“The revolutionary move for those within a perverse structure involves finding ways of casting light on the constellation of acceptable transgressions that are going in within the system.
This can help us uncover the central problem with the All Lives Matter hashtag that arose in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. On the surface the former is simply a reiteration of the official standpoint of America; one that is positive and worthy of support. But this overt position of all lives mattering is inexorably coupled with a network of covert acceptable transgressions. One of which being that black lives don’t matter. This acceptable transgression is not expressed in words, but covertly operates in the institutional realities of the country (in education, policing, prisons, the legal system, etc.).
We are living within a perverse system in which affirmation of the official stance (all lives matter) involves acceptance, and even direct participation in, the disavowed unofficial transgression (black lives don’t matter).
The radical move here involves bringing to the surface the obscene secret that undergirds the perverse system so that it can be short-circuited. In Black Lives Matter, this obscene secret is brought up in such a way that it disturbs the smooth running of a system where some are valued over others.”
– “Transgressions that Support the Law: The Perverse Nature of All Lives Matter” by Peter Rollins
Indeed, the “All Lives Matter‘ hashtag is problematic because while it may on the surface appear to be “positive” in the eyes of society in its declaration that everyone is equal, it is actually intended to dismiss the real issue of black lives being discriminated, and also perpetuates the violence of the white supremacy system against the black community.
Thus, it is a revolutionary move for Black Lives Matter to seek to disrupt the smooth running of the white supremacy system by highlighting the issue of some being valued over others. Others, such as the Guardian, have also sought to find ways to cast light on the problem of how “All Lives Matter” ignores the issue of racial disparity and results in acceptable transgressions, such as the recent event of a black protester being mistreated by a crowd of white people who, ironically, chanted “All Lives Matter“, when in reality, their very actions contradicted the essence of what they professed to promote.
In my search for relevant articles on this topic, I also learnt that US President Obama recently wanted to address the problem with “All Lives Matter” by responding to the critics and clarifying that “Black Lives Matter” is justified in its rallying cry as they wanted to deal with the specific problem of discrimination and oppression by the system “that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities”.
I am also encouraged by this blog as the blogger, who is white, wants to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter supporters.
“when Black women and men say similar things, they are inundated with accusations of “reverse racism” or “divisiveness.” I think it’s important to keep in mind how white privilege gives me a larger and safer opportunity to have this conversation without being excessively harassed – both highlighting the exact racism I’m discussing and the importance of having white people speak to one another when and how we can.”