GenY on D&I: Keeping the All Lives Matter Crew in Check

Every time I make a statement advocating for a particular group of people, the “All lives matter” crew (which I call ALMC for short) takes it upon themselves to respond with the same tired argument.

Most of the time when someone says, “Black lives matter”, the response from many is “All Lives Matter”. Earlier this week I posted this seemingly innocuous statement on Facebook: “I want my people to thrive.” Of course, the ALMC was up in arms with their “I want all people to thrive” argument. And, like every other time, I explain that the truth is, some people are, in fact, thriving, and others are not. We live in a country (a world, really) of haves and have nots. I’m allowed to want my people, whose efforts to thrive have been thwarted at every turn, to thrive. That has nothing to do with not wanting others to thrive.

With all due respect, I think we need to keep the ALMC in check, and what better way to do so than a check-list?

ALMC Checklist:

1. Do your research on why Black Lives Matter, as an organization, was founded. Hint: It wasn’t to combat the All Lives Matter organization, as there was and is no such thing. Additionally, it wasn’t to combat the idea that “all lives matter”.

2. Please realize that saying “Black lives matter” doesn’t go against the lives of anyone who isn’t Black. When that phrase is written/spoken, it does not mean we are saying we don’t think any other lives matter.

3. Understand that focusing on a particular group is not wrong, especially when that group is being oppressed. Think of it this way: Would you attend a fundraiser for cancer research and yell out “All diseases matter!”? Probably not. Why? Because you realize that fundraising for cancer doesn’t mean one cares nothing about other diseases. It’s just an area of focus for some, and many people fundraise for researching cures for multiple diseases.

4. If you really believe that ALL lives matter, try working towards changing the minds of those who don’t believe so. As you should know from completing item one on this checklist, there’s a reason Black Lives Matter, as an organization, was created. Instead of focusing your efforts on going against those who state, “Black Lives Matter”, try brainstorming and implementing strategies to help decrease the reasons rooted in inequality and inequity that the Black Lives Matter organization needed to be created in the first place.

5. Stop “All lives mattering” every situation. Sometimes it’s okay to just be quiet. If it doesn’t apply, let it fly.

If you know someone in the crew, feel free to share this list with them. If you’re in the crew, please use this list as a resource to assist you in being helpful with making the world the peaceful place you’d like it to ideally be.

About Jasmine McElroy

Jasmine McElroy is a Diversity & Inclusion enthusiast and practitioner who dives deepest into the topics of race and sexual orientation. She has done D&I work in 4 different industries and truly sees it as her life's work. She currently serves as the D&I Coordinator for a law firm in NYC, but the views she shares here are only representative of her individual thoughts and research; she does not speak on behalf of the company, but hopes to provide a fresh perspective that reflects intel gathered from other millennials in her overall network. (The views, opinions and positions expressed by Jasmine are hers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of The Winters Group, Inc.)

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