BLM: rebels without a cause

BLM activists claim they are fighting America's systemic racism. It's just a shame it doesn't exist.

Xin Du

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Topics Politics USA

Around the world, people understandably reacted in anger and disgust at the killing of George Floyd. But if the subsequent protests, which descended, at points, into riots, lootings and indiscriminate iconoclasm, are meant to increase racial harmony and deter police brutality, then they’ve failed spectacularly.

In a few short weeks, more black people have died from the chaotic and indiscriminate violence, excused by leftist media and politicians, than unarmed black people at the hands of the supposedly racist police in the whole of 2019.

But were the protests at least built on a solid foundation? Is there rampant racism in the police force, and systemic racism in the US as a whole? In short, no.

Are police killing black people more than whites?

Derek Chauvin, who killed Floyd, is now under arrest and awaiting trial. He is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail. In this instance the legal system is clearly not racist. Moreover, Minneapolis chief of police, Medaria Arradondo, is black – a fact that undercuts the charge that the Minneapolis police department is systemically racist.

Racists do exist, of course. And there will be racists in the 800,000-strong US police force. But to say that the US is systemically racist is a different claim. And too many people are unable to make this distinction, or worse, propagate a narrative that deliberately blurs it.

In an essay on the Black Lives Matter protests and riots of the mid-2010s, I referred to studies from Harvard, Washington State University and the City University of New York, which all suggested that police in the US do not shoot blacks more than whites. In fact, the evidence suggested they are less likely to shoot black suspects.

More recent research bears out these findings. A 2019 study by researchers from Michigan State University, drawing on data compiled by the Washington Post and the Guardian, also found no evidence of anti-black tendencies in fatal police shootings.

It is often noted that there are higher rates of blacks being shot by police when blacks are considered as a proportion of the US population. And this is true. As I noted in 2016, while the US police killed twice as many whites as blacks, ‘blacks make up only 13 per cent of the population’, whereas whites make up 62 per cent.

Nevertheless, as the Washington Post has shown, while more blacks than whites are shot by police, when considered as a proportion of the US population, ‘the number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015’. Indeed, the number of blacks killed by police has fallen by 5.9 per cent since then, compared to just 0.3 per cent for whites, who still make up nearly half of all those killed by police.

The statistics certainly cast a considerable amount of doubt on the now mainstream media narrative of systemic police racism.

Black lives that don’t seem to matter to BLM

Chicago has been at the centre of recent BLM protests, so it’s worth looking at it in some detail. In 2019, there were around 500 homicides in Chicago. As of mid-June this year, there have been over 250 homicides. They have consisted mainly of young black men, killed by other young black men. Amazingly, Chicago police solve under 30 per cent of these murders.

Is Chicago systemically racist? Hardly. It is one of the largest cities in the US. It is almost exactly a third black, a third white and a third Hispanic. It has been governed exclusively by Democrats since before the Second World War, and now has a black female city mayor in Lori Lightfoot, a black female district attorney in Kim Foxx, and a black superintendent of police in David Brown.

It seems odd for BLM to be protesting in Chicago, of all places, about systemic racism. The facts suggest that if saving black lives is your chief priority, you ought to be demanding more policing and better leadership, rather than less policing and more leaders who happen to be black, as BLM does.

Moreover, why does BLM never protest about the thousands of black people murdered each year? Why does it only protest when white police officers are involved? And why is it that many refuse to acknowledge the fact that crime is a problem overrepresented in the black community?

The answer seems to be that for the likes of BLM, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, the chief concern is not black lives. Rather, it is to instil the narrative that the US is racist.

As Booker T Washington noted over a hundred years ago, ‘there is a certain class of race problem-solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out, they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public’. Unfortunately, there is a lack of will in either the media or politics to challenge this dishonest narrative about the extent of racism in America.

Instead, many black commentators, scholars, politicians and celebrities like Thomas Sowell, Walter E Williams, Larry Elder, Ben Carson, Brandon Tatum, Candace Owens, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman, who advocate proven remedies such as personal responsibility, reducing single-parent family rates and the introduction of school vouchers, are called Uncle Toms, sell-outs and worse.

