posits this… “#blacklivesmatter does not mean that #blacklivesmatter more, or that only #blacklivesmatter. It means just what it says and no more: black lives matter. As others have pointed out, you can also read it with an implied “too” in #blacklivesmatter. #blacklivesmatter(too), #blacklives(also)matter.” The actions of the BLM crowd point to a very different motive. I take them at their word that they want to put “Pigs in a blanket”.

  43. Can we agree that Dallas PD Chief had the best solution…

    “We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in and we’ll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolves some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

  44. Jax, you’ve said your piece and now it is time for you to move on.

  45. Done Steve… thanks for letting me get it in.

  46. Jax, we get it, you disagree. I’m not going to keep relating myself. The problem is that you want to be very circumspect about attributing a few instances of highly televised police violence to a profession-wide problem (which is a good thing), but you don’t seen to have any issue attributing a few highly televised instances of violence by people claiming to be part of the BLM.

  47. Jax, I thought his interview was great, and not just that part, which is already being sound-byted and passed around as a meme.

  48. Angela C says:

    Thanks for this fantastic post. To me it’s embarrassing when church members are so tone deaf on race and their own privilege. Likewise when my male Mormon colleagues used to decry programs like mentoring and support groups for women and affirmative action hiring. Misunderstanding the efforts to create space at the table for everyone just points out that we are blind to our privilege.

  49. Chadwick says:

    Absolutely brilliant!

  50. Angela C, it’s embarrassing, but should it be surprising when it’s barely been a generation since the Church actively advocated white supremacy, and when the Church’s Marriage and Family Relations class manual still contains a talk by BKP in which he says that women leaving the home to work was the worst thing that happened in WWII? (I guess the Rape of Nanking and that business with the Jews were of secondary importance.)

    We live with the decisions of our parents, and their parents, and their parents before them. It’s very hard for some people to admit that their forebears did some things wrong.

  51. Well call me racist if you want but am I the only one with Jax here? I also disagree with the OP’s premise that saying #ALM is offensive and negates the meaning behind #BLM. I do feel that some who support and are with BLM truly want equality. But I feel that they (and many others) are sadly misguided and swindled by the left media. They want you to think that police violence against black people is extremely common as well as unjustified. That’s why whenever you hear about police violence and shootings, it’s always a black person. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to anyone else. And even if police violence against black people IS more prominent, who’s to say it’s always unjustified? What if there were a statistic that said that crime rate is most prominent amongst the African-American race? I can almost guarantee that someone would cry racism and that particular statistic would be thrown aside as such. But just because it’s unfortunate or controversial doesn’t make it a falsehood.

    People have posted links to statistics that PROVE police violence is unbiased towards race. And yet it seems the majority of you just want to ignore that or call it inaccurate. Why?

    I think we need to start reflecting on who’s really oppressing who here. We oppress ourselves more than we do other people. And that applies to every person.

  52. A good post about how race relations & Police are not as good as hoped for, some of it in Utah:

    http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/11/overreacting-to-ferguson/

  53. Maybe some day I learn not to read the comments. The OP was wonderful, but some of the comments make me sad. But luckily not all of them, e.g. I really like the quote BHodges posted.

  54. MDearest says:

    One thing that really opened my lily-white eyes to unjustified police brutality being much more common for Black folks than for White folks was getting to know other Black parents in real life, and seeing the very real fear of ever having their kids stopped by police. Even * I * felt that sick fear that their kids, decent kids like mine, could lose their lives if things went south in the hands of a bad cop on a bad night. And it would be likely that the cop who beat up or shot their kid would survive the investigation with job intact. I knew that if and when my kids were pulled over, being healthy and unscathed would be part of their outcome. Even in the hands of a bad cop on a bad night.

    Black Lives Matter.

  55. This really warmed my heart when I saw it. One oppressed people to another, trying to make a difference.

  56. WF, it isn’t true that people have posted links to statistics that prove that police violence is unbiased toward race. The study concluded that using lethal force was, controlling for all other factors, largely unbiased, but it recognizes that police still are more likely to get into a situation in the first place where they are likely to use lethal force when dealing with black people. Reading it carefully to see what it actually says is not ignoring it our calling it inaccurate.

