How to Explain #BlackLivesMatter to People Who Just Don’t Get It

I like to think that my mom is pretty woke but there are times when she just doesn’t get something. Today, that something was #BlackLivesMatter. We were enjoying Samantha Bee expose uneducated Trump supporters talking about political correctness as if it was a disease and then we listened to countless people say “All Lives Matter” while admitting to know nothing about #BlackLivesMatter except that it is inherently “bad and racist”. She said something about supporting All Lives Matter and I knew then that I had to wake up my mom.

I started off with poorly trying to paraphrase advocates who I felt explained the movement well. I told her that it isn’t about black lives mattering more, it’s about black lives mattering just as much as any other life. And she responded with “Yeah, all lives matter.”

So, I tried again in my own words: “People are trying to replace #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter as if they are remotely equivalent. It’s like advocating for gay marriage and then someone telling you ‘That is such an exclusive thing to say, marriage is for everyone.’ Marriage IS for everyone but gays didn’t have it. The whole point of the movement is to advocate for the minority because they are the ones whose civil rights are being ignored. All lives DO matter but black lives are the ones being ignored.”

Her response was, “Okay, that makes sense but I don’t like any movement with protesting that shuts down the freeways and stops people from getting to work.”

So here we go again with more explaining. I told her, “The movement has to make noise and make sure they are heard or no one is gonna care.” But her retort was that they obviously have people’s attention so why not stop.

Last shot: “Then it would mean nothing. Nothing has changed. Stopping because someone says they heard you, doesn’t mean anything. It’s like banging on your neighbor’s door cause their music is too loud and then being satisfied when they finally answer the door and acknowledge you’re annoyed. However, they never turn down the music. The police brutality never stops. They can’t stop til things change.”

After what felt like hours of talking in circles, my mom understands and supports #BlackLivesMatters.


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