I was recently watching the TLC comeback interview that took place in the U.K. that went viral, and not for the right reason. Chilli was asked a question about her opinions of Black Lives Matter and she dodged the question and used a bunch of red herrings to distract away from the original question. Then she made the comment, "all lives matter." Now, this article isn't so much about the TLC comeback or Chilli herself as it's about what should be called the "all lives matter mentality."
In my own personal life, I've come in contact with black people who think like this. Some do it out of ignorance, while others have a more intentional objective. You have a lot of black folks who believe "all lives matter" without actually saying it. However, there are signs that one can be on the lookout for when dealing with people in our community. When it comes to building bridges, we want to build them with as many people as possible...however we also don't want to waste time on black people who want to keep their heads in the sand. So this article is directed more towards black people with the All Lives Matter mentality and not so much white people.
I also want to say that blacks with the ALM mentality aren't necessarily the same as people who say "Blue Lives Matter." Blue Lives Matter people, for the most part, are all trolls and mostly white. If there are black people with the Blue Lives Matter mentality, then they're almost certainly coons and sellouts no questions asked. Blue Lives Matter people are basically police state/state violence apologists who believe all murders of Black people are justified. There are a lot of black people however with the ALM mentality and that's why I'm writing this article because this needs to be discussed.
1. You're called "divisive" for speaking out about issues facing the black community. Speaking out for black people doesn't earn you any brownie points with management and doesn't make a lot of your white co-workers feel comfortable around you, especially if many of them are Republicans and possibly Trump voters. This is classic 'Attack the Messenger.' To those with the ALM mentality, not being divisive means keeping your head down and tap dancing for acceptance. Since speaking out about issues facing the community is not well received in some quarters, they think it best to not speak on these issues at all.
2. To them pro-black, or being black and proud in general, IS anti-white. I've had a couple black people that I used to be close with (not any longer) claim on multiple occasions that I hate white people. Why? Because I am unapologetically black. Now, of course, I don't and I'd expect anyone who comes to this site can see how I build my arguments. I don't hate anybody, I just care more about my people than being socially-acceptable and mentally sanitized. I look at what has happened to black people in America and around the world and choose to proudly convey my love for my people because so many others in this world dislike and subjugate us. If my blackness makes white people feel uncomfortable, then that sounds like a personal problem to me. I'm not going to change my beliefs to fit in with those around me who would vote for politicians that would hurt me through policy given the opportunity.
3. They say they don't just care about black people, but ALL people. This is a straw man fallacy and plays into the lie that to say Black Lives Matter means you don't believe the lives of other people matter too. This is a common lie that continues to be used as a way of deflecting from the issue of state violence against the black community. I'm not attacking people who speak out about what goes on in other communities. I do that every day and I think that's a great way to build coalitions, but I also don't say "all lives matter." A lot of blacks with the ALM mentality only mention other groups as a deflection, because most of the time, they're not speaking out for other communities anyway. It's not like they're saying "all lives matter" while they're at a protest. They say ALM to shut down discussion about black lives, not because they're in any other movements.
4. They claim to support you but avoid interacting with you. A lot of black people with the ALM mentality want to believe they aren't problematic. Many probably don't think of themselves as selling out (except for the ones who know they're trolling). So they will say they support you and your endeavors, but when push comes to shove...they avoid you like the plague. Listen, Black and Intellectual family, they don't REALLY support you. They just tell you that because they know how bad it makes them look to be black and comfortable with our oppression. Matter of fact, some may even go so far as to actively subvert what you're trying to build and the defiant message you're trying to spread. ALM blacks by their very nature are conformists and want to be accepted above all else...even if that means altering their political views to gel with those of the dominant societies. So if they already view you as "divisive" as stated above, some will aid and abet in singling you out for one reason or another.
5. They typically aren't politically-aware and/or have a very narrow view of history. Blacks with the ALM mentality have selective memory. They ignore or are unaware of, the countless examples of systemic bias within America on the local, state and federal level. I've noticed a lot of ALM blacks shield themselves from the news as well. I believe this is done specifically so that they don't have to deal with the constant reminder that the ALM myth they believe in actually doesn't exist. It's much easier to live in the Matrix when you aren't exposed to what's really going on consistently. They self-censor in an effort to protect their pristine view of America and the people they work with.
6. They don't get why Black Lives Matter is called Black Lives Matter. Whether they're playing stupid, or are just ignorant of the origin of the movement...at the heart of the problem is a lack of understanding of why black lives are mentioned in particular. It's because we have a system in America that doesn't value black life. It's a very easy and simple concept to understand that doesn't require a PhD to grasp. Though, by how aloof blacks with the ALM mentality act sometimes...you'd think you would need a doctorate to explain it to them. Really you don't, most just want to avoid blackness. It's not complicated unless people want to make it complicated because they don't want to face the truth.
7. They think racism/white supremacy will be solved through prayer. There are good people in the Church I believe, but there's a hell of a lot of docility too. I'm not going to say everyone in the Church has the ALM mentality, but based on my experience in the past...I'd say many of them do. Due to the nature of the Bible and how it's taught in most Churches, it lends itself to this idea that praying and having faith is all one needs to do to challenge problems in their lives. It places the center of the struggle on Jesus so that the believer doesn't have to do anything. The believer doesn't have to be proactive in his/her own survival because they're going to "let God handle it." Now it doesn't take a historian to realize that Black people have been saying this for generations now and our situation has only marginally improved. The improvements that have come came through real-world activism, it came from people staring down attack dogs and water hoses. The improvements have not come because racist white people had a moment with God and saw the errors of their ways. However, blacks with the ALM mentality in the Church don't get that and fail to see the flaws in their tactics because their entire belief system is based purely on faith...not anything tangible that can be measured.