  57. Jason K. says:

    Check out this news report of BLM protesters in Dallas crossing the street to hug and pray with white counter-protesters. That, friends, is how it’s done. http://cnn.it/29vlYDR

  58. Gabrielle @ Design Mom says:

    WF, yes as you guessed, your comment does make you sounds racist. Have you talked to your black friends, neighbors and ward members about your views? The black school teachers and coaches and music teachers of your children? Have you explained to them that they are just perceiving the injustices against them? That they are just making it all up in their heads?

    Did you share the NYT article with them? The one being linked to here? The one that shows that police consistently use force more often against black people compared to white people? The one that says, “It is hard to believe that the world is your oyster if the police can rough you up without punishment. And when I talked to minority youth, almost every single one of them mentions lower-level uses of force as the reason why they believe the world is corrupt.” Did you tell them you didn’t believe the article?

    How did the black people in your life react? Do they feel loved and supported by you and your views? Do they feel like you listen and hear and understand where they were coming from? And if you don’t have any black people in your life to ask, why is that? Do they not feel welcome in your community? If not, why not? Is it because you (and others like you) prefer to paint black people as criminals? Prefer to think of them as “other”?

  59. Nice, Jason. That’s hopeful. And it shows that #blacklivesmatter is not the violent, subversive group that some have accused it of being, based on the unfortunate actions and words of a few.

  60. BLM is a movement that is created for political purposes of keeping people divided. Getting upset, bothered, or simply just asking people to change the hashtag label shows the extent that it’s politicized. Changing black to all harms no one, but it does shift the emphasis from “black people need to get upset and how they are being treated” to “everyone should be upset with how we are being treated”. The ultimate purpose is to keep sowing discord so people will continue to insist on the government “doing something” and as long as one political party runs circles around the other in proposing federal solutions for local problems, the votes will tend in that direction.

    There are very important issues with regard to encroaching tyranny and oppression by our by-and-large excellent police. First and foremost, the coopting of police brutality concerns into more federal oversight and interference in policing is a very serious threat to future liberty.

    #hashtagsdontmatter
    #localinvolvementingovernmentmatters
    #removingnonlocalinvolvementisjustasimportant

  61. Jason K. says:

    Sorry, GSO. There are too many instances of BLM making common cause with other people to quite let your claim that its political purpose is keeping people divided be plausible. If you’re concerned about federal oversight of police departments, the solution is, as you suggest, working locally toward reform. More and more police departments have begun trying to figure this stuff out (tragically including Dallas PD), so there are models out there to study. BLM can be part of that local process, and has been.

  62. John Mansfield says:

    “Unarmed black men and women get killed by police officers repeatedly.”

    Not quite. The Washington Post reported that 990 people were shot dead by police in 2015. Of those 990, 948 were men, 96%, a male-female ratio of 22:1.Of the 42 women shot dead by police in 2015, 10 were black women.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

  63. Jason K. says:

    At the risk of being pedantic, how do 10 deaths not qualify as “repeatedly”? Sure, it’s not a large number, but to those 10 women and their families…

  64. To be fair, a person can only be killed once (for the most part).

  65. Jason K. says:

    Not according to The Princess Bride, which is basically scripture :)

  66. Chadwick says:

    This recent Father’s Day my six year old said to me “but when is kids day?” Firstly, I was sad he couldn’t see value in letting me have a moment. Secondly, every day is kids day, kid.

    The all lives matter strike me in the same way my petulant six year old did on Father’s Day. That is, firstly, there is no harm to anyone to allow a black lives matter campaign to simply exist. Secondly, every other day of the year is the white mans moment. Those that feel the need to trump black lives matter with all lives matter remind me of my six year old on Father’s Day; as selfish and petulant.

  67. John Mansfield says:

    Jason K., I took “repeatedly” to mean “far out of proportion for their share of the population.” Of the 10 black women shot dead by police in 2015, two of them were unarmed. Two out of 990 people shot dead by police in 2016 were unarmed black women. You can call those two killings “repeated” if you find that a meaningful interpretation.

  68. Jason K. says:

    Because I welcome the #SayHerName corollary to #BlackLivesMatter, I’ll count those two women. Absolutely.

    We also have to talk about “armed,” though. The case of Alton Sterling can be debated, because the full evidence is still coming to light, but it seems fairly clear that Philando Castile had a gun but was not using it in a threatening way and in fact did all he could to make it nonthreatening. Was he “armed” or not? Does the mere fact of his having a gun justify his death? I doubt you’d suggest it does. I’m not saying that the armed/unarmed statistics are meaningless, but they don’t tell the whole story.

  69. John Mansfield says:

    No, they don’t tell the whole story. For instance, one of those two unarmed black women, India Kager, had the misfortune to be sitting in a car with a homicide suspect. After he began shooting at police approaching the car, the police returned fire.

  70. Jason K. says:

    Thanks for putting a name to one of them. I appreciate that.

  71. John, my point is not that the problem applies equally to men and women. My point is that BLM is responding to a message being sent by the reality that surrounds them that black lives don’t matter. If you believe that BLM supporters are wrong to take the message “black lives don’t matter,” from the reality that surrounds them, then the appropriate response is not to rebuke #blacklivesmatter with #alllivesmatter, it is to affirm that, yes, black lives do in fact matter, and explain why that is true.

    Chadwick, that’s a good analogy. A kid asking on Father’s day or on Mother’s day when kid’s day is, a kid at his sister’s birthday party saying it’s not fair that she’s the only one getting presents, a person who shows up uninvited at a funeral and says, “hey, my uncle died, too,” a person who complains that Salt Lake celebrates pioneer day, but doesn’t celebrate a day to honor railroad workers.

  72. John Mansfield says:

    The names are all there at that Washington Post link, all 990. Or all 258 who were black if that is what we are concerning ourselves with. I do agree with your point that many shootings of armed people may have been avoidable. Vehicles and knives are included in the armed count. It seems that many of those lunging with knives could have been subdued nonfatally. On the other hand, maybe the bulk of those lunging with knives were subdued without killing them, and we are looking at the fraction of encounters that went really bad; I don’t know.

  73. John Mansfield says:

    JKC, do you believe that there is a reality surrounding black women that they are at significant risk of being killed by police? For that matter, do 38 deaths of unarmed black people in a year in this nation of 300 million indicate a significant risk of black men dying at the hands of police?

  74. I don’t what you mean by significant, John, but I do believe that in many places in this country, the risk of being put into a situation where lethal force becomes a likelihood is higher for black people than for white people doing the same thing. But again, if we disagree on that point, in my opinion, the appropriate response is not to got tit for tat with #alllivesmatter, but to argue your position that black lives do not matter any less than other lives. One plays into identity politics and pits people (largely along racial lines) against one another. The other is more likely to foster understanding and reconciliation.

  75. Has John Mansfield ever responded to a woman addressing him here at BCC? I find it hard to take him seriously about ANYthing along the lines of any lives mattering when he ignores all but white Mormon males with whom he finds it worth his conservative while to argue.

  76. John Mansfield says:

    Ardis, are you teasing me? If you’re serious, I’ll give a serious answer to your question, if the BCC hosts are not offended at me occupying their comment space to do so. Or you can write me at jrm48150@yahoo.com if there is something you want me to consider privately.

  77. MDearest speaks truth and wisdom (12:44 am). Jax and WF are part of the problem. This is a fact.

  78. I agree that Black lives matter. They very much matter to me. I have spent countless hours with black teenage boys both as a church leader and a ball coach. Black teens are in and out of my house with my kids.

    I am not sure the current BLM movement is the vehicle to reduce deaths via violence. It is in my view making the situation worse.

  79. I think Ardis has a great point, John M. I don’t recall ever seeing you respond to her or other women. Have you?

  80. Why is #blacklivesmatter important? Because “All Men Are Created Equal” did not include blacks until very, very recently — or, arguably, it still doesn’t.

