Okay, I’m not trying to educate the world… HOWEVER comparing white supremacy to Black Lives Matter is like comparing arsonists to firefighters. Both usually cause damage, but their intentions are diametrically opposed. As with most actions, everything boils down to intent.
For the sake of putting this issue to bed, let’s dissect the arguments against the concept of Black Lives Matter being the equivalent of the centuries-old white supremacy movement. Instead of using conjecture and opinion, however, let’s base the argument on facts.
Argument: Black Lives Matter is an anti-cop movement.
There is a widespread belief that the Black Lives Matter movement is anti-police. They point to the Dallas ambush shooting where five cops were killed, even though Micah Johnson was found to have participated in many other organizations when police investigated his past and searched his online history—even the chief of the Dallas Police said they could find no affiliation with Black Lives Matter.
People often cite media reports of protesters chanting, “What do we want? DEAD COPS! When do we want it? NOW!” That video has been debunked as a protest that took place before Black Lives Matter was founded.
#BlackLivesMatter was created as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.
In fact, if you search quotes by the founders of the movement or the official website of the of the organization, it is impossible to find a single anti-police sentiment.
To be fair, there are many people of color who carry disdain for law enforcement. Centuries of documented abuse and mistreatment by the criminal-justice system have fostered a deep mistrust and even hate for police. Some of those people are involved in the Movement for Black Lives, and some have even expressed this sentiment publicly, but that does not mean the entire organization or the movement itself dislikes cops.
Argument: Both white supremacists and Black Lives Matter are racist.
White supremacist groups like the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party and others are specifically dedicated to the uplift and empowerment of white people. A few white supremacists and alt-right adherents claim that they aren’t racist and that they have no qualm with people of other colors, genders and sexualities. This notion is the simplest to debunk of all. Simply send a person of color to a KKK meeting, a neo-Nazi gathering or a white nationalist convention and watch what happens. Conversely, every Black Lives Matter meeting, rally or symposium is filled with people of different races, ethnicities and sexual preferences. Black Lives Matter states it is “committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.”
Argument: Both white supremacists and Black Lives Matter incite violence.
Because of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, coupled with the 2016 police ambush in Dallas at a Black Lives Matter rally, many have accused BLM of promoting violence. This is the same logic some people use to say that Islam is a violent religion, even though the stated goals of Islam and Black Lives Matter are founded in peace. Among the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter is, “We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation and peace in our engagements with one another.”
To be fair, most white nationalist groups, from their founders to their members, publicly disavow violence. Here is the difference:
Black Lives Matter was founded on the principles of anti-violence. One of the movement’s specific goals is to end violence against black lives. It cannot achieve its end result through violence, and it teaches and reiterates that fact every chance it gets.
Even though white supremacists say their goal is not violence, the actions and words of white supremacists would lead you to believe otherwise. This is purely conjecture, but if you asked any person in a Klan robe or wearing a swastika if they want all black people dead, I imagine (again, without evidence) that the answer would be different from that of most members of Black Lives Matter.
Here are some quotes from white supremacist leaders:
“But make no mistake, the age of innocence is over for whites politically. We are becoming a displaced minority in our own country thanks to Democrat policies. They tax the hell out of middle class families who might want to have more children while paying for welfare queens to have 5 or 6 babies they can’t support. They provide sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants who flood in from south of the border and import Islamists from the most dangerous countries on Earth. The time for supplication is over. We need to fight back!” ~Jason Kessler, organizer of the “Unite the Right” March
“It’s the right thing to be concerned about the immigration, because you see these fucking hordes of unwashed religious fanatics pouring across borders with no resources just thinking that they’re going to collect welfare and fuck our women and fucking breed us out of existence. That makes me want to bash people’s skulls open, I understand.” ~Christopher Cantwell, white nationalist radio host
“I ask myself this, in all things: WWHD? (What Would Hitler Do?). To be slightly more honest/specific, I ask myself what Hitler would do if he’d been born in 1984 in America and was dealing with this situation we are currently dealing with and also really liked 4chan and Anime. Hitler was, ultimately, the symbolic (and in some ways actual real life) culmination of traditional Europeanism.” ~Andrew Anglin, founder-owner of the Daily Stormer
“Every non-White on the planet has to become extinct. We need to remove these minor-league amateur races out of the game, and refine the playoff brackets a bit, if you get my meaning. The whole world is ours, and the only part of the earth that non-Whites should inherit is however much it requires to cover them.” ~Billy Roper, founder-organizer of “March Against Sharia Law”
Argument: But shouldn’t all lives matter?
Why is OK to say “Black lives matter,” but not “All lives matter” or “White lives matter”?
Because the phrase “Black lives matter” is meant as a self-affirmation. Because there has never been a debate in the history of the United States about whether or not white lives matter. Because no statistical evidence or data exists that casts doubt on the value of white lives. Because it is indicative of the overwhelming privilege of whiteness that those who say “All lives … ” or “White lives …” can’t stand not being included in a conversation or catchphrase. Because this isn’t about you. Because … get your own shit. But mostly because of this:
Irish people get a pub in every city. There are German beer festivals and Italian neighborhoods and French classes in every high school in America. Black people are just “black.” We were dispossessed of our heritage and culture by America. It might not be your fault. It may not be the fault of your ancestors. It just is.
Whiteness is not real. It is a made-up thing some people are afforded the opportunity to become. They get to melt into the collective. They use it to make themselves stronger. They get to become “American” by default. To inherit the legacy and liberty of every war ever fought, every piece of progress ever made in this country. To believe in the supremacy of the fantastical myth of whiteness is your personal prerogative.
But all we have are these bodies. All we have are our lives.
Stop trying to take that, too.
Black Lives Matter.