Last week, in two consecutive days, two black men were needlessly killed by police officers, one for selling CDs outside a convenience store and one during a traffic stop. A day later, 14 people were shot — including 12 police officers, five of whom were killed — during a peaceful protest in Dallas.
As we mourn those lost and grapple with the reality of what it’s like to be a racial minority in America, this is as good a time as ever to remind your relatives on Facebook why it’s important to say #BlackLivesMatter instead of the more dismissive #AllLivesMatter.
This tweet by user @blkgawdduss from back in November captures it perfectly:
The gist: Conservatives who get up in arms about the phrase “Happy Holidays” worry that it dilutes the particular fondness they feel for Christmas. They think their rights as Christians are being stifled when they can’t express their Christmas celebration in public (which, by the way, they can still do).
Unfortunately, these are sometimes the same people who don’t see the value in the resounding phrase “Black Lives Matter.” The purpose of saying that is to acknowledge the very real discrimination and brutality black people face in society; it’s a counter to harsh policies and practices that suggest black lives don’t matter.
The difference? Christmas isn’t actually under attack. It’s the most visibly celebrated holiday in the country, and nobody’s trying to take it away. Black Americans, on the other hand, are quite literally under attack, and refusing to acknowledge this reality will only make it worse.
So if someone in your life feels strongly about saying “Merry Christmas,” but thinks it’s racist to say “Black Lives Matter,” give them a gentle nudge. If you think “Happy Holidays” erases Christmas, you sure as hell ought to understand why “All Lives Matter” erases black people.