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Black lives matter. It’s not a sentence easily disagreed with. Indeed, when it first went viral (after a spate of controversial police shootings) I found it rather articulate. The only improvement perhaps would have been the addition of ‘too’ at the end. But that didn’t really matter. The message was still simple and direct: Black lives are not inherently less valuable than white or Hispanic lives, and so the police shouldn’t feel more entitled to fire at black criminals than criminals of any other background. Fair enough.
The best part of a year on from its inception, however, and Black Lives Matter has become something far less reasonable. Despite any noble beginnings, BLM is now a barely-organised cult of anger, of random society-bashing and raging self-pity. Its proponents are motivated more by hatred of white people than by sympathy for vulnerable blacks. Some on the political right have gone so far as to designate it ‘racist’ and a ‘hate group’; the mirror image of the KKK. I am not compelled to disagree with them.
Whether on college campuses, at political rallies, or in the street, BLM activists have been causing a riotous disruption to American intellectual life, and for no reason greater than the exercise and development of an industry of phoney grievance and community self-denial.
In the words of Wall Street Journal columnist Jason L Riley “(BLM) is not about the fate of blacks per se but about scapegoating the police in particular, and white America in general, for antisocial ghetto behavior. It’s about holding whites to a higher standard than the young black men in these neighborhoods hold each other to. Ultimately, it’s a political movement, the inevitable extension of a racial and ethnic spoils system that helps Democrats get elected. The Black Lives Matter narrative may be demonstrably false, but it’s also politically expedient…It’s the black poor—the primary victims of violent crimes and thus the people most in need of effective policing—who must live with the effects of these falsehoods.”
Mr Riley’s comment about black victims of violent (black) crime deserves extended analysis. It is still acceptable in liberal academia to blame the failings of African Americans on the existence of ‘institutionalised’ or ‘structural’ racism. A more honest and pro-black narrative would highlight the pitifully high rates of black-on-black crime in the neighbourhoods in which the acts of police ‘brutality’ are alleged to have occurred. Could it be that the police are merely trying hard to save black lives? Could it be that police excess in these neighbourhoods is the unfortunate overspill of a desire to protect black people?
No. It couldn’t be that. Well, not according to BLM anyway. Crackers, they reason, are just being crackers. White people love the sight of a puddle of black blood expanding on a pavement. It’s what got them to enrol in the first place.
Falsehoods cannot persist indefinitely. Sooner or later even the most doctrinaire bien pensant will end up reading forbidden arguments, or hearing unapproved statistics. Given enough time, and enough rope, the BLM cult will burst like a bubble.
And American Blacks will be all the better off for it.