Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter?

Rev. Bob Shaw, long time supporter of AllianceQ and current member of the Alliance Council,
shares this reflection on the Black Lives Matter movement.

I have recently had reason to have some intense conversations with some friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who do not look like me. Some of those conversations actually took place in a St. Louis neighborhood near Ferguson, Mo. It has caused me to give fresh thought to the issues behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

When I hear someone say, “All lives matter” as part of the conversation the following analogy comes to mind:

I imagine that I have come downstairs one morning and have stumbled on the last two steps and had a serious fall. Within a minute my left ankle is turning blue and is already badly swollen. I am afraid it is broken. My wife and I quickly decide that I need medical attention, and we rush to the emergency room at the hospital.

After asking me a few questions the ER doctor orders a full MRI body scan. I ask why I need that; why not just X-ray my left ankle? The doctor, in a patronizing voice, says “All bones matter”.

Of course all bones matter! That is so obvious it’s almost silly to say it out loud. Of course all bones matter, but that’s not where the problem is; that’s not where the pain is; that’s not what we came here to talk about today!

Of course I believe that all lives matter. Black lives matter. Lives of people of every ethnicity matter. Muslim lives matter. Lives of police officers matter, etc., etc., etc. It is so true that it is usually pointless to say it out loud, unless you are trying to divert a serious conversation that is going in a direction you don’t like.

So, yes, of course I believe that all lives matter, but you probably will not hear me saying it out loud in a serious conversation.