On the surface, the phrase “All Lives Matter,” seems innocent enough. When placed in the context of the national conversation, however, it is a divisive and inflammatory slogan and one that doesn’t belong on police cars patrolling our communities.
We applaud Frankton Town Marshal Dave Huffman for politely agreeing to remove All Lives Matter decals from Frankton police cars in response to a public petition.
All Lives Matter originated not as a cry for inclusion, but as a critical response to Black Lives Matter, an activist movement against institutional racism with a focus on African Americans being disproportionately killed in altercations with police. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean that black lives matter more than other lives, but that they matter just as much and are deserving of equal treatment and protection by our police and courts.
Countering Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter is not a call for greater social justice. It is an effort to minimize the grievances of African Americans. It is an effort to drown out their voices. It is an effort to deny the key point of the message – that the experience of minorities in America is fundamentally different from that of the majority.
It seems that many well-meaning people have supported the All Lives Matter slogan, perhaps being unaware of its roots. We give the Frankton Police Department the benefit of the doubt and take Mr. Huffman at his word that the intent was not to offend or to take a stance against Black Lives Matter.