The BLM movement could not be more wrong

Its key claims don’t stand up to scrutiny and its proposals would be a disaster for black and white people alike.

William Clouston

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Topics Politics UK USA

One of the most dispiriting aspects of recent events has been the uncritical acceptance by large sections of society, government and our institutions of the political programme of the Black Lives Matter movement. A wave of emotion has washed over our culture which seems to have robbed people of sound judgement. BLM’s objectives stand out as nonsensical even at a cursory glance.

BLM is primarily a radical movement which, contrary to its name, is disingenuous about black lives. Its fundamental aim is not protecting black lives, but revolution. UK BLM campaigners fail the sincerity test in preferring to topple statues of 17th-century Bristolian slavers over highlighting the fact that real human beings are sold in Libyan slave markets today. As Dr Tony Sewell has noted, BLM as a political project is more interested in fostering white guilt than improving the welfare of black people.

In the United States, BLM’s deafening silence on the 18 murders which occurred over a single weekend in Chicago amid the riots tells a similar story. All black lives are, evidently, not on a par.

Further, BLM’s central claim of a race-based disparity in police homicide in the US is not based in fact. While certain aspects of US policing and crime policy are certainly worthy of reform, it is simply not true that black people are at greater risk of being killed by the US police than whites. A post-Ferguson study by Harvard economists found ‘no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account’. And while it is true that black citizens as a group in the US are certainly disproportionate victims of violence in total, they are emphatically not the greatest victims of interracial violence.

It is doubtful that many British BLM protesters know about this data. In fact, it is likely that the evidence is of little importance to them. A slick slogan and a compelling call to action trump careful analysis. Behind the slogan, however, BLM’s organisers have snuck in a radical set of proposals which include dismantling capitalism and ‘patriarchy’ and defunding the police. BLM also advocates disrupting ‘the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure’.

BLM is cynically sneaking in a revolutionary programme off the back of the George Floyd tragedy. And this is a programme that if implemented would be to the detriment of black people. Defunding or disbanding the police is in the interest of criminals and those who can afford private security, but it is certainly not in the interest of poor black neighbourhoods. And it is hard to think of a more destructive policy that is harmful to any race than destroying the family structure, which is the most successful route we know of to provide people with stability and purpose in their lives.

The notion of ‘white privilege’ pushed by BLM is, in itself, flatly racist. It crudely claims a vast group of people has a collective privilege, irrespective of the innocence or guilt of individuals within that group. Hyper-racialisation of this kind should find no support from those of us who advocate centre-left economic policies – it weakens our sense of togetherness, and it also undermines a real analysis of the causes of inequality.

I recently spoke to some members of our party, the SDP, about the concept of ‘white privilege’. Among our many working-class members, I heard terrible stories of ancestors who died of pneumonia and TB, people losing fingers in industrial accidents, grandfathers who died coughing up coal dust, and families of six living in two-room Tyneside flats. These stories don’t fit into BLM’s crude racial narrative because our society is far more complex than these ideologues would want to describe it as. This racialisation of politics and its assertions of ‘white privilege’ only serves to erode the historic and current struggles of Britain’s working class.

The conditions of peaceful coexistence between different groups are not to be found by constant measurement against social-justice metrics. No one should deny the reality of racism, but it would be false to imply the situation is worsening or, as the Bishop of Dover recently suggested, that we are experiencing a ‘racism pandemic’. The reality is much more positive. The British Social Attitudes survey shows a consistent decline in racist attitudes on key questions across decades. Introducing an adversarial, US-style racialisation of politics can only serve to reverse this tremendous progress.

Inviting us to view everything through the prism of race invites all sorts of racisms to spring up. This is ultimately harmful to society. When BLM supporters talk about a ‘resurgence of the far right’ they are, in part, talking about a reaction against their own racial politics.

There is the tragedy. And to resist it, we need to consistently call out the vapidity of this programme.

William Clouston is leader of the Social Democratic Party.

Picture by: Getty.

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Comments

Kurt Hughes

9th July 2020 at 4:12 am

As a spokesman for a family who has been in America for 400 years, and a British descendant, I am appalled by the BLM. My ancestors came to the US as indentured servants and have survived all this time by their wits and hard work with never a slave. Suddenly, I am made to feel that I owe the descendants of the 350K slaves who came over here a reparation and to say I’m sorry? I don’t think so!!!!!!!!! Over a million and a half Irish and English indentured servants came over (read white slaves) and we made our way and are ever so glad to have been able to achieve what we have. Don’t buy into this BLM bullshit because that is what it is. Blacks make up 12% of our population but get 100% of the media. What about the 25% of the American population that is Latino and Asian? How do they feel about this? I would think they feel a little belittled. What made America great was the opportunity to achieve IRREGARDLESS of your race or nationality. That’s all being thrown out with the bathwater as we say here. Education seems to play a part in the participation of this movement by the people of color: those who are educated seem to see it for what it is- a thinly veiled movement to overcome the Republican party and maybe a way to inject Communism and/or Socialism into America. So exactly how many of those fine political establishments have achieved what the U.S.A. has? NONE. Grow a pair and stand up to this nonsense! I am proud of my British heritage and refused to be cowed by the Politically Correct left wing.