  81. Outstanding post, JKC. I really like how you drive home the point that the effective message of “all lives matter” is “no, black lives don’t matter,” regardless of the intent of an individual who might be using it.

  82. This was an interesting article:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/?utm_term=.f2bd3a2c0aad

    I reject the use of alllivesmatter in response to blacklivesmatter. Black people are feeling oppressed and adopted the slogan to call attention to problems. Alllivesmatter seems like a rejection to their expression of that oppression. It is clear, racism exists-worse in some areas more than others–and has a profound impact on lives. Why did famous comedian Chris Rock get pulled over 3 times in the span of 7 weeks last year? I can count on 3 fingers the number of times in my 40+ yrs of driving I’ve been pulled over. All were for legitimate infractions. The same can be said for all members of my family. Investigations of police depts have found some rampant racism–where blacks were essentially used as revenue for the police department.
    I don’t think we white people can appreciate what it does to one’s psyche to be subject to this kind of routine targeting. Walking/driving etc while black is real.

    Of course there are many instances where law enforcement has legitmate reasons to use lethal force against black criminals. Let’s figure out, acknowledge and address abuses.

  83. I showed my Sunday school class a church video in which a black Sunday School teacher, when acknowledging her blackness to the class, was told by a white woman in her class — “we don’t think of you that way.” I stopped the video at that point and asked my class how that statement could be interpreted. They (white students) responded that it meant that the class saw her as a person with her own unique set of traits. sounds good, right? The one black person in the room said that to her it meant that class members saw black as bad, and that they could accept the Sunday school teacher because she was not black (not bad).

    In other words the white students thought that it was good to be colorblind. There is a very strong norm in the US that we should be colorblind. But black people experience a world in which their life experience is heavily affected by the fact they are black. So when white people are colorblind, they’re invalidating a lifetime of experiences black people have because of their race.

    Every black man I know (a small nonrepresentative sample of well educated professionals) have been treated badly by law enforcement — for example, thrown up against a store front and frisked just for being there. When my husband and I were considering adopting a black boy, we read all the literature about what we would need to teach him to keep him alive — don’t walk down the street with more than one other black person, keep your drivers license and registration on the seat beside you instead of in the glove compartment, never put your hands in your pockets….. I don’t know any parents who teach those things to their white sons.

    To say that black lives matter is to say that mothers of black children shouldn’t have to teach their sons how to stay alive in encounters with the police any more than mothers of white people do. That’s not the situation we have now in the United States. We need to find a way to love each other while acknowledging, understanding, and celebrating our differences, not by pretending that we’re all the same and that we all experience life in the same way.

  84. When my husband and I were considering adopting a black boy, we read all the literature about what we would need to teach him to keep him alive — don’t walk down the street with more than one other black person, keep your drivers license and registration on the seat beside you instead of in the glove compartment, never put your hands in your pockets….. I don’t know any parents who teach those things to their white sons.

    To say that black lives matter is to say that mothers of black children shouldn’t have to teach their sons how to stay alive in encounters with the police any more than mothers of white people do. That’s not the situation we have now in the United States. We need to find a way to love each other while acknowledging, understanding, and celebrating our differences, not by pretending that we’re all the same and that we all experience life in the same way.

    Immensely powerful — this says it all.

  85. Thanks to everyone that has shared their views and reactions. A couple of overall comments:

    (1) No double standards: Of course there are violent people that are or claim to be part of the #blacklivesmatter movement. Or, more precisely there are people that have done or said violent things. If you’re going to conclude that #blacklivesmatter is divisive or violent based on those few bad apples, and that that justifies using #alllivesmatter to express disapproval, then you should also conclude that all police are racist because of the violent things that an isolated few have done. If, on the other hand, you are willing to see things from the officer’s perspective, understand that officers are human, too, that sometimes, especially when they are highly emotional, they just snap, and that while some may really be bad people, they don’t represent all police, then you should also be prepared to apply the same charity to #blacklivesmatter as a whole.

