Today, Ben & Jerry’s published a surprisingly frank open letter expressing the popular ice cream company’s wholehearted support for the Black Lives Matter movement and explaining why claiming that “all lives matter” in response to BLM helps perpetuate systemic racism.
“There is good news: the first step in overcoming systemic racism and injustice is to simply understand and admit that there is a problem,” the letter explains. “It’s trying to understand the perspective of others whose experiences are different from our own. To not just listen, but to truly understand those whose struggle for justice is real, and not yet complete.”
The letter goes onto lay out the realities of what it means when people use the phrase in response to incidents involving black people being killed by police officers. Black Lives Matter is not a condemnation of police forces, but rather a critique of the systems in place that have led to the many instances of officers using unnecessary force against black people. The letter also acknowledges that fact that, when officers are involved in the killings of black people, the criminal justice system frequently falls short of thoroughly investigating the events in a transparent way.
“We believe it is due to the systemic racism built into the fabric of our institutions at every level, disadvantaging and discriminating against people of color in ways that go beyond individual intent to discriminate,” Ben & Jerry’s continued. “For this reason, we are not pointing fingers at individuals; we are instead urging us to come together to better our society and institutions so that we may finally fulfill the founding promise of this country: to be a country with dignity and justice for all.”
Read the full letter here.