By: Athena Brown
Today we’ll be looking at #blacklivesmatter (BLM) – the movement, what it stands for, and it’s claims. As is usual with 4th Wavers, we’ll be covering tons of studies, statistics, data, facts, evidence, so you can link this post as a final resource anytime you find yourself in an online debate.
As most of us are aware, the BLM movement is primarily concerned with the treatment black people experience from the police, from experiencing violence to being unjustly shot and killed. But the movement also puts forward claims that go much further than that, and suggests that blacks are *disproportionately* targeted by the police – and mistreated by society at large – as a result of racism and racist beliefs on part of the people taking such actions. As stated on the BLM website:
^ Now this is the official position put forward by the movement, so keep this in mind. We’ll come back to it later.
We’re also familiar with the long list of names of black people that were targeted and killed by the police, as well as images like this one.
But the central question here, and the point that is causing all the commotion, is whether or not black people are being targeted simply because they are black. The official position of BLM hints that they actually aren’t – they’re targeted because they’re disproportionately poorer, which is a “social indicator” that places them at greater risk. Again real important to keep this concept in mind, because that’s the central point that’s causing the argument, especially when it comes to #AllLivesMatter .
There is some truth to the idea that black people are poorer due to laws and decision making policy that was in place during the earlier part of the 20th century, and there are some specific examples of “white privilege” which are associated (white privilege is extremely rare, but individual examples do exist). But the movement isn’t only addressing evidence based critiques like this. Again, there are some extraordinary claims that come from the movement, linked with hashtags like #walkingwhileblack , #drivingwhileblack and #handsupdontshoot .
A common argument against “all lives matter” has often been comparing it to houses that are on fire. http://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter <— see for yourself. This argument against “all houses matter” indicates that no other houses, except this one specific house or group of houses, experiences any fire. So is BLM just not understanding that other races exist and also experience these issues? Because every other race most certainly *does* experience police brutality (which here is the “fire”). The analogy simply does not carry over, since twice as many whites are shot by police according to the data we have on the subject, and the original argument was focused on blacks being targeted for being black, not simply being the only ones that ever experience this issue.
Moreover, no one is saying #BlackLivesMatter can’t be used, or isn’t valid. It’s perfectly fine to develop your own special interest group that focuses only on one given demographic. The problem is being told that #AllLivesMatter is racist and can’t be used, because blacks are targeted only for being black, and everyone else is targeted for some other reason. That just isn’t the case, which we’ll see in a bit.
And not to get into a point-by-point response with Vox (I think we all have better things to do), but in reply to number’s 4 and 5 on the Vox list linked above:
^^^ No, because other diseases also receive funding, and are being addressed at their own unique fundraisers. For example, there’s myasthenia gravis fundraisers, cystic fibrosis fundraisers, and so on. But imagine if you weren’t even allowed to *suggest* that one particular disease is a problem worth addressing, much less receive it’s own fundraiser or awareness, without being denounced for saying so. Or imagine if you couldn’t say “all diseases matter” and feel concern for anyone who falls ill or becomes sick, because doing so would make you a “diseasist” or whatever.
And again, no one is saying Cancer doesn’t matter, or you can’t have cancer awareness. But you *are* saying other diseases can’t be given their own consideration, or that we can’t show equal amounts of concern to others who are sick and dying.
^^^ ……………. actually yes. That is precisely what I would say. I would approach the people who are feeling bad, and tell them “I’m so sorry, I know how hard this is. I too have felt loss, so what you’re going through must be terrible.”
It’s not the #AllLivesMatter people who are turning this into a denouncement of others, as though social movements were analogous to a football game, where if someone isn’t routing for your team, then they have to be against you because they’re on a different team. This nonsensical “us vs them” mentality seems to have hijacked every social cause. It’s very possible to be concerned about other groups and also be concerned about your group.
I swear it’s like the people at Vox, Buzzfeed, and Cracked think this grade-school level wit is just so incredibly golden that there’s just *NO* counter argument that a person could think of within just a few seconds of thought.
Anyway back to those studies from earlier – now lets look at the reason *why* blacks are shot disproportionately more often. Is it “because they’re black”? If we look at the charts again (hopefully you still have them open in another tab), in 2015 we see similar numbers; almost twice as many whites as blacks shot and killed by the police, though the “proportion” is higher for blacks, as they make up less of the population. (Also, this refers to all whites and all blacks taken together as demographics. That’s really important, so keep that in mind, we’re going to come back to that in a second.)
Okay, so… why is that?
