Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Most Lives (Maybe) Matter

New York Times Senior Staff Editor Daniel Victor made  a lot of sense when a month ago he explained

Those in the Black Lives Matter movement say black people are in immediate danger and need immediate attention, like the broken bone or house on fire.

Saying “All Lives Matter” in response would suggest to them that all people are in equal danger, invalidating the specific concerns of black people.

“You’re watering the house that’s not burning, but you’re choosing to leave the house that’s burning unattended,” said Allen Kwabena Frimpong, an organizer for the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter. “It’s irresponsible.”

More to the point: It is a given that all lives matter, said Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University.

“That has always been an assumption,” she said. “The entire point of Black Lives Matter is to illustrate the extent to which black lives have not mattered in this country.”

Judith Butler, a professor in the department of comparative literature and the program of critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley, saidin a 2015 interview that “if we jump too quickly to the universal formulation, ‘all lives matter,’ then we miss the fact that black people have not yet been included in the idea of ‘all lives.’ ”

Oddly enough, Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck!) makes a similar point when he remarks

All of us are sitting around a table, and we're all friends. It's time for dessert, and everybody gets pie except for me and you. And you say, ‘I didn’t get any pie.’ Everybody at the table looks at you and says ‘I know. All pie matters.’ You say, ‘But I don't have any pie! What about my pie?’

It all sounds so reasonable. White lives always have mattered in the USA and now black lives must matter, too.   To their credit, Black Lives Matter has now clarified its message as The Washington Post reports

Dozens of Black Lives Matter organizations jointly released a wide-ranging platform Monday spelling out standpoints on dozens of issues.

On almost all of the issues — including education, food insecurity, criminal sentencing and policing — progressive Jewish groups heartily agree. But the new platform’s stance on Israel has angered major Jewish organizations.

The platform calls for an end to U.S. federal aid for Israel. By providing aid, the platform argues, the United States is “complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.” Criticizing the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas and the arrest of young Palestinians, it describes Israel as “an apartheid state.”

One individual, the Times' Victor had noted, had tweeted Dear #AllLivesMatter types... imagine the word "too" appended to #BlackLivesMatter - get it now?

Oh, yes. We all "get it now." Black Lives matter. All lives matter. As for Jewish lives, well, that's another story entirely.

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