The Democrats have behaved particularly badly. Having sown the seeds of racial resentment in recent years, they are now reaping the harvest. Democrat-run cities, which account for 19 of the top 20 most violent cities in the US, are precisely the places where defunding the police is being floated as the ‘solution’.

But it is not only the claim that American policing is systemically racist that should be challenged. The idea that racism is the foundational creed of the US should also be challenged.

It is 155 years since the formal end of slavery in America. It took a war, in which more than 600,000 mostly white people died, to end a disgusting but unfortunately then common practice that still persists elsewhere today. It is estimated that there are 40million people around the world today living in slavery. America is one of the places with the fewest enslaved people.

So why do these protesters deface even statues of Jefferson, Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant? These are the people who brought about the end of slavery in the US.

The protesters’ refusal to think rationally or countenance facts is staggering. The US has had a black president for two terms, 15 African-American cabinet secretaries, and a half-Native American vice president in Charles Curtis way back in 1929. Moreover, 40 African-American candidates have run for the presidency as their party’s nominee since 1904. Frederick Douglass ran as early as 1848 as a candidate for the Liberty Party, and four African-Americans ran in the Democratic primaries for the 2020 election, in addition to Tulsi Gabbard, an American Samoan, and Andrew Yang, who has Chinese heritage.

There are currently 36 black mayors of cities with over 40,000 residents in the US, and 16 of these are in cities where blacks are a minority, including Chicago, Dallas and the capital Washington, DC.

Of today’s nine Supreme Court Justices, Clarence Thomas is black, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Jewish, Samuel Alito is a second-generation Italian, and Sonia Sotomayor is Hispanic American. And black people dominate the lucrative sports, music and entertainment industries.

Off the top of my head, I would put in any list of great Americans Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, Booker T Washington, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Jessie Owen and Dave Chappelle. And two of the most venerated books of American literature are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, both of which possess overt anti-racism messages.

And this is a country that is supposedly racist in 2020.

Conclusion

In a debate on reparations, the late, great Christopher Hitchens defined racists not as those who discriminate, but precisely those who are unable to discriminate between individuals. Instead, the racist prefers to see individuals as groups, based on arbitrary markers like skin pigmentation.

This is exactly what the so-called anti-racists are doing. They clump together all black people, and all white people. They then paint all black people as mendicant, and unable to forge their own way without the white people getting out of the way. Theirs is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

The latest anti-racist lynching of America shows how much damage can be done by well-meaning people who follow narratives rather than facts, and who treasure feelings over truths. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

Xin Du is a writer based in Australia.

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Comments

Michael Harrington

14th July 2020 at 5:00 am

Well done.

Ed Giambalvo

14th July 2020 at 12:14 am

As Coleman Hughes notes, West Indian blacks live side-by-side with American born blacks in many American cities. They look the same. They walk the same streets. They attend the same schools. They are policed by the same police. And they out perform American born blacks by a wide margin in every category, starting with education. The same can be said of sub-Saharan blacks, 2 million of whom have immigrated to our supposedly racist nation.
There is little to no systematic racism to be found – again, Coleman Hughes’s conclusion, as well as mine.

Michael X

14th July 2020 at 12:03 am

What is the definition of systemic racism? As used today, the definition is a racially disparate outcome unfavorable to blacks with no person or entity engaging in discriminatory behavior or intent. Examples: Credit scores, income, home ownership rates, and wealth. A credit score is based on credit behavior. It does not incorporate race, income, wealth, marital status, or location. It is purely behavioral. The median credit score of the US black population is roughly 100 points lower than the US white population. This is a racially disparate outcome with no discrimination. As long as such large population differences exist, we will have racially disparate outcomes for loan origination and home ownership. This would be regarded by many as “systemic racism”, though similarly many would say that it is not racism. Rather, it is a racially disparate outcome cause by different population behaviors.

