It is February again, which among other things, means we are in the midst of celebrating Black History Month. (I checked; it’s really all capitalized).
Schools and corporations now pander to a specific set of black historical figures. W.E.B. Du Bois, the anti-American communist, is revered while Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute and a believer in the black individual’s ability to take care of himself, is ignored. The same is true for Thurgood Marshal and Clarence Thomas; one is celebrated as an associate justice on the Supreme Court and the other doesn’t exist for a month. Hell, Donald Trump did more for HBCUs than even his black presidential predecessor. Do you think that gets recognized?
Black Lives Matter, in its recently updated website (it scrubbed the site – but not its purpose – of contentious and society-harming notions such as wanting to dissolve nuclear families, among other things), states that in order to combat the nebulous notion of white supremacy “we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.” Aside from the fact that it is hard to believe BLM wants to bring anyone to the front other than black leftists, the purported nonsensical mission statement nonetheless suggests that Black Lives Matter wants to lift up and elevate all black lives. It is safe to assume that all black voices would be elevated as well.
Seeing how this is February, black voices, more than ever, ought to be championed. At least, we could be forgiven for thinking that.
The movement of Black Lives Matter was founded on a provable lie, namely that Trayvon Martin was murdered. He might have been killed in an avoidable struggle, but he was not murdered. Language matter, and a jury of his peers determined as much. BLM doubled down on its lies of systemic white supremacy when it claimed Michael Brown, the gentle giant from Ferguson, had his hands up pleading for a white officer not to shoot him. Despite evidence and witness testimony – and an Obama-led Department of Justice report – all agreeing on a different set of facts, Black Lives Matter erupted onto the national scene over cries of a white officer “racistly” shooting an unarmed and nonviolent black man and has remained in the national spotlight ever since, because apparently large, unpredictable and violent white men can pummel police with impunity. Given the propagandistic treatment of funeral accolades for the fallen Officer Brian Sicknick (whose cause of death is now highly suspect), we might also be forgiven for thinking that the left would be glad an officer wasn’t killed by an angry assailant. It is hard to keep the narratives straight.
The alleged ubiquity of racism and white supremacy catapulted to the forefront again this past May after George Floyd (or as the wonderful Nancy Pelosi remembered him, George Kirby; such compassion!) seemingly died from a fentanyl overdose and underlying health conditions, exacerbated by anxiety from resisting arrest while interacting with Minneapolis police officers. We might as well point out that he had Covid previously, too. Each loss is tragic, but if sanctity of life is being attested, is it not disgusting that the left then capitalizes on each unfortunate death for political gain?
When a white person correctly identifies Black Lives Matter as an awful organization, they are ostracized from American society. They might lose friends and they might certainly lose their jobs. But what if a black person dared to escape the thought plantation? A superficial feature like race is apparently more important than an idea, so what do rational black voices say about the lies and violence of Black Lives Matter? Brandon Tatum claims they are destroying America. Candace Owens calls them a scam. The late Walter Williams questioned the narrative. Shelby Steele has effectively been banned for producing a narrative-busting documentary, and calls the whole movement deeply unserious. Allen West says the group actually hurts blacks. Terry Crews put Don Lemon on the defensive over the false support that Black Lives Matter has for black lives. Larry Elder wonders where they are anytime something other than when a white officer shoots a black man. Thomas Sowell sees right through the fraud of white supremacy. Tim Scott calls chants of defunding the police ridiculous. Clarence Thomas is either attacked or ignored for holding conservative values. The late Herman Cain said its only purpose was to destroy and distract. The list could go on ad infinitum.
Everyone agrees that black lives matter. Everyone also agrees that many of the allegations of American racism are founded on very real historical realities. Americans used to own slaves, racism used to be very prevalent in everyday life, and codified racism persisted well into the middle of the 20th century. None of this can be disputed, nor is it by anyone. Nevertheless, there is too much money and power up for grabs by keeping racism alive, and nefarious movements and individuals gravitate to those allures like an addict to a needle.
The present fight for America’s soul lies with an observation made by what Booker T. Washington over 120 years ago. He is quoted as saying:
“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
These charlatans are easy to identify in contemporary American culture, because it’s in vogue and because there is no penalty for being too woke. President Barack Obama – while president – claimed that racism was part of our DNA. The implication was that white people would forever be evil unless leftists like him lorded over the country and eradicated it. Former First Lady Michelle Obama remarked she had never been proud of her country until it elected her half-black husband as president. She then changed her narrative once he left office and resumed saying that the intersection of race and power was nakedly exposed. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be nobodies if not for the purpose given to them by individuals who often engage in criminal activities and whose interactions with police often turn violent and deadly (usually on the part of the suspects first). The director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson, is an egregious liar who says that slavery was not abolished in 1865; instead, it simply evolved, as he puts it. He cites Jim Crow, sharecropping, mass incarceration, convict leasing, and lynching as the basis for this incendiary and ahistorical charge.
