Over the past few years, many of us in the sector have learned to understand the harm caused by All Lives Matter, the clueless, oftentimes racist response to Black Lives Matter. We have arguments at the ready like “All lives matter is not possible until Black lives do” and “If I say ‘we need to find a cure for cancer,’ do you go ‘all diseases matter?!’ Or if I say, ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ do you go ‘Happy All-Parents Day’?! Do you, Ted, do you?!”
It’s great to push back against people who still insist on ignoring the systemic anti-Black racism pervasive in our society. However, the all-lives-matter philosophy manifests in ways many of us don’t often think about. It happens in our sector all the time, everywhere. If we’re going to advance equity, then we need to examine the myriad, often subtle ways we are perpetuating the all-lives-matter credo in our work:
“All Grant Applications Matter!”: This is the philosophy that forms the basis for much of philanthropy, this belief that organizations all matter the same and so whoever writes the best grant proposals and have the best relationships get funding. It leads to 90% of philanthropic dollars going to white-led organizations over the past several decades.
“All Donors Matter!”: Traditional fundraising insists all donors matter, and that we should all advance a culture of philanthropy and become one big happy family working to building a better world. While well-intentioned, it erases the problematic nature of fundraising and philanthropy. As the Community-Centric Fundraising movement points out, a significant percentage of wealth is built on slavery, stolen Native land, internment camps, and other horrific historic injustices, along with ongoing tax evasion.
“All Fundraising Tactics Matter!”: We tend to think all fundraising tactics are good as long as they bring in donations. This too is problematic. Fundraising practices are not all equally awesome. In fact, many perpetuate white saviorism, poverty tourism, and the very injustice we are raising money to fight.
“All Opinions Matter!”: We need to stop operating as if all opinions are equally valid. They are not, and they shouldn’t be. The people who are most harmed by injustice, their opinions must matter more in situations that affect them most.
“All Research Matters!”: Along with the belief that “all opinions matter,” many of us often think that all research strategies and findings equally matter. Research that does not disaggregate data such as race, ethnicity, disability, etc., may lead to findings that are skewed and possibly even be harmful when published.
Read the full article about the all-lives-matter philosophy by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.
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