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The philosophical flaw in saying “All Lives Matter”

Its effect is to stall conversations about anti-Black racism and instead either pretend that all lives do matter, or talk about everybody’s lives all at once—whether or not particular groups are subject to particular injustices right now

By Arianne Shahvisi  

“Black Lives Matter” street mural painted in white along Center Street (between Worth St. and Reade St.) in front of New York County Supreme Court and US. Federal Courthouse in lower Manhattan, New York, NY, July 1, 2020. The completed street mural is part of the movement against systemic racism against the African-Amercan community and police brutality, in protest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)

One item that survived my recent wardrobe clear-out is a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Refugees are welcome.” Taken at face value, it’s a lie. In the UK, refugees are decidedly not welcome, and never have been. Asylum seekers’ applications are readily rejected, many are detained and deported, and an alarming proportion of refugees are homeless. Yet the statement is…

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