Barack Obama has explained the difference between 'Black Lives Matter' and 'all lives matter'

Barack Obama has stepped in with a succinct summation of 'Black Lives Matter' for anyone who objects to the movement.

Speaking at a Marshall Project forum hosted at the White House, the US president said the protest movement had given a cohesive voice to the African-American community's frustration at police brutality.

Many conservatives in the US have taken issue with the premise 'black lives matter', arguing that it prioritises one race over another and suggests that white police officers' lives are not as important as others. They have offered 'all lives matter' as a more appropriate slogan.

President Obama, who has been vocal about criminal justice reform, delivered a powerful explanation at the Thursday event that should (but won't) shut detractors down for good:

[Black Lives Matter] started being lifted up as these folks are opposed to police, and they're opposed to cops, and all lives matter. So the notion was that somehow saying black lives matter was reverse racism or suggesting that other people's lives didn't matter or police officers' lives didn't matter.

I think everybody understands all lives matter... Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that's not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we've got to address.

I forget which French writer said there is a law that was passed that really was equal because both rich and poor were forbidden from stealing loaves of bread and sleeping under the bridge... That's not a good definition of equality.

We as a society — particularly given our history — have to take this seriously... the African-American community is not just making this up. It's not just something being politicised. It's real, and there's a history behind it.

Obama's remarks in full are below:

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