Asked in earnest by a friend trying to understand the BLM and ALM issue, here is a thought to put it as simply as I can, for anyone who secretly needs it and wants merely to understand without being reprimanded publicly:
I didn’t think any one needed this, but some do. And that’s fine. All Lives Matter is the slogan of a refusal to live without Privilege. Black Lives Matter is the chant of a refusal to live without humane and just treatment. All Lives Matter is the shrill cry of Terrified Consciousness— an awareness of the fact that privilege, any form of it, is in fact created by a knee on someone’s neck, and that anything that person does, any twitch or twist, is somehow a threat to “life as they know it” which is privilege.
The response to the killing of black people has manifested itself, in its most adverse form, in the destruction of property (privilege), not the destruction of white life. (Although for many, ownership of property is what life is all about). The killing of black people has been to obliterate black humanity, in order to retain property.
All Lives Matter is a symptom of someone who kneels on someone’s neck, so that their life remains holy and privileged. Black lives matter is a kneeling to the earth, saying that we are here and by virtue of that fact alone — let alone the fact that we are also magic— we are human and will be treated as no less than that.
Quietly work on yourselves, everyone. In action. Over a protracted period. Demonstrate yes, but also find a way to make what is demonstrated a way of life.
Vladimir Lucien is a writer, actor and critic from St. Lucia. He is the author of Sounding Ground (2014) which won the 2015 OCM Bocas prize for Caribbean Literature.