    (2) No broad brushes: Isolated incidents of violence are horrible, but don’t speak for the group as a whole. This is true of just about any movement, and especially of movements that lack a centralized leadership. It’s true of police, it’s true of #blacklivesmatter. From the Mormon perspective, think about how it would feel to be blamed for the mountain meadows massacre, or for Sampson Avard’s vigilanteism, or for the abuses of modern polygamist cults, or for the Lafferty murders, just because you share some of the same beliefs, and those beliefs happened to be part of the motivation for the violence. That’s something like what it feels like to the average #blacklivesmatter supporter when they are blamed for something like the shootings in Dallas.

    (3) No entrenchment: Let’s be humble and teachable. Lets’ be willing to accept new information when it comes to light. If you support #blacklivesmatter and there’s a study that seems to say that black lives are not more endangered than other lives, for example, be willing to read it with an open mind, to question your beliefs, and amend them if evidence warrants it. If you oppose #blacklivesmatter and there’s an explanation out of there of why that study doesn’t support the conclusion that black lives are not put in more danger than other lives, be willing to read it with an open mind, to question your beliefs, and amend them if evidence warrants it. Let’s all be careful to let reality drive our opinions, not let our opinions drive our perception of reality.

    (4) Charity: The fact that somebody comes down on the other side of an issue does not by itself mean that that person is stupid, deceived, part of a conspiracy, etc. Maybe they have a good faith belief that differs from yours. You don’t have to agree with them, but seek first to understand it from their perspective, not to respond or to argue. You don’t have to be persuaded by the other side, but if you can’t see why the other side’s arguments could be genuinely persuasive, you probably haven’t thought through the issue closely enough to have an informed opinion yourself. If you think the other side is wrong, seek to change their minds through persuasion and unfeigned love, not argument.

  86. Jkc. I really like your last comment. It really bothers me that the black ym I have invested so much time into are inherently more at risk to fall victim to violence then their non black peers in our ward.

    I am not really concerned about the local police. I am far more concerned about them getting killed by another black youth. I just dont see the local pd being a threat. I wish the blm movement would aim its energy and political will at black on black violence. That is where the deaths are.

  87. John Mansfield says:

    “No entrenchment: Let’s be humble and teachable.”

    Do you really mean “us,” first person plural, or is that a polite way of writing “you (who aren’t buying what BLM is selling)”? Any information you’ve read since yesterday afternoon that has amplified your views of reality?

  88. reality is that black men and women are at risk for being killed by police for behavior that white people are not. that is reality.

  89. Bbell, if you don’t understand why an unjust death at the hands of the state is orders of magnitude more damaging than one at the hands of another civilian, you haven’t put enough thought into the issue. By investing the state–which in a democracy is the expression of the will of the polity–with the ability to bring lethal force against persons not merely external to the polity but internal to it, we give agents of the state a literally sacred responsibility. If agents of the state disproportionately exercise lethal or even sub-lethal force against one segment of society, especially one with a history of de jure oppression maintained by lethal force, it is a reflection on the entire polity. (It certainly doesn’t help that there’s a well-documented correlation between an authoritarian political outlook and intolerance of those deemed “other,” and that persons who join law enforcement agencies are disproportionately authoritarian in their views.)

    Also, it cannot be emphasized enough that investigating homicides of young black men is a grossly under-resourced activity in most US police departments, which by and large already are not trusted by even law-abiding black adults due to their experience of arbitrary violence at the hands of racist cops. This exacerbates violence by creating a cycle of vengeance: family and friends of the victim, having no confidence in the state to bring the killer to justice, instead pursue him to extract their vengeance–or, failing that, his friends and associates. This is the state of affairs in places like rural Afghanistan or backwater parts of Brazil and Mexico, not in places where the rule of law is strong.

  90. I understand your point, Bbell, but the term “black on black violence” is something of a loaded term. The FBI crime stats show, if I remember correctly, that something like 80% of white murder victims are killed by white murderers. But you rarely see people wringing their hands about “white on white crime” or talking about the “crisis in the white community.”

