On Sunday’s “CNN Newsroom,” Morehouse College Professor and CNN Commentator Marc Lamont Hill said it was “stupid” for former Maryland Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley to say “all lives matter” at the Netroots Nation conference on Saturday.
After fellow guest Ben Ferguson argued it was “very smart” for Hillary Clinton to avoid the conference, Hill responded that he understood Ferguson’s point that “as a political calculus, it’s better to run from this stuff than to take it head on, because you end up saying something stupid like, ‘All lives matter,’ like Martin O’Malley did.”
He explained, “Well, outside of context, saying, ‘All lives matter,’ is reasonable, right? All lives do matter. The Black Lives Matter movement has never been about denying the legitimacy of other people’s suffering. It’s never been about saying that all lives don’t matter, or that black lives are superior to other lives. The point is that there’s a crisis going on. There is a crisis in the black community of state violence. There’s a crisis of extrajudicial violence against black bodies. There’s a crisis of mass incarceration, of poverty. All these things are happening, and they’re targeted, and disproportionately targeted toward black people. And to develop a movement to say, ‘Hey, black people need support in this way, black people’s lives need to be affirmed and confirmed and protected in this way,’ to make that movement, and then have people say, ‘Hey, but what about white people?’ to me is to avoid the point. It’s almost as if to say we can’t affirm the humanity of black people without also bringing in some white people, we can’t talk about the value of black life unless we talk about something else. If there are two houses on a hill, and one is on fire, I’m not going to scream out, ‘All houses matter!’ I’m going to put out the fire in the one that’s on fire. Right now, there’s a fire in the black community.”
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