Justice

Jesse Williams Responds to #AllLivesMatter With This One Brilliant Comic

August 17th 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

Amid national debate over racial injustice, sparked by the police-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a hashtag war has developed, pitting those who advance #BlackLivesMatter on social media against those who contend that #AllLivesMatter. For advocates in the former group, it seems redundant (if not offensive) to argue that all lives matter.

(In a country that prides itself on the equal treatment of its citizens under constitutional law, it should probably go without saying that all lives matter. But that hasn't stopped some from promoting the #AllLivesMatter concept, using it in response to the national movement known as Black Lives Matter.)

It is not that Black rights supporters deny that all human life should be held in equality, but as stories of police-involved shootings of unarmed Black people, church burnings, and racial discrimination continue to make headlines across the country, the necessity of the Black Lives Matter movement is apparent.

All houses matter

This comic perfectly demonstrates that point, illustrating the profound misconception that underlies "all lives matter," especially in the context of the Black rights movement. Created by Kris Straub, the three-panel comic appears in the cartoonist's ChainsawSuit series.

"All houses matter," the text reads above the image of a person hosing down an apparently undamaged home. To the right, a house is being consumed by flames, but the person holding the hose, eyes shut and smiling, does not appear to notice. The house on the right represents Black communities; the house of the left represents white America.

 
It's been 1 year since Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Miss...

It's been 1 year since Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri. #BlackLivesMatter

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, August 9, 2015

In effect, the cartoonist is suggesting that proponents of "all lives matter" have failed to recognize the significance of issues raised by Black Lives Matter advocates. They are content to claim that all lives matter, but they are also unwilling to take the necessary actions to support that equality, even when they have the means to do so.

Actor and activist Jesse Williams—who previously spoke out about police brutality—shared the comic on Instagram last week. "We see you," he commented. "As will history."

 

We see you. As will history. (ChainsawSuit by Kris Straub)

A photo posted by Jesse Williams (@ijessewilliams) on

 

Indeed, it seems as though false interpretations of the Black Lives Matter mantra does bear historical consequence, separating those who see #BlackLivesMatter as an important feature of a larger movement from those who feel that it does not adequately represent national concerns.