JOEL FRIEDLAND

13th July 2020 at 11:14 pm

Asserting that systemic racism does not exist because police kill more White people than Black people does not prove anything. There are 8 times as many Whites than Blacks, so if police treated Blacks and Whites the same, 8 times as many Whites would be killed by Police than Blacks, but that ratio is only about 2.5 — proving that systematic racism does exist.

Arguing that Blacks protesting against systematic racism and police brutality are mistaken because Black on Black crime is a greater problem is NONSENSE. A cop who kills a Black person is a government official, most Blacks who kill are not sanctioned for their crimes, unlike police who kill.

Arguing that the “talented tenth” have obtained high position and great success in the USA proves that systemic racism exists. When the 90% who are NOT in the talented tenth readily obtain work and credit and housing then systemic racism will be gone. It’s not.

My personal experience when I was a broker was that a White, unemployed, 30 year old single man buying a condo in Howard Beach near his parents house was offered a mortgage 300 basis points less than a dual career Black civil service couple — a cop and a teacher — refinancing their house in Hollis. That’s systemic racism.

My personal experience as a White tour guide in Times Square waiting to be assigned a bus together with Black tour guides where more than 100 people a minute walked by, every minute of the day, is that White people NEVER stopped giving social slights towards my Black co workers. Every minute of the day, ten or 20 Whites walking by Blacks would touch their wallets or purses, grimace, or look away when seeing a Black person. That’s systemic racism.

M Jones

14th July 2020 at 2:36 am

Friedland: There are 8 times as many Whites than Blacks, so if police treated Blacks and Whites the same, 8 times as many Whites would be killed by Police than Blacks, but that ratio is only about 2.5 — proving that systematic racism does exist.
Just because you state you’ve proved something doesn’t mean you have. Once you step outside of Leftist groupthink you actually have to formulate a rational argument to “prove” your point.
First, your statement about the ratio of blacks to whites, if you are referring to the US, is flat out wrong. There are roughly 5.6 whites to every black in America, not 8 to 1.
Second, your argument about black/white police event ratios also holds no water. In the US, Blacks commit exponentially more felonious street crime than whites. Not my opinion. FBI and local police stats document this. Blacks, per capita, murder at roughly 6 times the rate of whites. As a result, they have many more interactions with police before, during, and after crimes are committed. This fact in itself doesn’t prove or disprove the existence of “systemic” racism. It does prove that Black Americans are much more violent than White Americans and there are countless murdered black victims that prove this, several in just the past 2 weeks.
As for evidence of systemic racism in America, during the Jim Crow era, there clearly was. MLK and many civil rights advocates lost their lives fighting against it. Comparing that awful period in history to today is an insult to the people who put their lives on the line to change things for the better.
With that said, does racism exist today? Of course it does, and so does chronic antisemitism (much of it coming from the black community), and discrimination against most minorities including Hispanics, Asians, Africans, and Muslims.
What separates those groups from the Black experience is how they overcame and even triumphed over it. Jews historically dealt with discrimination (over 2000 years!!) by focusing on family, faith, education and creating their own businesses (entrepreneurship) and institutions (schools, hospitals, social welfare organizations, camps) The latter is a measure of generosity. It’s how the most fortunate give back.
This response to “systemic” antisemitism enabled the community to develop autonomy and self-reliance. It acted as armor against discrimination and enabled the community to look outward and towards the future. The lesson of Jewish survival, in the face of gross discrimination, has been successfully emulated by many groups in America including the Irish, the Chinese, the Koreans. Too many to mention here.
The sad story of Black America post-Jim Crow has been the failure to focus on the same things that make those other groups successful: family, faith, education and creating their own businesses and institutions.
Renaming sports teams, redesigning flags, removing statue, rioting, looting, and painting propaganda slogans on the street won’t improve the life of one black child. Only behavior modification in the black community and reducing its dependence on govt will accomplish that.
My advice to you is less Leftist Kool-aid, more healthy cynicism and an open mind.

