The "Black Lives Matter" Slogan Ignores Self-Destructive Behavior by Derryck Green (http://www.nationalcenter.org/) "Black Lives Matter" is a great slogan. As a black man, I agree that black lives matter just as much as the lives of any of our racial counterparts. But chanting, marching and hashtag activism isn't going to work unless we also are willing to see the big-picture problems affecting black America. Here's a hint: making black lives matter has little to do with institutional racism, white privilege and white cops. One website organizing people pushing "black lives matter" calls it "a slogan under which black people can unite to end state sanctioned violence both in Ferguson, but also across the United States of America… to end the insidious and widespread assault on black life." It states "Black people make up a mere 13 percent of the U.S. population [but] make up more than a third of those killed in officer-involved shootings across the country." Perhaps. But the virtuous goal of promoting the perceived value of black lives in the manner now demanded by radical community activists is tragically misguided. Activism advocating that black lives matter could have much more moral authority, and could be taken much more seriously, if it focused on actions devaluing black lives. These have very little to do with white cops and everything to do with self-destructive black behavior. There is a disparity regarding violent death in the black community. We are killing our own at an alarming rate. According to a U.S. Department of Justice analysis, most murders are intraracial and "93 percent of black victims were killed by blacks" between 1980 and 2008. Yet Attorney General Holder, President Obama and Reverend Sharpton haven't wanted a national conversation about this shocking figure. In a black-white comparison, black homicide victimization rates were around six times higher than for whites. Furthermore: •
Blacks were 47.4 percent of all homicide victims and 52.5 percent of offenders.
Blacks accounted for 62.1 percent of all drug-related homicide victims compared to 36.9 percent for whites. Over 65.6 percent — almost two-thirds — of all drugrelated homicide offenders were black as compared to 33.2 percent being white.
Blacks were 44.1 percent of felony murder victims and almost 59.9 percent of the offenders.
It's not like things improved under Obama's leadership. According to FBI statistics for 2012, 2,412 of 2,648 cases of black homicide had a black perpetrator. This, to me, qualifies as an "insidious and widespread assault on black life." Yet those claiming black lives matter fixate on Michael Brown and Eric Garner while virtually ignoring the thousands of black-on-black murder victims who remain largely nameless and faceless except to their loved ones. The internecine war doesn't begin there. It actually begins in the womb. As deadly as black-on-black crime can be, the most dangerous place for a black child is still in the womb. While blacks make up only around 13 percent of the American population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported black abortions accounted for nearly 35.7 percent of all abortions performed in 2010. In Mississippi, blacks accounted for 71.7 percent of all abortions, despite blacks comprising only around 37 percent of the population. Similarly, a report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found more black babies were killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born (24,758) in 2012 — totaling 42.4 percent of all abortions performed there. Black lives matter? Not only is it questionable if black lives really do matter to blacks themselves, but one could also sincerely question if deep self-hate is responsible for motivating blacks to kill themselves off with the recklessness that seems to permeate our actions. Combining the black victims of abortion and black-on-black homicides, we are facing an assault on black lives that has nothing to do with racist, white cops. If we don't take our own lives seriously, why should we expect or demand that anyone else do so? I believe black lives matter. It's more than an Internet hashtag to me. But black lives should matter to black folk at least as much as they matter to others. Black lives have to matter just as much when blacks take them.