    Legally enforced segregation has ended in this country, but segregation persists in many ways. The fact is, people who get killed usually get killed by the demographic that they spend most the time with. And since most white people still mostly spend their time with other white people, and most black people still mostly spend their time with other black people, white people are more likely to be killed by other white people, and black people are more likely to be killed by other black people. We should be doing more to stop violence of any kind, regardless of race, but I’m sure you can see why it rings hollow to hear people criticize #blacklivesmatter for focusing on police violence and other black leaders criticized for not doing more to stop “black on black” violence, when there aren’t similar calls to leaders of white communities to do more to stop “white on white” violence.

  91. John, if you read the rest of my comment you’ll see that I gave an example on either side of the debate. Yes, I mean all of us.

    I haven’t yet read in detail the study that found no significant link between race and lethal force yet, but I did read the summary, which I discussed upthread. That was new information to me. I’ll read through it when I have time, but it seems like my previous assumption that officers are more likely to use deadly force against black people once they are already in a situation where deadly force is likely may not be so certain. (Of course, the study also appears to confirm that police are much more likely to get into that type of situation with black people than with white people, so it still appears to be true that police are more likely to kill black people than white people engaging in the same behavior. And honestly, I don’t know how anyone with any black friends could even question that). But how about you? Have you read anything that has caused you to amend your views on the issue?

  92. BTW that Fryer study has some serious methodological limitations:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/07/11/study_finds_police_officers_no_more_likely_to_shoot_black_suspects.html

    “It is possible that these departments only supplied the data because they are either enlightened or were not concerned about what the analysis would reveal,” Fryer writes. “In essence, this is equivalent to analyzing labor market discrimination on a set of firms willing to supply a researcher with their Human Resources data!” Who knows how the situation may look in other cities or towns. “Relatedly, even police departments willing to supply data may contain police officers who present contextual factors at that time of an incident in a biased manner,” Fryer adds—which is a polite researcher’s way of saying that the study relies on reports written by officers who may well be lying about what really transpired.

    This should give a lot of folks pause, the same way all sorts of newspaper-headline psychological studies that have their samples drawn entirely from early-20-somethings from affluent backgrounds should give folks pause.

  93. So it’s not a case of “we determined that there is no link between race and likelihood to actually be killed, once you are in a situation where use of lethal force becomes a reasonable possibility,” its more like “we found no such link, based on the available data, but the available data is very limited.”

  94. So it’s not a case of “we determined that there is no link between race and likelihood to actually be killed, once you are in a situation where use of lethal force becomes a reasonable possibility,” its more like “we found no such link, based on the available data, but the available data is very limited.”

    “…and biased due to self-selection.”

    BTW if memory serves NBER papers are only working papers and have not been subjected to the anonymous peer review process. I had a long, unsuccessful sojourn in a public policy PhD program, so I have an admittedly small amount of experience in this area, but I don’t think that Fryer’s paper is publishable in its current form.

  95. Ooh, we’ve got right-wing copypasta!

  96. John Mansfield says:

    JKC, I’ve learned today that the rate of blacks being killed by police is 250% the white rate, much higher than I had believed. I also learned that the number of unarmed people killed by police is much lower than I had believed, about three out of 10 million Americans annually, only a tenth of those killed by police. A theory I am wondering about is that what is really bothering people is heavy-handed policing, such as Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk, not the deaths. Low-level stuff like that is hard to objectively analyze compared to counts of dead bodies with police bullets in them, and it is diffuse, hard to point to specific instances of injustice. Dead bodies are very dramatic and ramp up the emotions. But it may be that the heavy-handed policing actually works in terms of keeping the police in control of situations without killing people. Though less fatal than the alternatives, heavy-handed policing still chafes, and should chafe. [Hyperbole alert.] It’s downright un-American. The American way is light policing overall with some spectacular shoot-outs now and then.

  97. “A theory I am wondering about is that what is really bothering people is heavy-handed policing, such as Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk, not the deaths.”

    I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition, John. The deaths are just the last in an entire string of police actions that, whether due to conscious racism or not, comes down harder on black people than it does on white people doing the same thing. If you are black, you are more likely to end up in a situation where the use of lethal force becomes a real possibility, and therefore more likely to die at the hands of police than a white person doing the same thing.