Gee Jaybee

29th June 2020 at 3:47 pm

Black Lives Matter is literally an extortion racket run by mobsters.

K Tojo

17th June 2020 at 3:02 pm

In our increasingly feminised culture it is not facts that count (too patriarchal by far). Nope! It is how you feel, or are “made to feel” by events and circumstances, that really matters.

The colonisation of the broadcast media by feminists and their uncritical male supporters has dramatically increased the importance of feelings and emotions in news reports. TV News and current affairs is now persuading us that one of the greatest social evils is to make someone feel bad by harming their self-esteem or making them feel “unsafe”.

This has led, unsurprisingly, to emotion-driven reporting of the BLM protests on TV. No need to subject the claims of the BLM protesters to critical scrutiny. That would be too cold hearted! No, the important thing is to look at how upset they are!

Echo Romulus

17th June 2020 at 2:08 pm

As i have said on another topic.

Aside from being sick to the back teeth of hearing about racism in any of its made up forms, i’m also too sick of hearing the total unfounded nonsense that is pushed by Black Lies Matter. Black lives, quite frankly, don’t matter to black people. The fact that black people kill more black people at a rate that no other ethnicity is able to come close to, is not lost on BLM. They know it is the case, they simply don’t care. Much like a parent who has no problem in disciplining their own child, yet would take umbrage if a stranger was to do it. BLM has no problem when black on black crime occurs but watch them lose their mind if a white person takes the life of a black person. Katie Hopkins, last week tweeted 3 questions to BLM followers. The first and most pertinent was “do black lives matter more when a white person is involved?” She received no answer from any supporter of BLM, because to give a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in either case and the mask slips. She did however get a ton of abuse from Patrick Van Arnolt, a footballer for Crystal Palace. The answer she is looking for is Yes, they do matter more when a white person is involved, because when that rare occurrence of a white person taking the life of a black person happens, it gives the black community, and more importantly BLM, a giant stick to beat white people with. It also gives the guilt ridden whites a never missed opportunity for a dopeamine fix and an unhealthy bout of self flagellation.

Marvin Jones

25th June 2020 at 11:03 am

More proof that this human rights armoury protect BLM, BAMEs, illegal migrants and all law breakers, are stacked so high in their favour, and one doesn’t have to be a slick or clever HR lawyer to exploit this conspired intention to destroy this once great country to the levels of a 3rd world country from ever being held accountable for their blackmail and bullying of the law abiding civilised people. The simplest way to begin to mend this journey to the gates of hell, is, to remove any human rights for any crimes what so ever. Hence trying them on a LEVEL field.

John Smith2

17th June 2020 at 11:19 am

The article states: “UK BLM campaigners fail the sincerity test in preferring to topple statues of 16th-century Bristolian slavers”

Colston did not live in the 16th century! He lived in the 17th and 18th century.

callum watts

17th June 2020 at 10:48 am

The Harvard study you quote is actually more nuanced that you present. It finds that “On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities.”

It explicitly finds a difference in the way police treat racial minorities. You are correct that they find that police shootings don’t seem to be motivated by race. But you might wonder how subjecting a whole population to disproportionate police force on the basis of their skin colour might affect their likelihood of ending up in fatal confrontations with police over a long period of time. My guess is the psychological and economic impact of this must be huge.

“UK BLM campaigners fail the sincerity test in preferring to topple statues of 16th-century Bristolian slavers over highlighting the fact that real human beings are sold in Libyan slave markets today.” What is the point in speculating about protestors feelings/activities on slave markets in Lybia? This is a demonstration about the long term consequences of slavery on racism in Britain. I’m sure many of the people involved are activists on global issues on other days.

John Thomas

23rd June 2020 at 4:02 am

Is the Policing of Blacks disproportionate?
If more Blacks commit crime in Black districts then the presence of Police is more prevelant.Don’t take my word for it,there are F.B.I stats that show this.

Gareth Edward KING

17th June 2020 at 10:17 am

BLM should field candidates at local elections so that their programme is there for all to see and can be picked apart or supported as appropriate. They won’t do this of course; they don’t believe in the democratic process witness their approbium of mere ‘gammon’ who of course support Brexit. The Labour Party can vacuum up BLM supporters, but we already know the result: most people are not interested in the divisive policies of this ‘umbrella’ group whether in the LP or not. It can’t go on. We’ve had two weekends of rioting protesters in the capital and the second one was the most illustrative: examples of black on white violence.

Andrew Levens

17th June 2020 at 10:17 am

I wonder how many of the BLM protesters marching about the place actually know what the organisation stands for? Or care? If they don’t, why should we care? It’s just a load of disgruntled people who enjoy protesting. In normal times, there are protesters in London on a regular basis, and most of them don’t get into the papers.

Echo Romulus

17th June 2020 at 2:11 pm

They don’t care, I suspect they know they are full of bull. This is nothing more than a naked power grab.