Remember that thing about how blacks live in poorer neighborhoods in the original BLM statement? Well this is unfortunately true – and it’s due to racist decisions that were made in the earlier part of the 20th century. These were things like what neighborhoods blacks could or couldn’t live in, and yes, that was definitely motivated by racism. As it turns out, those neighborhoods happened to end up a lot more poor, since society was “separate”, but certainly not equal. Many of these neighborhoods remain affected to this day, and according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, households at or below the poverty line will be involved with over twice as much crime. http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5137 – it also shows blacks and whites have similar rates of violence when below the poverty line.
So this really isn’t about being black, it’s about being poor – just like we saw indicated in the original BLM statement.
This makes perfect sense. If black households are more often poor, and live in poorer neighborhoods, then crime will obviously happen more often in those areas, and provide more chances for police encounters.
Now before we move on, 2 things.
1) Yes, you could argue that the current situation was created by racism that existed in the past, and is still a problem today. But this is a *lot* different than saying “police officers shot him because he was black”. I hope it’s clear now why that narrative, perpetuated by BLM, is simply not true.
2) Despite having more police encounters, when comparing encounters between each demographic (everyone who experienced a police encounter), rather than the entire white population vs the entire black population (the demographics mentioned earlier), we find that blacks are still not shot more often than whites. Again, this is comparing all police encounters with whites, and all police encounters with blacks, rather than “all whites” and “all blacks” everywhere. A meta analysis involving FIVE MILLION CASES – by a black researcher (if that matters) now reveals this to be the case.
You can see this analysis here: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21702219-are-black-americans-more-likely-be-shot-or-roughed-up-police-quantifying-black-lives?fsrc=scn%2Ffb%2Fte%2Fpe%2Fed%2Fquantifyingblacklivesmatter – and yes, I’m leaving that great big ugly URL there because I don’t want you to miss it. This demonstrates that blacks *ARE NOT* shot by the police more often, when all arrests are compared. The use of more frequent physical restraint against blacks can be explained by the fact that blacks live in poorer neighborhoods, as we discussed earlier, where crime is higher, and this would of course affect the vigilance in police perception.
Now that’s not downplaying the use of force, which is still definitely a problem. But the claim here was that they’re being targeted because they are black – and that’s simply not true. They are being targeted, but it’s *not* for being black.
Now lets touch again on the whole blacks-being-poor bit, which is the real story here, because it actually goes a hell of a lot deeper.
As mentioned, in the earlier part of the 20th century, racist housing policies controlled where blacks could and couldn’t live, thus forcing them into areas where they had fewer opportunities, and these areas became economically depressed. This in turn lead to a number of other important factors that persisted long after the original racial policies were changed. Blacks, as a demographic, now have a more difficult time getting into college or finding work opportunities – like the original BLM statement pointed out. Combine this with the lowered property value of black residential areas, and a black person will end up having a lower credit score, which severely affects several other parts of a person’s life, including the value of their savings and eligibility to receive a loan, which in turn affects how easily they can purchase a house or car. The key importance here is that while the system inadvertently makes things more difficult for black people, it is very possible that no one *IN* this system is actively racist, neither consciously nor subconsciously!!
SJW (social justice warrior) morons point to the higher asking price of a vehicle that a black person is trying to purchase and claim that it’s somehow “subconscious racism”. Right. As if the sales person is, on some subconscious level, thinking to himself “Oh boy! Blacky wants a car! Imma ask him for more money than he reasonably has because he’s black and doesn’t earn as much, and this makes perfect sense, given that I’m trying to make a sale and a higher asking price makes achieving that sale more difficult! Mwahahahaha!!!!” – and the sales person does this even if they’re black. Because of “internalized racism”. Or whatever cockamamie intellectual-sounding buzzword 3rd Wavers and SJWs are using to cover obvious plot holes in their “theory”.
The fact of the matter is, the sales person doesn’t care about skin colour, they care about credit score and other factors that go into buying a car, which are set by the bank. The bank doesn’t care about skin colour, they care about where you live, how long you’ve been employed, how many payments you’ve missed, etc. The housing authority doesn’t care about your skin colour, they only care about previous evictions, landlord-tenant law, and related considerations. Each person in the system is only doing their job. None of them are aware of the larger systemic problems. They are not themselves racist. They don’t hate blacks. They aren’t trying to keep whites in control. There is no secret agenda. It’s screwed up, but it’s not caused by white people secretly hating blacks and needing to “check their privilege”.
That nonsensical narrative that whites are the problem is only fostering an ideology of hate, rather than unity. That’s why we keep seeing crap like this: