All lives matter is the righteous reactionary retort to the now often shouted mantra of Black Lives Matter. This tit-for-tat, back-and-forth battle is the reason we cannot have meaningful discussions about race in America. Instead of valuing others’ experience and yes, even their pain; we wait for the opportunity to respond to that which made us uncomfortable. The constant defense posture gets us about as far as we have, reduced to oversimplified remarks suitable for trite tweets.
Here’s something to consider. The reason the battle cry of Black Lives Matter irritate those who find the need to respond is because of what that statement embodies. The mantra is heavy with the history of disenfranchisement that started with the denial of freedom (slavery), progressed with domestic terrorism (KKK) accompanied by Jim Crow Laws (discrimination). The response to Black Lives Matter is a way to undermine the history of disregard. It does not acknowledge the meaning of the moment, recent history and occurrence of the frequency of justified violence against Black Lives. The response of All Lives Matter is equivalent to the "I don’t see color" response of well-meaning but uninformed persons who attempt to sweep injustice under the rug by denying that the ugliness exists and lives and thrives in the year 2015.
Leave “Black Lives Matter” alone and take a moment to listen to what the voices are saying behind the mantra. Hear the anger, the hurt, the disappointment of not living in a post-racial society. Then, seek, not to dismiss, but to understand that the cry about Black Lives mattering has less to do with the devaluation of your life, but more with seeking to acknowledge the value of ours.