“For Those Who Want to Say, “All Lives Matter!”

Lou Yeboah

By: Lou Yeboah

Of course, ALL lives matter. That sentiment is not negated by the notion that “Black Lives Matter.” Indeed, I believe that most people involved in the “Black Lives Matter” movement would affirm that ALL lives matter. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Brown lives matter. Red lives matter. ALL lives matter. It follows from this— that black lives do not matter more — only that they matter as much. 

One cannot argue the fact, that there are many expressions in our society that makes it clear that “Black” lives do not matter as much as Whites. If we just proclaim that “All Lives Matter” and stop there, we are ignoring the reality in America. There’s a major issue to address in this country, and if you’re unaware, then your ignorance is disturbing.  This isn’t a war against other races — this is a war against injustice and a corrupt judicial system, because truth be told, ALL lives DO NOT matter in America. Blacks lives have been constrained and cut short. You see, there is no other race on this planet earth whose lives have been and continue to be dehumanized, tortured, mutilated, raped, lynched, beaten, strangled, bruised, hated upon, broken, and killed, more than the “Black” race. Why? Because as the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution states, it wants to control, suppress and decimate communities of color. 

Vice President Alexander H. Stephens of the Confederacy, in his 1861 “Cornerstone speech,” was as clear as he could possibly be: “But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically.  Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.  They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.   

With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. 

I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph.”

So you see, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said… There can be no gainsaying of the fact that racism is still alive all over America. Racial injustice is still the Negro’s burden and America’s shame. And we must face the hard fact that many Americans would like to have a nation which is a democracy for white Americans but simultaneously a dictatorship over black Americans. We must face the fact that we still have much to do in the area of race relations. For those who are telling [us] to keep [our] mouth shut, [we] can’t do that. [We’re] not going to segregate [our] moral concerns. And we know on some positions, cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And they’re times when [we] must take a stand that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but [we] must do it because it is right …[An excerpt of a speech originally titled “America’s Chief Moral Dilemma.” © 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, © renewed 1995 Coretta Scott King]

Let the statements of the United States Declaration of Independence be true, which states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

In aching for injustice, I ache for justice to be served and in this I don’t believe I am unique. Whatever the launching point of question, whatever the realm of application, whatever the level of motivation and concern and ensuing action or non-action, I believe our collective desire in searching the word “justice” over and over has to be a common longing to see and experience justice meted out in some way and place. To see it alive and active. To see right and what we deem “fair” prevail. 

Saying “Black Lives Matter” does not mean ONLY Black lives. It is simply acknowledging the value and contributions specifically of Black members of our society during an arguably pivotal time for race relations in our country. It is an acknowledgment that ALL people are not affected by systemic racism or bias. ALL lives are not disproportionately ending at the hands of law enforcement. Our country wasn’t built on enslaving ALL lives. 

What words can possibly console broken souls who are overcome by tumultuous waves of grief, anger, desperation, and hopelessness? “Black Lives Matter!”

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