    Your speculation that such heavy handed policing may actually result in fewer deaths is interesting, but I’d want to see data before I jumped to any conclusion. But the issue is not just that such tactics are “heavy handed,” it is that such heavy handed tactics are also deployed more often against black people. In fact, especially given the racial disparity, it could also be that the opposite is true: such tactics can create distrust for police, leading to less cooperation. That’s certainly anecdotally true, anyway. You’re right that such tactics are unamerican and should “chafe” as you put it, but it’s not just the tactics themselves that is so galling, it’s the racial disparity in their deployment.

  98. I hope everyone will find a link and listen to what President Obama had to say.
    Open hearts and reconciliation and rooting out racial biases.

  99. I am a senior citizen now and I am tired. I was taught the correct way to look at race was to be colorblind, to judge not by the color of soneone’s skin. This is now considered wrong, even sometimes labelled racist, as if attaching a label and dismissing anyone who disagrees with you solves anything.
    Worse still I am told that no one need discuss the intent of any comment I make, but only how it is interpreted by the recipient. In reverse, however, I must not interpret anything said to me except through the lens of experience of the message sender.
    The two-way conversation has been closed off. Any attempt to find understanding has been shut down by the demands of one side that the only issue that can be discussed must be their issue and only their interpretation of that issue is valid.
    I recently gave up on another Mormon blog because no matter what my life experience taught me, it was never acceptable. Only the life experiences of one group could be examined or considered valid.
    Unfortunately, I feel that too many years of political correct censoring of speech and attaching vicious labels to anyone with another viewpoint so that they can be shamed and shunned has caused our society to become more racist than it has been in 50 years. Really racist, not just tag, you owe me an apology because I am offended racist.
    I appreciate the intent of the post. It is obviously understanding and peace. But it fails because it is one-sided.
    I am tired.

  100. Joey, if my post seems one-sided, consider that it might be because I am not trying to write something all-encompassing that will address every group and every error. Instead, I am addressing members of my own church, who are overwhelmingly white and many of which, in my personal experience, have found themselves on the disapproving side of the #blacklivesmatter protests. The #blacklivesmatter protesters are not perfect and have their own issues to address, but I’m not situated to speak to those issues. And of course they should be charitable also and consider the intent of those that may inadvertently offend. But again, it’s not my place as an outsider, to scold them from the sidelines about the right way and wrong way to express frustration. There are other voices that can address that issue better than I can.

    It’s also true that the #alllivesmatter perspective is, in my experience, already well-represented among church members. My post was not written in a vacuum, it’s part of a conversation where the disapproval of the protests has already, in my experience been given voice. Giving voice to the other perspective should not be taken as one-sided; it’s just the opposite.

    And I’m not asking you or anyone else to agree with everything #blacklivesmatter says or does. I’m only trying to help those who are genuinely puzzled about why #alllivesmatter has been interpreted to be so offensive to see why that is so, and to think about the fact that using often sends a message which may not be the intended message by those that have used it.

    In any case, I’m glad you appreciate the intent of the post, and I’m sorry you are tired.

  101. Eric Russell says:

    Every time I see “BLM” my first instinct is to read it as the Bureau of Land Management. Every time. Needless to say, this thread has been frequently jarring for me.

  102. lol, Eric.

  103. Well, everybody, I think the conversation has basically run its course and I’ll be closing comments soon. Thanks for contributing, everyone.

  104. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    The thing about being colorblind is that it often allows racism to persist. Race can’t be ignored, because race still matters. It’s not about being politically correct. It’s about respecting the lived-experience of those who still deal with the consequences of centuries of oppression, and who still deal with a current reality wherein they feel threatened, targeted, and harassed. You think you’re tired? This may not be your reality, but you cannot deny that it is very real for many, many people. Being colorblind is a luxury, born of privilege. Often, it’s just another way to bury your head in the sand.

  105. I totally get the fatigue of white people who have good hearts and are trying to do the right thing, and yet are nonetheless told they’re wrong. Race relations in America are messy and hard. I think the call of Christ is to keep an open heart and keep trying — knowing that sometimes we’ll get it right and sometimes we’ll get it wrong, and hoping for God’s grace.

