People using the phrase ‘all lives matter’ have come under fire from prominent vegan advocates including John Lewis (aka Badass Vegan) and Billie Eilish.
The phrase is often said in response to Black Lives Matter – including by numerous vegans – leading multiple people and publications to explain why appropriating it and redirecting it ‘actually takes the focus away from those who need it‘.
Lewis’ and Eilish’s posts came amid ongoing protests over police killings of black people.
‘They won’t stand up for black people’
John Lewis (aka Badass Vegan) shared his thoughts on a video post on Instagram. He said: “I just wanted to touch base on something. Yes, I know I go by the name ‘Badass Vegan’. I want people to know I am a black man first and I’m about social justice before veganism. Veganism is something that is part of my life.
“I’m a f*cking black man first – all of you motherf*ckers out there saying ‘all lives matter’ and you’re all trying to talk this sh*t, and I’m talking to vegans right now – when y’all motherf*ckers have y’all next campaign? Y’all want me to promote? Y’all want me to help? F*ck y’all, I’m not helping a goddamn thing.
“I want you all to remember that sh*t and all you motherf*ckers out there, wondering why black people won’t go vegan. It’s because you don’t give a f*ck about black people. Why the f*ck would they join your f*cking movement dumbasses? I want everybody here to pass this sh*t along to all the f*cking vegan organizations that don’t want to stand up for black people, saying ‘all lives matter’, but they won’t stand up for black people, like they don’t count in all those lives. F*ck you all again. Remember I said that.”
‘Why are black people killed for just being black?’
Vegan musician Billie Eilish also used Instagram to discuss the issue, saying: “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. Will you shut the f*ck up?No one is saying your life doesn’t matter. No one is saying your life is not hard. No one is saying literally anything about [you].
“All you [motherf*ckers] do is find a way to make everything about yourself. This is not about you. Stop making everything about you. You are not in need. You are not in danger.
“I’m [going] to try to explain this as if you were a child. 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?’. No. If someone’s house was on fire and someone is stuck in the house are you gonna make the fire department go to every other house on the block first because all houses matter???”
“No,” she said, because they don’t “f—— need it.”
She concluded the post by saying society ‘gives you privilege just for being white’, then asked: “If all lives matter, why are black people killed for just being black? Why are immigrants persecuted? Why are white people given opportunities that people of other races aren’t?”