Every Time You Say “All Lives Matter” You Are Being an Accidental Racist by Jesse Damiani (The Huffington Post)
I bet I have your attention now. And if you’re pissed, trust me when I say I don’t mean what you think I mean. Let me explain. The basic premise behind “All Lives Matter” = we should not highlight that black lives matter because all lives matter. As it turns out, you’re not wrong: all lives do matter. But the problem with this premise lies in what goes unaddressed in your line of thinking. See, “Black Lives Matter“ is trying to highlight that there is demonstrable evidence that black lives matter less than white lives to the criminal justice system (and the American government as a whole). Trying to communicate this to you is tricky. Because of this very system, you haven’t been exposed to this sociocultural divide. You haven’t had to witness firsthand the different forms it takes. You literally do not see the disparity in how your racial group is treated compared with others. You might not have noticed, for instance, the inherent biases of news media, such as the language used in coverage of different racial groups. You may be saying to yourself, “I don’t agree with the idea that the government treats racial groups differently.” But the thing is, you are absolutely, categorically wrong. Don’t take my word for it, read last year’s National Book Award Winner,Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which might begin to give you a sense of the bigger picture here. If you subscribe to the premise of “All Lives Matter,” it’s likely that you live in a predominantly white area and the majority of your social group is white. Here’s the awesome thing. You can totally stop being an ignorant racist right now. This instant. You don’t even have to lift a finger. All you have to do is learn. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is never a bad thing to learn. I love looking back at all the ways I’ve learned and grown into a better person. It takes courage and humility to acknowledge the ways we’ve been wrong or incorrect, but that’s nothing compared to the feeling of personal growth and betterment you have on the other side. Don’t you think it’s interesting how I can be so sure that it’s only white people saying “All Lives Matter”? How can I make such sweeping generalizations? Basic logic. It’s reasonable to expect that if you’d had to witness the gross injustices committed against those in non-white communities, you would understand why “All Lives Matter” is so harmful. You would understand that it is in fact you who is missing the point.
Before I go any further, please understand: I’m not judging you for where you live or who you socialize with; that’s your choice. Admittedly, I led with a salty title. I’ve been doing that lately because nobody can seem to get through to you. I come from conservative Northeast Florida. Many of the people I see espousing “All Lives Matter” rhetoric are people I know to have good hearts, people who work hard and love their families, people who want to see good triumph in the world. Ultimately I’m trying to appeal to that goodness, in hopes that people like those from suburban Jacksonville can open their hearts beyond fear or pride and think about the bigger forces at play and put that innate desire for goodness to use. I’m also not defending murders of police, like the recent events in Dallas. I am against murder and injustice across the board. Full stop. What I am trying to do is indicate how maybe you haven’t had the best seat in the house for the centuries-long movie called “America’s Treatment of Black People.” In fact, you weren’t even in the theater. Let me put it this way: I don’t watch hockey. So why should anybody listen to my opinion about hockey? I’m allowed to have one, sure, but isn’t, say, Wayne Gretzky’s a lot more valuable? If put in a room with Wayne and yours truly, wouldn’t you think it wise to listen to his ideas over mine? Couldn’t I too learn a lot about hockey by listening to Wayne Gretzky? By that same logic, it stands to reason that White America should be doing extra work to listen and understand. In doing this, it becomes apparent that “Black Lives Matter” is trying to say what you’re saying: that all lives matter equally. You’re just missing the (many) ways in which our country is not standing by this principle. When you say “All Lives Matter,” you’re drawing attention away from a movement that would help push the country toward the version of itself where all lives actually do matter. In other words, when you say “All Lives Matter,” you are perpetuating toxic racism and in fact causing harm. Because when you do, you’re making it harder for the rest of the country to bring about positive change. You’re broadcasting to others that change isn’t necessary when it very much is.
