When on earth did saying that “all lives matter” become something you need to apologize for?
That’s a question a lot of people have after a confrontation this past weekend between Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders and black activists at the major progressive conference Netroots Nation. The activists were affiliated with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which has sprung up in the past year to protest and respond to the deaths of young black men and women at the hands of police and while in police custody. During his attempt to respond, O’Malley said, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” The protesters, as well as other attendees and progressives watching the events unfold, were deeply offended — and O’Malley was forced to apologize the next day.
Do activists really believe that only black lives matter? No, of course they don’t. But as the phrase “black lives matter” has moved into the mainstream of progressive politics over the last year, the response that “all lives matter” has been used to try to shut it down….