“A Shared Fury”: Smith College President Apologizes For Saying “All Lives Matter”

YouTube Screenshoot
YouTube Screenshoot
Kathleen McCartney, the president of prestigious Smith College, has had to apologize for what she has described as language that offended minority students. The language? McCartney wrote email supporting students protesting the grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York that said that “all lives matter.” She was immediately criticized for being too inclusive and not saying “Black lives matter.” McCartney agreed that she was wrong and apologized to the whole school.

McCartney was trying to show support for the protesters when she wrote to the student body that “We are united in our insistence that all lives matter” and criticized the grand jury decisions as causing “a shared fury . . . . We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest.”

The backlash was quick and . . . furious for not limiting the expression of concern to “black lives.” On Smith sophomore, Cecelia Lim, complained to the school newspaper that McCartner’s deviation form “black lives matter” was taken as “invalidating the experience of black lives.” Another wrote “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.”

This view is shared by commentators who have insisted that the failure to speak exclusively of Black lives makes people part of the problem. On HuffPost in a column entitled Please Stop Telling Me That All Lives Matter, Julia Craven insisted that “Saying “all lives matter” is nothing more than you centering and inserting yourself within a very emotional and personal situation without any empathy or respect.”

McCartney apologized profusely and said that “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.”

While “all lives matters” may not convey the specific message of “institutional violence against Black people” it did strive (as college presidents and academics are want to do) to be inclusive in the valuation of all lives. It conveyed that all lives — regardless of color — must be valued and protected equally. There will be an ongoing debate over the alleged “institutional violence against Black people” and it is a debate that may be long overdue. While I understand the point being made, McCartney’s original statement valuing all lives equally is hardly a matter for public apology in my view. Indeed, the remainder of her statement makes clear that she shared the “fury” of those who disagree with the grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York.

Here are the messages to the campus.

Source: Higher Education

60 thoughts on ““A Shared Fury”: Smith College President Apologizes For Saying “All Lives Matter””

  1. The backlash against this professor, who by all accounts had the best of intentions, seems intolerant, and against the pillars of higher education.

  2. My family immigrated from Czechoslavakia(?) through Ellis Island. So I suppose I’m supposed to hyphenate my name. Well, I am an American, and proud to be! So much work in the last 50 years to become a color-blind society. Now, down the tubes, we want divisions back. Not me, still 100% American.

    Because three young black men died while breaking the law, we want color to identify them?

  3. If a college only admits women students is that not sexist? How many American Indians are there enrolled at Smith? How many Ferguson grads? How many from Ladue?
    What does one really gain by being a graduate of one of these sexist enclaves?

    Where the heck is Smith College? I had never heard of it.

    1. BarkingDog – I think Smith may have started as a ‘finishing’ school for refined young women. This could be why they are having the vapors.

  4. Sure. Whatever you say. I know that Attorney General Holder is very concerned about this case. I know the President mentioned it in his press conference. He even talked about it on the Colbert report.

    They have top men on it. Top men!

  5. Trooperyork, there is no need for a separate federal investigation when local law enforcement and prosecutors are doing their job.

  6. All lives matter?

    Listen, it’s more likely that you’ll see a cat selfie at Smith College than a black male student.

  7. Kathleen McCartney, the president of prestigious Smith College, has absolutely nothing to apologize about in her email supporting students protesting police brutality.

    This is nothing short of political correctness run amok.

    Those deriding her use of the words all lives matter are delusional.

  8. Does Smith College have a sliding scale of which lives matter more than others?

    Let’s see….Smith does not admit men, so it must believe that men’s lives matter less than women’s lives.

    But wait…do the lives of black men matter more than the lives of white women? Probably not, since black men aren’t deemed worthy of admission to Smith.

    But wait again….Smith seems to say, via it’s president’s apology, that the lives of black men do matter more than other lives, even though Smith does not admit them. “Dudes, your lives totally matter, just not here” seems to be the Smith message.

    Plus, it’s reasonable to expect that Smith students hate the patriarchy, even though the patriarchy sends checks for tuition and expenses. Maybe they just hate the white patriarchy, not the black patriarchy, the black patriarchy that they value but won’t admit.

  9. Smith College huh? Who do they purport to teach? Future teachers? What is the tuition per semester? Smith is a common name in America. It was adopted by people who needed a last name when they got off the boat at Ellis Island and the U.S. Customs wanted more than just a first name like Weenie. So, they were tool bangers back home in Scotland or Italy and they chose the name on the wall hung up there for the folks to chose from and chose Smith.

    Send your kid to Smith College. Get your wallet out. Went in dumb, come out dumb too. Those who can, do. Those who cant, teach. Those who cant teach, teach teachers. Be all inclusive Smitty. Its the American way.

  10. Her apology does more to hurt the issue than help. As long as we keep breaking our culture into segments, we are doomed to fail. We the People matter, All lives matter. To look at it through the lens of differences will always divide us. Should we celebrate our diversity? Absolutely. we are a better people when we can all celebrate together.

Comments are closed.