Are Encounters with the Police Really More Dangerous for Black Men? by David French (National Review) One of the difficulties in reacting rationally to the #BlackLivesMatter movement is the fierce conviction borne of personal experience. The Internet is now full of young activists telling their stories of #DrivingWhileBlack — stories that often feature some combination of a belligerent police officer, a defiant citizen, and the deeply held belief that white people like me enjoy a privileged interaction with police, one that insulates us from the consequences of our own mistakes. These personal stories function like a Rorschach test: The way in which they’re received is dictated entirely by each reader’s ideological leanings. Here’s my own story, which I’ve told before. My senior year in college, I took a spring-break road trip from Nashville to the Colorado Rockies with two of my best friends. On the way home, I was driving my 1986 Chevy Nova at 3:00 a.m. in downtown Kansas City when I changed lanes without signaling. Immediately, I saw the blue lights behind me. I looked for a place to pull over, but since I was on a bridge, there was no shoulder. So I exited the interstate and pulled into the parking lot of an abandoned gas station. Astute readers will immediately spot my mistake. And so did the police officer. I rolled down the window to see the cop with his gun out — pointed straight at my head — with his finger on the trigger. He screamed at me to get out of the car with my hands up. I did everything he asked, too dumbfounded to speak. He conducted a quick search of the car (which was jammed with backpacks and camping gear) and found a large knife we’d used on the trail. He threw it on the ground next to the car, then threw me up against his squad car. He frisked me thoroughly (and painfully) and put me in the back of the car, threatening to arrest me for carrying a concealed weapon. The entire time he was yelling at me for almost hitting his car when I changed lanes, for not pulling over correctly, and for leading him into a possible “ambush.” He said he’d been shot at earlier in the week, and he was obviously furious. After several agonizing minutes, featuring calls back to the station and background checks (my record was clean, and the car full of backpacks made it obvious I was telling him the truth about our camping trip), he let me go with a traffic citation, and I breathed an immense sigh of relief. How do we interpret this story? To some #BlackLivesMatter activists, it’s evidence of the white privilege inherent in the system. If I’d been black, I’d have been arrested, beaten to within an inch of my life, or shot dead on the road the instant the cop found my knife. Dissenters would say that cops always react strongly when a citizen introduces an unusual variable into otherwise routine interactions, and they can tell their own stories of fraught encounters with the police. I pulled off the interstate into a dark parking lot. Others run away. Still others refuse to comply with police orders or actively resist. Every unexpected variable increases tension and increases the chance of violent confrontations and sometimes-fatal mistakes. Thus, as persuasive tools, anecdotes are nearly useless. Even when the stories demonstrate that individual police can be rude or even needlessly violent, everyone already understands that police forces aren’t perfect and that corruption or incompetence exists to some degree in every human endeavor.
When do the anecdotes start to turn into meaningful data? The Guardian is trying to answer that question. FBI data on police shootings are notoriously unreliable, so the British newspaper decided to comb through all available records to determine exactly how many people are killed by police each year — sorted by variables including race, gender, age, and whether the deceased were armed or unarmed. The results so far for 2015 show much higher numbers of police killings than previous FBI reports. They also, at first glance, seem to prove the #BlackLivesMatter thesis that police target black men. As of July 27, the Guardian claims, American police have killed 657 people in 2015. The large majority, 492, were armed. Some 316 victims were white, 172 black, and 96 Hispanic. (The rest were of other or unknown ethnicities.) Whites constitute a majority of the population, however, and police kill black Americans at a greater rate than whites — with 4.12 black victims per million versus 1.59 white victims per million. So case closed, right? Not so fast. Comparing police shootings by race with crime statistics by race tells an entirely different story: It may in fact be the case that white Americans are ever-so-slightly more likely than blacks to die in any given encounter with a police officer. After all, blacks commit homicide at eight times the combined white/Hispanic rate, and, despite their constituting roughly 13 percent of the population, represent a majority of homicide and robbery arrests. Indeed, the disproportionate share of arrests exists across all categories of violent crime — at a rate that often exceeds the racial difference in police shootings. Thus, blacks are seriously overrepresented in the most dangerous police encounters of all — encounters with violent suspects. These statistics can’t tell whether any individual cop is corrupt or any individual shooting is lawful — indeed, police officers do sometimes commit murder, and some police departments are better than others. But they certainly undermine the notion that police encounters (especially with violent criminals) are more dangerous for blacks than whites. In fact, the advice on dealing with police that conscientious black parents give their black sons is the same advice that white parents give — be courteous, do what the police officer says, don’t run or do anything unexpected, deal with abusive actions later rather than trying to seek justice on the scene. It’s just sheer fiction that white men enjoy some sort of shield of immunity, engaging in disrespect and defiance at will. After all, police kill white men almost twice per day. Among the sad byproducts of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is the seemingly intentional effort to strike ever-greater fear in the hearts of black parents. In the hierarchy of mortal threats facing young black men, police violence ranks far, far below deadly violence perpetrated by other young black men. Yet the movement is already making its presence felt in the Democratic presidential primary, and looks set to dominate public discourse through the 2016 election. That’s a shame, because in the battle of ideas, intensity is no substitute for accuracy, and the accurate news is actually good news: It is not “open season” on black males in the U.S.