I broke my leg while hiking, and it really, REALLY hurt;
As I waited for assistance, calmly writhing in the dirt,
I was contemplating this and that, anticipating hell,
And I hoped the paramedics fixed my other limbs as well!
Just the one was really broken, and the other three were fine,
But, the thing is, all limbs matter, and of course, these limbs are mine!
When the ambulance came screaming up, not many words were spoken—
True professionals, they focused on the limb that had been broken—
What they did could not be faulted, but in truth it seemed to me
That in focusing on that one, they’d dismissed the other three!
They had saved my leg completely—so that battle had been won—
But, the thing is, all limbs matter, and they’d only saved the one!
So the worst of it is over; now a couple weeks have passed
And I’ve sort of grown accustomed to my left leg in a cast
Both my arms are working perfectly; my right leg’s really great,
But they’ve none of them been casted, which I kinda sorta hate
See, I know that they are healthy, but just one has been restored;
And the thing is, all limbs matter—ah, but three have been ignored!
I really doubt that any regular readers here need this explained, but yeah, this is a Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter thing. I am a long time advocate of contextualism, of the understanding that meaning is *always* dependent on context, that “all lives matter” means very different things depending on how it is used. And it turns out, “all lives matter” is often (quite often? Most often?) used as a response to “black lives matter”… which, in context, is not at all inclusive; rather, it is used to shut down, to dismiss, to eliminate.
I could say more, but I’d rather we–you and I–listened, instead. Take a look at the #blacklivesmatter feed on twitter, or Facebook, or whatever. Resist the urge to say “here’s a solution”, even if we think it is a good idea. Read, listen, listen some more, read some more.
Yes, I have more to say here… but I just deleted a whole bunch of it, because this is not about what I think. So I’ll say more, but not here.
Edit: how convenient! A guide to what to do when told “Black Lives Matter”!