Can You Believe Black Lives Matter and Not Support BLM?

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/06/09/can-you-believe-black-lives-matter-and-not-support-blm/

In the clamor that has followed the killing of George Floyd on May 25, there is the insistence that we must all speak out against racism. A Martin Luther King Jr. quote is often mentioned:  “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Along with the reasonable demand to speak up, it seems, is an unreasonable stipulation to follow a specific script, using only approved words. For example, one is not allowed to proclaim the universal truth that all lives matter. That, we are told, only diminishes the call to end racism, watering down the cry that black lives matter. The script is loaded with additional ideology – opining on everything from family make-up to transgenderism – and unjust generalizations of groups, especially police officers. Yet, not following the script may bring charges of racism to your doorstep.

I believe black lives matter. Does that mean I have to support Black Lives Matter?

No.

I believe black lives matter, and that means that every killing of a black life is a tragedy; not just the publicized ones. During the riots/looting that broke out across the country, federal protective service office Dave Patrick Underwood was shot and killed in Oakland, and retired police captain David Dorn was shot dead in St. Louis, while trying to protect a friend’s pawn shop. Both were black. Authorities say they were killed by rioters. Should I ignore their deaths?

No.

I believe black lives matter, including the shameful number of those murdered. In just one day, May 31, in Chicago, there were 18 murders, most of the victims “young, black men, and the suspects are, too,” according to the Chicago Sun Times. Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics from 2016 show that of the 2,870 murdered blacks, 89.5 percent were committed by blacks. Other black lives are ended, which the FBI does not track. What of the millions of unborn African-Americans, their human lives ended by abortion-giant Planned Parenthood, founded by an anti-black racist, Margaret Sanger? Do any these black lives matter less than George Floyd’s?

No.

I believe black lives matter. Whether the killing of George Floyd was due to racism or vile police brutality (the other known complaint against policeman Derek Chauvin was made by a white woman), it does not matter. The injustice has sparked a national conversation, as people of color describe their experiences with racism. Do I need to listen?

Yes.

The best of the countless media stories I’ve devoured these past weeks gave voice to those experiences. Interestingly, The Athletic web site featured an enlightening roundtable discussion with former major league baseball players, all black, recounting their encounters, especially with law enforcement; Torii Hunter having a gun drawn on him in his own home, or Ryan Howard getting pulled over and questioned – with no reason given. Those cases of DWB – driving while black – are far too common and were often repeated in other stories I read, including a series in my newspaper, detailing the effects of racism in the lives of eight families or individuals in Maine. From the University of Notre Dame, I read of the law school’s dean and his family’s horrific story at the hands of violent racists.

These stories, most of them obviously rooted in racism, must be heard. Conversations must continue.

Black lives matter, indeed. But don’t ask me to buy into Black Lives Matter, an organization that goes beyond battling racism to espousing various ideologies, including a call to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” I’ve written about this unfortunate thinking before, and was first alerted to BLM by a critical essay written by Ronald C. Warren, an African-American.

You will find several African-Americans less than enamored with BLM, including Ryan Bomberger, author of the book Not Equal: Civil Rights Gone Wrong. He wrote an essay titled “Top 10 Reasons I Won’t Support the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.”

There are countless other black voices that, because they are conservative, are often not heard in the mainstream. Claston Bernard, an Olympian decathlete and immigrant from Jamaica, authored a book called Outcast:  No Room At The Table For Conservative Blacks In Black America. He recently wrote:

“How does the black skin of children born free today make them susceptible to 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow? Please explain why should I cultivate victimization of distrust [in] young children’s minds for being born black? Why not teach them to beware of evil, that prefers no color?”

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley writes:

“Telling people what you think they want to hear can be easier than telling the truth, but you also risk insulting them. And blaming bad outcomes among blacks on the malevolence of others is not only wrong but insulting to Americans of every race … Racism has probably never been less significant in America, and blacks have never had more opportunities to seize.”

When Brown University, like every college, issued a statement denouncing the George Floyd killing, it continued on about the “deep-rooted histories of oppression, as well as prejudice, outright bigotry, and hate.” Brown economics professor Glenn Loury, who is black, wrote a letter mocking Brown’s leadership:

“They write sentences such as this:  ‘We have been here before, and in fact have never left.’ Really? This is nothing but propaganda. Is it supposed to be self-evident that every death of an “unarmed black man” at the hands of a white person tells the same story? … Is it obvious that “hate”—as opposed to incompetence, or fear, or cruelty, or poor training, or lack of accountability, or a brutal police culture, or panic, or malfeasance — is what we observed in Minneapolis? We are called upon to ‘effect change.’ Change from what to what, exactly? Evidently, we’re now all charged to promote the policy agenda of the ‘progressive’ wing of American politics … I must object. This is no reasoned ethical reflection. Rather, it is indoctrination, virtue-signaling, and the transparent currying of favor with our charges.”

Obviously, there are many voices and stories to listen to, ideas to consider; self-reflection a must. Can it be done reasonably, by free thinkers, without following a script that threatens labels of racism for anyone not marching in step?

Black lives matter. But it is also correct to say all lives matter. From the oft-quoted Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.:  “God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men, and brown men, and yellow men. God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race.”

Genesis 1:27 speaks of every male and female created “in the image of God.” My Catechism teaches that all human dignity is rooted in this tenet. Every human life – black or white, abled or handicapped, from unborn to elderly – has dignity, and any action denying that dignity is evil. I don’t believe that can be argued.

Truth matters.

 

Kevin Thomas is a writer and teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.

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