A third party vendor is selling the products on Walmart after the company announced its support for Black Lives Matter
Walmart and Walmart Canada have come under criticism for carrying products that say “All Lives Matter” and “Irish Lives Matter," phrases which are seen by some as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The description of the "Irish Lives Matter" products reads: “Irish lives matter, too! Show off your Irish pride with this 100% cotton men's T-shirt, featuring the words, 'Irish Lives Matter' and a shamrock in the background.”
The "Irish Lives Matter" products have come under fire on social media:
Oh.... "Irish Lives Matter" too... 🤦🏻♀️Completed disgusting. https://t.co/0KU0u3BJ9G— ALL Black Lives Matter (@tjzmommy) June 23, 2020
Dear @Walmart @WalmartWorld @WalmartInc @WalmartCanada @WalmartAction remove your “all lives matter”, “blue lives matter”, “Irish lives matter” etc. apparel from your website. This is ignorant and disrespectful. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/UiVhKuNHyK— Andrew Shane (@ashane_b) June 23, 2020
.@WalmartCanada It's disgraceful that you would sell t-shirts saying All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and Irish Lives Matter. Clearly you don't understand the need for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. You should be ashamed.— StopGap Ottawa (@StopgapOttawa) June 25, 2020
On Reddit, user 519Foodie wrote:
“Yea. Irish Canadian here. I know we've got some history of being exploited and marginalized but these shirts are in bad taste.If [Of] course 'All Lives Matter', nobody is arguing they don't. It's just inappropriate to change the discussion away from 'Black Lives Matter' as it's a legitimate issue to address. This isn't a contest about who's been the most mistreated.”
Reddit user wally_jiyuu wrote:
“I'm Irish. If an Irish Lives Matter t-shirt came out after the British army murdered 14 men and boys at a civil rights march, I'd be happy about it. But to make one to distract from American police doing the same shit to black people is f------ disgusting.”
On June 23, Walmart Canada replied to a complaint about the “All Lives Matter” product on Twitter:
Hello Kate. This item is sold and shipped by a third party seller. We've forwarded your comments to the appropriate department to look into further. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.— Walmart Canada (@WalmartCanada) June 23, 2020
While the "All Lives Matter" shirt referenced in the above tweet appears to have been removed from Walmart Canada's website, there are still versions of it available on the US Walmart website as of Wednesday night:
The "Irish Lives Matter" shirts are still available for purchase on both Walmart and Walmart Canada's websites as of Wednesday night.
The "All Lives Matter" and “Irish Lives Matter” products are being sold online at Walmart and Walmart Canada through the third-party vendor Old Glory, who describes themselves as “a maker of high-quality, unique designs. T-Shirts, Hoodies, Caps, Beanies, Mugs, and more! Choose from hundreds of our own designs. All items are printed in the USA.”
The vendor sells an array of clothing products on Walmart, some of which read “Black Lives Matter,” “Trump 2020,” “Bernie 2020,” “Joe Biden 2020,” “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” “We Can’t Breathe,” “No Justice No Peace,” “Fight Me I’m Irish,” and more.
The complaints about the “All Lives Matter” and "Irish Lives Matter" products come just after Walmart and Walmart Canada issued statements saying that the Walmart Foundation was committing $100 million "to address racism head-on and accelerate change."
On June 5, both Walmart and Walmart Canada tweeted:
We know it takes more than talk. It takes action. We are taking steps to address racism head-on and accelerate change, including Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committing $100 million over five years so we can move forward, together. pic.twitter.com/PKrPvkwnWP— Walmart (@Walmart) June 5, 2020
Later, on June 12, Walmart's CEO and President Doug McMillon issued a statement in support of Black Lives Matter:
We’re listening. We’re learning. We’re taking action. Last week, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $100 million over five years to address racism head-on and accelerate meaningful change in communities across the country. Learn more here: https://t.co/BcyLNm6kY5 pic.twitter.com/Wmk3716IrP— Walmart (@Walmart) June 12, 2020
Black Lives Matter does not mean other lives are not important
Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc, which was founded in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Black teen Trayvon Martin, is “a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.”
The Black Lives Matter movement has again come to the forefront following the death of Black man George Floyd after Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him in Minneapolis on May 25.
In 2014, Alicia Garza, who co-founded #BlackLivesMatter alongside Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, explained: “#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important–it means that Black lives, which are seen as without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation. Given the disproportionate impact state violence has on Black lives, we understand that when Black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide reaching and transformative for society as a whole.”