Remigio Pereira isn’t the first person to use the phrase “All Lives Matter,” but the Canadian tenor learned the hard way this week that uttering it (or singing it) will almost certainly result in blow-back.
Pereira substituted “We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the brave,” instead of the usual “With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free” during the Tenors’ performance of the national anthem on Tuesday night in San Diego.
He also held up a sign emblazoned with the phrase.
WATCH: One of the Tenors changes Canada’s national anthem during baseball game
#BlackLivesMatter: How to talk to your kids about racism
READ MORE: Who is ‘lone wolf’ Remigio Pereira who changed ‘O Canada’ lyrics to add ‘All Lives Matter’?
“All Lives Matter” began surfacing more than two years ago as a hashtag response to “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) movement in the United States, with users of the counter-slogan arguing that it isn’t just black lives that matter — all human life must be protected.
WATCH: Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder discusses #Anthemgate controversy
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani became the latest high-profile personality to wade into the debate earlier this week, telling Fox News that, “all lives matter: White lives, black lives, all lives.”
The former politician also called BLM “inherently racist.”
But BLM activists and supporters say Giuliani, Pereira and others are missing the point.
“I take offence to the phrase ‘all lives matter,’” BLM Toronto co-founder Sandy Hudson told Global News on Wednesday, calling the anthem stunt “kind of ludicrous.”
“That response is meant to silence what we’re calling for, it’s meant to de-legitimize us. But if all lives truly mattered, then black lives would matter, too. Of course ‘all lives matter’ is a principle that we should all espouse … but if we see that black people are being killed with impunity by police then you know that in our society, black lives don’t, in fact, matter.”
Over the last several weeks, there has been a fresh explosion of online memes, cartoons, Facebook posts and tweets trying to explain why All Lives Matter is misguided.
One of the most common comparisons being made involves someone crashing a fundraiser for a specific type of cancer or illness, wandering in and starting to shout “all illness is bad!”
The comparison isn’t new. Comedian and actor Arthur Chu was already using it way back in 2014:
Do people who change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter run thru a cancer fundraiser going “THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO”
— Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) November 27, 2014
Cartoonist Kris Straub used this cartoon about a burning house to defend BLM, which quickly went viral:
RT @chainsawsuit: all houses matter: the extended cut https://t.co/phGXZF5KDw pic.twitter长沙桑拿/fTFWiwLhWR
— Kris Straub (@krisstraub) July 7, 2016
And hey, did you know that all plates matter? This video features a group of people discussing the relative importance of their dinner plates after one of them, a black man, fails to get any food at all:
The founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, meanwhile, directly address the meaning of their slogan on their website, explaining that many people simply misinterpret what it means.
READ MORE: A primer on the Black Lives Matter movement
“Contained within the statement is an unspoken but implied ‘too,’ as in ‘black lives matter, too,’ which suggests that the statement is one of inclusion rather than exclusion,” they write.
“None of this is about hatred for white life. It is about acknowledging that the system already treats white lives as if they have more value, as if they are more worthy of protection, safety, education, and a good quality of life than black lives are. This must change.”
Watch below: The Canadian singing group The Tenors caused an uproar ahead of Major League Baseball’s all-star game Tuesday night. One of their members changed some words to O Canada. As Emily Mertz explains, the other members of the group are distancing themselves from the singer’s actions.