Vegan musician Billie Eilish has addressed the problematic phrase “all lives matter” on Instagram. She also expressed her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Grammy Award-winning artist explained to her 63 million followers why saying “all lives matter” in response to “Black lives matter” is racist. “If I hear one more white person say ‘All Lives Matter’ one more f*cking time, I’m going to lose my f*cking mind,” she said.
“No one is saying your life doesn’t matter,” Eilish continued. “No one is saying your life is not hard.” She added: “No one is saying literally anything about you.”
‘This Is Not About You’
Critics of the phrase “all lives matter” say that it refocuses conversations about social justice on white people. “This is not about you,” reiterated Eilish. “Stop making everything about you. You are not in need. You are not in danger.”
There have been two weeks of protests across the US and abroad about police violence against Black people. Last month, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered a Black man named George Floyd, sparking the wave of protests.
Police officers have injured and arrested many people while peacefully demonstrating. David McAtee, a Kentucky restaurant-owner, was shot and killed by police last week.
The persecution of Black protestors has itself prompted further criticism of racial profiling, violence, and the lack of accountability within the police force.
Eilish used several analogies to explain this threat of pervasive structural inequality and white privilege. She asked: “If your friend gets a cut on their arm, are you gonna wait to give all your friends a Band-Aid first because all arms matter?”
“If someone’s house was on fire and someone is stuck in the house,” Eilish continued. “Are you gonna make the fire department go to every other house on the block first because all houses matter?”
‘Black Lives Matter’ Does Not Mean Other Lives Don’t’
The Black Lives Matter movement has received an outpouring of public support since Floyd’s death. Politicians, celebrities, and public figures are speaking out against police violence and systemic racism.
The subsequent protests achieved several key victories, including the arrest and charging of the officers involved in Floyd’s murder; plans to entirely dismantle Minneapolis police department; and major police reforms in New York City including the redistribution of a portion of the NYPD’s budget.
“Right now, right in this moment, we have to address the hundreds of years of oppression of Black people,” Eilish said. “You are privileged whether you like it or not.”
“The slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ does not mean other lives don’t. It’s calling attention to the fact that society clearly thinks Black lives don’t f*cking matter. And they f*cking do,” Eilish added.