D Robinson

13th July 2020 at 8:37 pm

Wow! What an article! “The soft bigotry of low expectations” what a deep conclusion

JK Grooms

13th July 2020 at 8:06 pm

Very well written Mr. Du. I am an independent and most recently casted my vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. But, the establishment Democratic Party is a party of inherent dishonesty. In addition, the liberal media is complicit in this dishonesty by launching baseless narratives with the intent of portraying Donald Trump in a negative light so he ends as a 1-term president. The point is both are blatantly dishonest. With regard to African Americans living in the USA, there certainly has been some tough times for them throughout American history with regard to racism. However, since the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960’s, opportunities for African Americans have greatly increased. For instance, with mediocre grades and average entrance test scores, a black candidate for law, medicine, or business schools – stands a very good chance of acceptance to our most prestigious universities. Likewise, a black entrepreneur stands a much better chance at securing a SBA small business loan than other non-black applicants. Yet, most African American families are made up of a single mom and her children. The fathers are absent. Some of these fatherless children grow up to choose a life of crime. This partially explains why most murders of African Americans are ‘black on black’; and why 53% of the violent felonies committed each year in the USA are committed by African Americans – even though they only make up 13% of the population. All this is ignored by the dishonest Democratic Party and Liberal Media. At some point, we ALL have to assume responsibility for our actions. Otherwise, all these marches and protests mean nothing!

Ruairi Flower

11th July 2020 at 3:34 pm

There are many commenters on the black lives matter movement such as CNN journalist Don Lemon and other supporters, many of which are white upper middle class elites that live in safe suburbs or gentrified areas of major metropolitan cities in America that have actually pushed many members of the black community out, especially in New York City, who only care about black lives if a cop kills a black individual. They don’t Care about the black kids who are killed by gun violence in the inner cities of Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, St Louis, Memphis, Detroit, Oakland, Milwaukee and many others that have horrific levels of gun violence that thankfully we don’t have in the UK by and large. Often innocent black children are caught in the crossfire, where is the outrage for them? We need to call the movement ‘all black lives matter’, and actually start putting resources into these deprived areas that desperately need them as an alternative to selling drugs and living life ‘on the roads’ as we call it in the UK. Black neighbourhoods were damaged during the Jim Crow era where black families were not given bank loans for mortgages due to their skin colour and therefore couldn’t build up any equity or generational wealth which is why you see so much poverty in America’s inner cities today. That’s real racism folks, and I feel sorry for people growing up in those areas that want nothing to do with gangs and the violence that comes with it. I am from the UK it have family on the east coast in Philadelphia and Boston; and they tell me how bad the gun crime is over there. These liberal democratic elites don’t do anything for the black community, they virtue signal but never actually put any resources in to these areas. Rahm Emmanuel, the democratic governor of Chicago has seen violence explode since he came into office. Even New York City has seen a big increase in crime since de blasio came into office. Defund the police! Give me a break, if we do that more black kids living in the inner cities will die as a result of gun violence! But the virtue signaling upper middle class ‘liberals’ Living in the suburbs couldn’t really give a damn anyway. It is more about winning political points and playing identity politics than actually saving lives. I am on the left of the political spectrum but can’t stand the regressiveness of some people on the radical left.

Tom Harding

9th July 2020 at 5:33 pm

All this puts me in mind of J B Priestley’s “The Image Men” and how easy it is for Flim Flam Men to gain support and influence from the woke and gullible. Woke did not exist back when he wrote the books, but I suspect Priestley anticipated them. He made the Flim Flammers univerity professors/doctors Saldana and Tuby. How ironic since a heck of a lot of this rubbish is coming from universities, both students and their Flim Flammers, showing how gullible students would become. But then when you have 50% of school leavers going to our current “universities”, what can you expect? Thankfully Blair’s 50% target is now being quietly dropped.