Mark Houghton

17th June 2020 at 9:13 am

Ben Shapiro talked about ‘semantic overload’ in regard to BLM and this is where the danger lies. Most of us would agree that the lives of black people matter just as the lives of non black people also matter. However, I for one would not agree with the organisational aims of the organisation of Black Lives Matter. Journalists are either stupid and conflate the two or they’re absolutely not stupid and are doing it deliberately.

Totally Karen

17th June 2020 at 9:23 am

It’s deliberate. They’re either on board with destroying capitalism and ushering in communism or they think that can be overcome at a later time and are just onboard with BLM(org) for now in order to get rid of Trump/Conservatives.
It’s a dangerous game that though. Sometimes you can’t put it all back in the box.

Constantine Sotiriou

17th June 2020 at 8:45 am

“Destruction of the Western nuclear family” Is just a fancy way of saying “I hate my dad” and isn’t that what all this boils down too.

Ad Dam

17th June 2020 at 3:21 pm

No.

This is the result of decades of feminism, itself a form of Marxism hiding behind women.

Mark Beal

17th June 2020 at 5:46 pm

It’s certainly true that an antipathy to the nuclear family is one of the most basic aspects of Marxism. But it’s appeal to some probably is based on a personal dislike or hatred of their own family.

a watson

17th June 2020 at 7:41 am

We have to laugh at Starmer taking the Knee and Khan on the media telling us how the extreme right caused all the violence.

juliusB

19th June 2020 at 11:23 pm

I can’t laugh at them, I’m horrified because of the implications it has for the future of our society

a watson

21st June 2020 at 9:04 am

Indeed. If you thought Labour under Corbyn was bad consider the shadow cabinet under Starmer. I agree – it’s frightening. How could these people have become MPs?

Sian Muthusamy

17th June 2020 at 5:34 am

Yes, I agree, I have privilege.
I have a ‘Two parent’ privilege.
I have a ‘Finished school’ privilege.
I have a ‘Didn’t get pregnant as a teen’ privilege.
I have a ‘Didn’t do drugs’ privilege.
I have a ‘Didn’t run the streets/join a gang’ privilege.
I have a ‘Got a bog standard job as a school leaver and worked my way up’ privilege.
And none of these privileges have anything to do with the colour of my skin.

George Orwell

17th June 2020 at 10:12 pm

Nicely put.

Vicki McKerrell

17th June 2020 at 2:47 am

The majority of right minded people will of course be sympathetic to the historical injustices perpetrated on black people. But the white privilege narrative that lumps all white people together, is divisive and as this article says, denies the experiences of many white working class people. Who in actual fact share more in common with black people than some of the white people supporting BLM. The focus needs to shift towards the economic structures that cause poverty and disadvantage. With the end of the Cold War, the failures of capitalism have been replaced with identity politics. It doesn’t explain poverty and inequality and is keeping everybody divided and off the main game.

David George

17th June 2020 at 9:34 am

“The focus needs to shift towards the economic structures that cause poverty ”
Has the cause even been properly identified; is it a spiritual or psychological or moral problem that government can never solve, only make worse.
Anyway, whatever, attributing virtue or guilt on the basis of ethnicity, as you say, is a very dangerous road to go down.
“One of the most awful elements, I think, is the idea that individuals should be defined in terms of their group identity at all. This is one of these weird inversions that’s so characteristic of this chaotic state that we’re in.

When people originally started fighting against unfair discrimination… the initial idea was to eliminate the proclivity for people to be categorized according to their group identity, because that was interfering with everyone’s ability to view them as competent individuals. But that got flipped, probably in the 70s after the Soviet state so self-evidently was revealed as a catastrophe. That got flipped so that the world was turned into one group against another—a power struggle from one group against another. And then the social justice warrior types and the lefties, even the Democratic Party, started categorizing everyone according to their ethnic or sexual or racial identity, and made that the canonical element of their being.

That’s an absolutely terrible thing to do. In the Soviet Union when that happened, they introduced that idea along with the notion of “class guilt.” So, for example, when the Soviets collectivized the farms, they pretty much wiped out or raped and froze to death all of their competent farmers. They called them “kulaks,” and they attributed class guilt to them because they were successful peasants, and they defined their success as oppression and theft. They killed all of them, pretty much—shipped them off to Siberia and froze them to death. And they were the productive agriculturalists in the Soviet Union. And then in the 1930s in the Ukraine, because of that, about 6 million Ukrainians starved to death. The Soviets were big on collective guilt.

And all of these things you hear about now, like “white privilege” for example, are variants of collective guilt. I pick your bloody identity, whatever it happens to be, and then I make you a guilty member of that category, and then you and the rest of the guilty members of that category are judged as a unit. It’s murderous, pushed to its extreme. And we’ve seen that many, many times”.
J B Peterson

Mark Houghton

17th June 2020 at 12:48 pm

““The focus needs to shift towards the economic structures that cause poverty ””

Low IQ causes povery because low IQ leads to poor decisonmaking and the inability to forego instant gratification.

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