Kathleen McCartney, president of prestigious Smith College has had to apologize for the most idiotic reason- Writing the words, “All lives matter” instead of “black lives matter.”
Believe it or not but it’s true.
McCartney wrote the phrase in the subject line of an e-mail sent to students in an attempt to show support for students protesting grand jury’s decisions on the Ferguson case.
“The failure of grand juries in Missouri and New York to indict two police officers for their use of excessive force, resulting in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, has led to a shared fury—and a deep sorrow. The videotape of Eric Garner spoke for itself—or should have done. In my conversations with you, I hear discouragement as you share how your lives have been disrupted, how you have lost faith in the quest for racial equality, and how you fear for people of color. How you fear especially for children like Tamir Rice, 12 years old, who was shot November 22 in Cleveland for holding a toy gun in a park,” she wrote.
Adding, “We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest; yet we wake again to news of violence that reminds us, painfully, of the stark reality of racial injustice.”
Nothing wrong there. In fact it is a pretty commendable gesture.
But then she concluded with:
“It is my fervent hope that the lives of Michael, Eric, Tamir and others will inspire a new civil rights movement. There are early signs that this is the case, as demonstrations across the country have illustrated. We are united in our insistence that all lives matter.”
For those who see nothing wrong with the words, the world has hope- for the rest; it’s one big bad world on the way to sure doom.
But apparently many of her students belong to the latter slot.
She started getting backlash before she knew what had happened.
“It felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives,” said sophomore, Cecelia Lim.
“It minimizes the anti-blackness of this the current situation; yes, all lives matter, but not all lives are being targeted for police brutality. The black students at this school deserve to have their specific struggles and pain recognized, not dissolved into the larger student body," said one in an email.
Before long people started discussing her ‘affront’ online:
If the "All" in "All Lives Matter" is anything like "All men are created equal," I'm definitely not here for it https://t.co/pQ2IFwzUuj— Deen Freelon (@dfreelon) December 10, 2014
Fortunately there were some sane ones out there too:
It went on till she apologized in another campus-wide email saying she had made a mistake “despite my best intentions.”
“I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,” she wrote.
She is right, there is a hashtag “All Lives Matter” trending online collecting a lot of flak.
But still it is uncalled for to pick up something said in all good intentions and blown away like that.
The fiend of overdoing “political correctness” has really starting curtailing freedom of speech.
In more cases than not it overshadows the issue at hand.
Political correctness has reached a point where people must constantly remain on their toes. Blackboards in school have become "chalkboards" to avoid offending black people. All of a sudden, every show or movie (not to mention company website and college brochure) needs to have a mix cast with a kosher (oops is that the right use of the word here?) blend of skin colors.
It is taking things too far. Let’s just stop, take a deep breath (hopefully inhale some common sense) and work for a better world-not a world that depends more on deciphering people’s intentions behind apparently innocent words and overlooking their actions.