During the Q&A section of a panel I was on a few months ago, a person in the audience made the requisite “I’m not on the panel but I’m gonna stand here and hijack the panel conversation” five-minute, pre-question statement some people at panels have the tendency to do, and then asked the single dumbest question I’d ever heard in my life:
“So, what about blue lives? Do they matter?”
It was time to go.
Echoing the sentiment expressed by the question voiced at the panel, this weekend a nine-year-old boy organized a Blue Lives Matter March just outside of Chicago, Illinois. I suspect this child is the victim of what Bomani Jones calls insufficient daddyin’.
Each time I hear a person say ‘blue lives matter,’ I walk away with a lower estimation of their critical thinking abilities. They have clearly not thought through the logical implications of the statement. So, before you embarrass yourself by asking a similar question to a panelist, go on Facebook and post something trifling, or organize a march to put on blast just how insufficient you are in your thinking, let me explain why you should never say blue lives matter.
1: It’s a logical fallacy aka you sound dumb as hell
Look. When you say, ‘Blue lives matter’ in response to “Black lives matter,’ you’re treating the former as though it is the same as the latter. That is, as though blue lives are equivalent to Black lives. I get it. You mean to say that those who wear blue as a symbol of their occupation matter. They do, but here is the problem: blue lives (whatever the hell that means) and Black lives are not the same.
A false equivalence is “describing a situation where there appears to be a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none.” In other words, you say something comparing two things when there is, in reality, no comparison. Yes, people who wear blue matter. Postal Workers, folks in the United States Air Force; Snoop Dogg; University of North Carolina Tarheels and police officers matter. But to say that the lives of people choosing to wear blue is the same as those whose histories and existential experiences are colored daily by the fact that they inhabit Black bodies is about as dumb as saying that the five best rappers in the game are Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, and Dylan—cuz he spits hot fire.
2: It’s rooted in anti-blackness aka you sound racist as hell
Like All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter is a reactionary statement. It’s an attempt to refute a claim to dignity made by those who proclaim that Black lives matter. Yet, unlike Black Lives Matter, no one feels compelled to say the adjective ‘all’ in response to ‘blue.’ Why? Easy answer: anti-Blackness.
There is a deeply rooted flippancy toward the concerns of Black people in this country, and the statement ‘blue lives matter’ is an American original. The statement reminds me of the use of the Confederate Flag in response to the Civil Rights movement. It is an attempt to silence the voices of Black people. If real recognize real, then Donald Trump is looking at you like y’all on a first name basis.
3: They don’t exist aka what the hell is you talking about?
With all due respect (which means I’m about to say some disrespectful ish), what the hell are you talking about? Seriously. What the hell is a blue life?
Do me a favor, if you ever run across a blue life, kill it. Don’t hesitate. Sentient blue beings are not supposed to exist—unless this is Avatar. And even in that movie White folks were outchea on that genocide, so blue lives didn’t even matter then.
When the person in the audience asked that question, I couldn’t wait to respond. I leaned forward and said, “Thank you for you question, but blue lives don’t matter.” After a gasp from the audience, I added, “Because they don’t exist.”
I would have dropped the mic, but it was attached to a stand.