Jim Lawrie

9th July 2020 at 4:32 pm

“Derek Chauvin, who killed Floyd, is now under arrest and awaiting trial. He is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail.” I can only assume that this is what you want to happen to him having prejudged the trial.
You will be disappointed to learn that the recommended sentence for the charge against him is 12 years. Unless he is found guilty of second-degree murder, for which the State must prove, that he caused the death, with intent to effect the death, of that person, but without premeditation.
Murder requires intent. There have been cases where this was clearly not present but the prosecution have tried to browbeat The Jury into that verdict, only for them respond by opting for a guilty verdict on the lesser charge, or not guilty verdict on all charges.
Prison and jail in The USA are different things.

Adler Pfingsten

13th July 2020 at 8:49 pm

The death of George Floyd constitutes a profile in cowardice Americans will have to overcome.

I am reminded of the scene from the movie “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson as Marine Corps Col. Jessep raises his voice in indignation saying “You can’t handle the truth!” then makes it clear the unintentional ‘Code Red’ death of undisciplined marine William Santiago was nothing less than an attempt to save the lives of marines if ever they went into combat.

The death of George Floyd, while difficult to watch, was not murder but rather the truth people can’t handle as it concerns the difficulty of policing the dysfunction and extremely dangerous black subculture. Floyd’s death, however, was a perfect metaphor for the neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter i.e. oppressive institutional racism with the knee of the white man on the neck of blacks…and the Marxian media chimed in providing false equivalences e.g. death for passing a counterfeit bill and in the case of Rayshard Brooks death for sleeping in a car. Both were lies in that in both cases the primary concern of those who called 911 was that Floyd and Brooks appeared too intoxicated to drive, which they were, and then both resisted arrest that ultimately resulted in death.

The problem the politically motivated prosecutors will have in securing an equally politically motivated conviction against the officers charged with murder goes to procedure; both officers acted according to procedure…even the knee on the neck of George Floyd; intoxicated with a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl and amphetamine. Concede the truth of David Gavrilo’s article ‘Why Derek Chauvin may get off his murder charge’ in that overcharging the officers and acquittal equates to an excuse to riot.

Robert Sime

9th July 2020 at 4:29 pm

Spam spam spam spam – lovely spam!

Jonathan Marshall

9th July 2020 at 4:17 pm

Hear, hear!

Jolly Roger

9th July 2020 at 4:06 pm

Just one look at that stupid looking young woman narcisist, hanging out of a car with her BLM banner, tells you all you really need to know.

etidretni noinipo

9th July 2020 at 1:50 pm

Excellent piece. And fascinating to learn that Booker T Washington felt moved to comment on what might be termed “professional racism seekers” way back then. Some things obviously never change.

James Knight

9th July 2020 at 1:08 pm

Speaking of “iconoclasm” it is curious to see the BLM banner painted on the street was painted over and the accused are now being charged with a “hate crime”.

It seems some icons need special protection after all. As Frankie Howard would say, they don’t like it up’em, do they?

Richard GIBBONS

9th July 2020 at 3:46 pm

It was Corporal Jones in Dads’ Army.

steve moxon

9th July 2020 at 12:10 pm

The key stat, not mentioned in the article, is the much higher incidence and prevalence of serious crime perpetrated by US ‘blacks’ than by ‘whites’, which is bound to produce far greater numbers of blacks’ apprehended (and attempts by police to apprehend) than ‘whites’, and, given much stronger criminal proclivity, also more attempts to resist arrest by ‘blacks’. This inevitably means a much greater proportion of ‘blacks’ being shot by police, resulting in the total numbers being not far short of the totals for ‘whites despite ‘blacks’ making up a much smaller proportion o the US population.
The rhotoric invoked by those trying to manufacture fault by police is that of nil racial difference, but of course there are significant evolved attitudinal differences between the major racial groups, resulting likely from very different adaptation required to cold climes as opposed to Africa, and/or the very different periods of time of having to be engaged in agriculture and the very different mindset required compared to pre-agricutural life.
Of course, this is another whole area of discussion, not least the science pertaining, that the Left vigorously shuts down.

