You've undoubtedly seen the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag all over the Internet this year. Which means, if you were paying attention, you've probably seen some white person glide into Facebook comments or someone's Twitter replies to declare, "Um, excuse me, but don't you mean all lives matter?"
This now familiar internet scene played itself out in real life this weekend, when #BlackLivesMatter protesters stormed the liberal Netroots Nation conference while longshot Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley was on stage, and the former Maryland governor responded by saying, "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter."
That did not go over well with Democrats.
Former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, meanwhile, was recently asked about the controversy. He doesn't get why it's such a big deal either.
Bush was asked if O'Malley should apologize, and he laughed and shook his head while proclaiming, "No. For crying out loud, no."
"We're so uptight and so politically correct that he should apologize for saying all lives matter?" continued Bush. "If he believes that white lives matter, which I believe he does, then he shouldn't apologize to a group that disagrees with him."
Again, this same scenario of white people jumping on the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and proclaiming, "But ... uh, all lives matter!" has been playing out pretty much since the hashtag started. So it's kind of surreal to see presidential candidates fall into the trap, if only because it shows how out of touch they are.
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But let's put this in cynical capitalist terms that someone like Bush might be able to relate to.
Let's say Pepsi came out with a new slogan — something like "Pepsi: It's Got That Smooth Taste." Then Coke came along and was like, "Um, excuse me, wow! So offensive! Don't all sodas have that smooth taste?" Pepsi would understandably be like, "Um, ok, Coke, but this has nothing to do with you. We're not saying you don't have a smooth taste, too, we're just trying to promote our own thing here."
Except we're not talking about carbonated beverages here, we're talking about the systematic injustice black people face in America's criminal justice system. So maybe you could see why proclaiming "All Lives Matter" pisses so many people off.