BLACK LIVES MATTER has taken America by storm. Simply put, it is a radical Leftist outfit that seeks to replace capitalism with socialism, abolish the police (and let criminals out of jail), and looks to socialist Venezuela as a model. Historically, BLM’s antecedents reach back to the Black Panthers of the 1960s; in recent years it has drawn inspiration from the radical Occupy Wall Street movement.
The BLM movement was given added impetus by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The Left mobilized upon Brown’s tragic death in 2014, BLM and other radical groups promoting the false narrative of “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”–supposedly the young man’s final words before he was, we were told, brutally gunned down by a racist white cop. Destructive and deadly riots ensued.
Of course, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” was One. Big. Lie. Every black witness who testified before the grand jury stated that Michael Brown had attempted to force his way into the officer’s police cruiser, assaulted the officer, and tried to grab his weapon. Looked at objectively, Mr Brown was a thug who, sadly, paid with his life for the terrible choices he made; even the Obama justice department could not come to a different conclusion.
Yet due to his death at the hands of a white police officer–as well as 2 or 3 similar events in recent years–the monstrous lie took hold that white police officers were engaged in genocide against black men. This dangerous falsehood was assiduously promoted by many in the media and by legions of “progressive” professors on our college campuses, where sadly, the mostly white student bodies lapped up every word; “yes, they thought, America is irredeemably racist, and there is nothing we can do to remove the stain of bigotry from our white skin except bow down before the New Racial Conformity.” So today young whites fall to their knees to repudiate their “white privilege” and beg for forgiveness that will never be forthcoming. And why not? Because, our new racial overlords lecture us, racism is not simply inherent in white America’s shameful past, it still permeates our white skin, and we can do nothing about that; it is who we are. White folks can even debase themselves by washing the feet of black men (as has occurred recently in several separate incidents), yet the original stain of white racism can never be symbolically washed away.
Of course, the protests and riots of the past two weeks were triggered by the tragic death of George Floyd. He certainly did not deserve to die, and those responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. However, it is troubling that this man has been transformed into a tragic hero of the Left–this man with a long “rap” sheet, who once stuck a pistol in the stomach of a pregnant woman during a home invasion robbery.
Yet Floyd’s untimely demise is ruthlessly exploited by BLM as yet another example of the “fact” that black men are being murdered wholesale by racist police officers. Might there be at least a scintilla of truth to that explosive charge? Question: How many unarmed African-Americans were shot and killed by police last year?
If you selected “9” you’d be correct. In other words, in the millions of encounters law enforcement had with African-Americans in 2019, only 9 unarmed blacks were killed; and according to police records, a majority of the fatal encounters were the outcome of fully justified police actions. In the same year, 19 unarmed whites were shot dead by police; yet no one hears or even seems to care about these victims, because they don’t fit the Left’s narrative. (Note: The above data is gleaned from the Washington Post’s data base of fatal police shootings; however, after this tally of 9 unarmed black victims was reported by several news outlets, the Post scrambled to reclassify more than a dozen of its armed victims of police shootings as unarmed in an obvious attempt to plump up the number of black victims; still, even the new figure [if it can be trusted] raised the number of unarmed black victims in 2019 to just 15, which comprise just 0.2 percent of all black homicide victims.)
Annually, some 93% of all black homicide victims are killed by other blacks; in Chicago a few days ago 18 African-Americans were shot and killed on a single day of almost unparalled violence—all by other blacks. Of course the thousands of overwhelmingly male African-Americans killed each year by other African-Americans are also of little concern to the radical Left and their “progressive” media allies, as they work together to whip America into a veritable frenzy of rioting, looting, destruction, even murder.
Where do we go from here? I have no answer to that question, other than to say that all good people who believe in real justice (not the Marxist scam of “social justice”) need to raise up their voices in opposition to the scurrilous lies and uncivilized behavior of groups like BLM. Police are NOT waging war on African-Americans. This is NOT a nation mired in systemic racism. We are a flawed yet decent people, who for decades have struggle successfully to right the wrongs of our past. We need bow down before no one.
Yet time is short. The Left has prepared the cultural battlefield well, and with BLM in the vanguard, they have turned to outright insurrection in an effort to obliterate the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our civilization This is now occuring right before our eyes in Seattle, where BLM, Antifa, and other radical groups have seized control of a large swath of the city; while they beat innocent people and extort money from businesses, the mayor hails them as patriots and orders the president back into his bunker. “Black Lives Matter!” she virtue signals.
So where do things stand at this utterly surreal moment in our nation’s history: After 50+ years of relentless Leftist agitation, America has finally reached an existential tipping point; indeed, should Biden win the presidency in November, his victory will be far from a conventional one; more likely it will signify a final and enduring seizure of power by BLM, Antifa and other Marxist/anarchist forces bent on destroying all decent Americans hold dear.
Craig Luther completed his Ph.D. in Modern European History at UC Santa Barbara. He is a former Fulbright Scholar, retired U.S. Air Force historian, and author of 8 books on the Second World War focusing on German military operations on the eastern front. His recent book, First Day on the Eastern Front: Germany Invades the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941, was selected by the WW2 book aggregator site Stone & Stone WW2 Books as one of the six best books on WW2 published in 2018.
* * *