Mark Houghton

9th July 2020 at 8:26 am

BLM, like feminists and all the other lunatics have a cult-like devotion to their cause and evidence, logic and reason will make not one iota of difference to them. So articles like this are pointless. I’d rather see an article explaining how we can defeat these lunatics because make no mistake, they have declared war only we’re all busy pretending that they haven’t.

Jerry Owen

9th July 2020 at 8:02 am

Good article, poor title. The BLM does have a cause as in fact your article admits.
Your stats were impressive, and less than thirty percent of homicides being solved in Chicago is one of the most astonishing stats I have heard in a long time.
BLM is turning back race relations back fifty years in this country. BLM as a cause is very successful.

Dominic Straiton

9th July 2020 at 7:44 am

I watch their chief “white supremacist” and hate figure Gavin McGinnis on his platform he had to create because he is banned everywhere. All their views on him are wrong. His “Proud boys “are not racist. One of them, in prison, for defending himself from antifa has a black wife and kids. Its all bullshit and lies concocted on the msm and twatter. It would be funny if it was’nt so serious. The left needs Nazis. News flash. They were utterly defeated in 1945 and are not coming back. Ever. The men of the west that fought and died for our freedom, fighting an actual mechanised army of real nazis, would today be seen as nazis by these morons. They invent nazis around every corner, under every bed. They are insane.They cannot be reasoned with because they are in exactly the same, demented ,religious, fevered, mindset as ISIS.

mister wallace

9th July 2020 at 5:54 am

I would be careful Xin Du. If you are based in Australia you could be sued using statements such as this: “Derek Chauvin, who killed Floyd,…” has he been tried and any charges proven in court and found guilty? Let’s ensure there is a no fair defence trial but be warned, Australian law is different from US law and if you are in Australia you could still be liable.

James Conner

9th July 2020 at 4:42 am

I saw the heading and was immediately reminded of Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild ONE’.

“Hey Johnny what are you rebelling against?”
“What have ya got?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4NkkAQllfo

L Strange

9th July 2020 at 1:16 am

Good article but I’m afraid you’re calling into the wind. The supposed anti-racism movement is just the current means chosen for attempting to bring about the Cultural Revolution 2.0. BLM’s own materials state this clearly – they aim to pull apart the nuclear family, overthrow capitalism and pull down western civilisation/societies. Facts are therefore of no importance to these people, only the narrative that gives them sway.

John B Dublin

9th July 2020 at 9:03 am

Absolutely right. This is the core of the movement. The system that created and supports these protesters is to be found in MSM and higher-ed, civil service and the police.

I often think of the scenes of jubilation and joy when abortion was made legal in Ireland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWlN0gClAZg) .

I think the crowd was cheering at another incremental step towards the destruction of our Christian heritage. The destruction of the nuclear family is well and truly complete.

Emboldened by their success, the same people are organizing for the destruction of civil society via BLM.

Neil John

9th July 2020 at 11:30 am

This makes interesting reading, especially the biases in who’s now running education in the classrooms, and is likely to be for years to come, after suitable ‘training’ & indoctrination… https://public.tableau.com/profile/david.kernohan#!/vizhome/UCAS20subject/Sheet1

M Jones

14th July 2020 at 3:03 am

Leftist always strive toward the same goal: absolute power and control by the ruling elite.
Towards that end, primacy of the nuclear family must be undermined and replaced with loyalty to the state.
When we witness brainwashed N Koreans crying and declaring their love for the “Dear Leader” its ample evidence that propaganda, unrelenting indoctrination, and fear of punishment for dissent works. Think of Leftists as the world’s largest cult. Like many cults, they undermine family, punish dissent, reward loyalty and ostracize deserters.
For modern Leftists, Communist China is the crowning achievement of their ideology. China’s one-child policy which began in 1980 and ended in 2019 was a good example of the state’s absolute power over individuals and family.
We are inching closer to Communist China in America. Today, with minor exception, our largest cities are governed and controlled by a single party, the Democrat (Socialist Peoples) Party. In many local elections, there is no Republican challenger.
For those foolish enough to believe it can’t happen here, Google: China Cultural Revolution. It already is.

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