Friday, July 15, 2016

Matter More? Or Matter Too?

The Black Lives Matter movement has given us all an excellent litmus test—in the form of its very name.

Some people hear that name, that phrase, “black lives matter,” and they’re sure they hear a particular word right after it:

More.

These people say, “Black lives matter more?  And they get angry.  And they put signs on their lawns—and bumper stickers on their cars—making a retort: All lives matter.”

Others of us hear that name, that phrase, “black lives matter,” and we’re sure we hear a different particular word right after it: 

Too.

And we say, “Has it really come to this?  So many years after Brown vs. Board and Dr. King and Malcolm X and the Freedom Riders, black Americans are actually having to remind us, in the wake of so many ugly recent incidents, that their lives matter too?

And we say, It’s clearly time to get back to work.

And we say, Police, schools, and tax codes gotta change.

And we say, How on earth does any sensible American hear that name, that phrase, and imagine there's a more after it?