  106. There are several black people who have spoke against the BLM and said that we need to say ALL lives matter it’s not just white people. It is absolutely perpetuating the segregation and racism that blacks recieve. Having black month and NAACP and all these other segregated black events continues to perpetuate!! If we truly want peace and segregation gone we must be like the military where color is NOT seen. We must stand for ALL people of ALL colors! It is not in any way saying black lives don’t matter when someone says ALM.
    With the example of the Mormon lives matter…if a newspaper wrote “Mormon lives matter” and then another printed “ALL lives matter” I, as a Mormon myself, would think, “Absolutely…that is a much better way of putting it.” In no way possible would I think, “I am so offended, they don’t think my life matters!” It’s ridiculous! It is even more ridiculous that people are getting offended about. ALL = red, yellow, white, brown, AND black. People today find any little thing to become offended about and it is absurd that we are now being offended by including ALL people in a positive way! Mind blowing, absolutely, mind blowing!!! We choose whether to be offended or not, either way ALL LIVES DO MATTER!

  107. Likewise, Jen, saying #blacklivesmatter is not inconsistent with the obvious truth that all lives matter. The problem is that it has historically not been obvious that “all” includes black people. “All men are created equal” did not include black men to most of the men who signed it, so the need to insist that black lives matter–that they are part of “all lives” is understandable.

  108. The trouble with being told that being colorblind is a luxury of white privilege is that 50 years ago, Black people told white people that that was what they wanted, a colorblind world. The goal posts keep getting moved; now something else is wanted. I cannot keep changing my speech and what is expected of me. It is never enough.
    And I am sorry, but this pattern has not decreased racism. It has strengthened it. The people I know of different races no longer discuss racial ideas. The white people are afraid of being labelled. They are publicly silent but privately angry or frightened of the violence or just uninterested in a problem that they have no power to solve but continue to be blamed for.

  109. MDearest says:

    This woman expressed what I feel, I’m going to post the link to the most recent article here:
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/07/12/law-professor-responds-students-who-complained-about-her-black-lives-matter-shirt

    She is a law professor and was criticized by her students for wearing a BLM (not Bureau of Land Management) shirt to class, and her response to them has gone viral. Her name is Patricia Leary. Among the many worthy comments she made, this is the one that made me want to high five someone:

    On student criticism that Black Lives Matter is “racist and anti-law enforcement and has been known to incite violence”:

    Leary wrote that the students seem to believe there is “an invisible ‘only’ in front of the words “Black Lives Matter.” Leary added: “If I say ‘law students matter,’ it does not imply that my colleagues, friends and family do not …. When people are receiving messages from the culture in which they live that their lives are less important than other lives, it is a cruel distortion of reality to scold them for not being inclusive enough.” Leary also added that “Black Lives Matter” is “not a statement about white people. It does not exclude white people. It does not accuse white people, unless you are a specific white person who perpetuates, endorses or ignores violence against black people.”

    She closes with a word of thanks to the students, writing: “I believe that every moment in life (and certainly in the life of law school) can be an occasion for teaching and learning. Thank you for creating an opportunity for me to put this deeply held belief into practice.”

  110. re: “black on black crime”: it has been my observation that black community leaders talk a lot, worry a lot, and work hard to reduce crime in their own communities, but they don’t feel the need to beat their people up about it publicly for the benefit of white folk. A more honest criticism would be “Why aren’t black people beating themselves up publicly about crime within their communities so we white people can see and hear about it and smugly congratulate ourselves that WE don’t have to worry about this?”

    They talk publicly with white people on issues where white people are involved. White people don’t give a damn about “black on black crime” except as a talking point to direct attention from our own failures.

  111. MDearest says:

    Joey, I’m a senior citizen too, but I haven’t quit learning yet. And I’m always on the lookout for good teachers. Patricia Leary is a very good teacher. You can read her full exchange with her students without added commentary here: It would help you sort out some things that have changed since 50 years ago, I think.