This last matter deserves a rebuttal on each count. Bryan Stevenson best personifies the race-hustling imagined by Booker T. Washington so long ago. Counter to Mr. Stevenson’s claim, slavery was indeed abolished in 1865, at the cost of hundreds of thousands – predominantly white – lives. The vast majority of these soldiers did not own slaves, even the Southern ones. There are acres of mass graves and cemeteries, as well as a constitutional amendment, to attest to the fact of slavery’s abolition. As far as Jim Crow, the last relics were banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1965, although other institutional changes had already been underway (Brown v. Board, for example, was heard in 1954). If anything else, the fact that the black Stevenson can spout this nonsense against white society is proof enough that we have changed. He’s the worst kind of fraud.
And it isn’t even just the change in laws. Radio host Larry Elder often cities polls from the mid-20th century and nowadays related to acceptance of interracial marriages. In 1958, just 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriages; that number climbed to 86% by 2007 among white Americans between the ages of 18 and 49, and common sense suggests that number is higher today. This change in mindset is surely an even more powerful claim against supposed racism in the fabric of American society than legal changes.
To suggest that sharecropping akin to slavery is stupid at best and malicious at worst. Millions of slaves still in bondage across several African nations would love the opportunity to be free of their shackles and working land for themselves (or whatever an appropriate analogy might be – like engaging in only consensual sex?). It also ignores historical truths. Amazingly, two-thirds of all American sharecroppers were white, and for post-Civil War black Americans, it provided a much-needed source of pride, purpose, and income. What else were the millions of freed, and tragically uneducated, blacks suddenly supposed to do? At any rate, millions more whites than blacks were “subjugated” under this form of slavery, but Mr. Stevenson chooses not to interact with that inconvenient fact.
The argument against mass incarceration is entirely misleading. To the rising number of black inmates, it is easiest to point out that leading Democrats (Joe Biden among them) and black urban leaders all wanted stricter enforcement to rid their tormented communities of crack cocaine and uncontrollable violence in the 1980s and 1990s. If Mr. Stevenson is upset about increased rates of incarceration, he need look no further than toward prominent black mayors and Congressional Democrats. Moreover, mental contortions on a scale of the Great Houdini writhing his way out of a straitjacket while immersed in a tub of water must play out for leftists to believe that most blacks in prison are completely innocent. This column staunchly defends Mr. Stevenson’s legal activities seeking to free wrongly convicted men of all backgrounds. That being said, this column condemns in the strongest way possible his attempt to cite racism as a reason for millions of blacks choosing to commit crimes. Incarceration is largely dependent on a choice to engage in criminal enterprises. It is insulting, and would appear to be racist, to suggest blacks lack agency, as Mr. Stevenson contends. If more blacks commit crimes, then more blacks will end up in the justice system. Men pay more for car insurance than women. Is that sexist or based on a reality?
A quick scroll of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Twitter feed reveals daily reminders of past incidents of racism. The purported purpose of these tweets is to share America’s collective history, but underneath is a malignant mission to undermine race relations and create further divisions where none need to exist. Is it relevant to remind us that, according to its tweet for December 5th, “On this day in 1910, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that an 8-year-old girl was prohibited from attending her local public school because she was one-sixteenth black”? Viewed through our evolved lens of equality and justice, this ruling is an abomination. No American would disagree with that. This also happened 110 years ago and is ineffably still being used to justify disparaging the country and labeling hundreds of millions of decent people as white supremacists. To quote Thomas Sowell: “Racism is not dead. But it is kept on life support – kept alive by politicians, race hustlers, and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as racists.” I suppose this is why Sowell is not put on posters or slideshows in school hallways during February.
Voices ranging from Bryan Stevenson to Beyonce are upheld by megaphones. It is hard to see, however, equality of black voices when every major streaming platform posts banners for Black Lives Matter and every major corporation sends a generic email each time a politicized death provides an opportunity to signal their virtues while simultaneously silencing dissenting views. Larry Elder’s Uncle Tom, for which he makes a strong case for being an Oscar contender, won’t be seen on Netflix. Shelby Steele’s loom back at the Ferguson disaster was likewise declined by Amazon. What does it say about a movement when it rejects strong, powerful, and eloquent voices for black lives and instead favors an inarticulate, mumbling, man-drugging, and WAP-singing buffoon?
Although Black Lives Matter specifically and leftism in general claim to support black lives, there is a major disconnect between spoken vision and acted mission. Indeed, BLM doesn’t support all black lives; it simply supports black lives that parrot the leftist message. Their being black is useful but ultimately inconsequential. They are Stalin’s “useful idiots.”
In our national conversation on race (which is more of a monologic diatribe), the ideas laid out here are dependent on the background of the speaker. Indeed, were the author of this piece known to be white, they would be summarily aspersed as a racist and showing their fragility. However, if the author of this piece were known to be black, the content would instead be ignored. The left will not interact with an idea, it will only disparage a person so as to avoid the topic altogether.
Black lives will ultimately matter when organizations like Black Lives Matter and ideologies like leftism elevate and celebrate each black life for the treasure that it is. Ignoring wisdom from the likes of a Thomas Sowell or a Walter Williams, passion for America from a Herman Cain or an Allen West, and the search for truth from a Larry Elder or Candace Owens continues to serve a political purpose but does nothing for each sacred black life.
With regard to the national conversation on race, when will each of these uniquely invaluable black voices also be heard? Until all black stories and voices are heard, Black History Month is a lie. It is not Black History Month, it is only a select history of narrative-conforming blacks. For now, it is obvious that some black lives and voices are more equal than others.