#AllLivesMatter is trending on Twitter.
The Root created this daily column as a space to curate and catalog blackness on social media. Sometimes it’s cool. Sometimes it’s funny. Today it is neither.
The internet is a white space.
Like America, social media reflects the thoughts, narratives and positions of a majority. Like America, black culture makes social media relevant and interesting but, like America, blackness is devalued and disregarded.
It is a statement born on the internet, created to contradict the violence against black bodies, informed by the fact that our lives, specifically, are deleted like pro-black Facebook posts while white lives remain active and valuable, as though every Caucasian breath was a presidential Tweet.
Because the internet is a white space, it is as fragile as the majority that occupies it. It is a haven for “not all white people” and “but what about...” It is often mean. It is obnoxious. It is cunning and deceitful. It swallows blackness and spits out the bones it cannot digest.
Like police. Like white people. Like #AllLivesMatter.
If one were to search social media for the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, the results would reveal daily (even hourly) tweets and status updates asserting the value of black lives. These posts are not only a testament to the violence and harm inflicted upon black people in America, but they are a reflection of the desperate attempt to get white people to understand that our existence is consequential—if only to us.
Conversely, if one were to conduct the same search for #AllLivesMatter, the results would reveal that #AllLivesMatter is, almost exclusively, a response to black people’s insistence that our lives have value and import. White people aren’t tweeting about the value of “all lives” on a random Tuesday. They do it as a counterpoint. It is greed and privilege in its purest form. It is a disgusting, self-serving form of “whataboutism.”
Why do white people act like this?
Because they can.
That is the answer.
If they were at all concerned about all lives mattering, they wouldn’t have such a visceral reaction to anyone declaring that black lives matter. Human rights activists don’t object to civil rights demonstrations. When the Susan G. Komen Foundation holds events to bring awareness to breast cancer, do you know why cancer researchers don’t retort with “all cancers matter?”
Because breast cancer is the most common form of cancer.
So here is a concise explanation for why #AllLivesMatter is trending on Twitter:
Because most white people do not give a damn about black lives. Because they believe they are the center of the universe and black people are just distant objects rotating in their gravitational pull. Because they are more apt to protest a governor’s stay-at-home order or a tax hike than a legal lynching in broad daylight. Because they are fragile. Because #BlackLivesMatter does not include them. Because they can.
Because the internet is a white space.