Is “all lives matter” really offensive?


You see a bedraggled and tired-looking homeless man standing outside of a grocery store holding a handmade sign. It reads: “I’m so very hungry, please help.”

Outraged, you go out and make your own sign. You return to the store and stand beside him, holding it prominently. It reads: “Everyone gets hungry.”

Are you wrong? Is your sign wrong? No. But are you being a dick? Yes.

You see, by countering his argument with “everyone gets hungry,” you are trivializing the very real problems he faces. The same is true of the “all lives matter” response.

Yes, of course, all lives actually matter. The Black Lives Matter movement is a response to the perception (and reality) that while all lives should matter, black lives tend not to matter to the media, pop culture or most of us white folks. It’s a response to a very real and pressing problem. “Black man shot” shows up in the newspapers and evening broadcast just after “dog bites mailman” and generates the same level of outrage from most of us.

Black lives do matter, or rather they absolutely should. No one is arguing that only black lives matter in the same way that the homeless man wasn’t arguing that only he gets hungry.

All lives matter is a dickish response to the Black Lives Matter movement, and again, we hear it during the current movement of Stop AAPI Hate. All lives matter trivializes the problems that the minority groups face(often racistly), with a statement that is technically true but also irrelevant to the problems that the community faces.

Geologist, a lover of all science, father of a young child, published writer on Forbes and Mental Floss

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