The BLM Movement is in trouble...

After the public lynching of George Floyd, I was very encouraged to see that most Americans, Republican and Democrat, finally understood what Black Americans  have been calling attention to for literally a century.  There seemed to be some bizarre belief among white people that Black Americans had achieved equality once the Civil Rights Acts were passed in the 1960s.  Demonstrations erupted immediately on the day following George Floyd’s murder.  Peaceful demonstrations.  And the world was listening.  Even Corporate America was listening.  Some people finally realized why Kapernick kneels.  And then it changed. 

Violence happened.  The protests started turning into riots.  Looting, burning, even murders, were suddenly born out of the peaceful protests by people who hijacked and took cover among the peaceful protesters.  The very first act of destruction came from what some people are calling “the Umbrella Man” in Minneapolis.  A white guy carrying an umbrella and wearing a pink and black gas mask started smashing out the windows of the Auto Zone near the site of George Floyd’s murder.  A young Black kid carrying a pizza box tried to stop him.  That young kid followed “the Umbrella Man,” asking if he was a cop, asking why he’d just done that.  People screamed as he walked by in his movie villain outfit.  The young Black kid with the pizza box kept after him until “the Umbrella Man” turned around and threatened him.  Thankfully, someone was recording this the entire time.  

That single act by “the Umbrella Man” was the catalyst that turned the protests across the entire country from peaceful to destructive riots.  Then, as if seduced into action by the violence, the mainly white Antifa activists joined the protests and have been a major source of the destruction, along with their horseshoe theory counterparts, the White Nationalists.  The focus turned from Black lives matter into political statements, such as abolishing the police, and into pushing political ideologies, like anarchy and Marxism.  The focus was no longer on Black suffering.  The far left and far right agents of chaos decided, once again, to infiltrate and take over what had been a vehicle for Black voices, and turned it away from the original message. 

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images as published by the New York Times

“The Umbrella Man” has since been identified, and as law enforcement investigates him and builds a case against him, it was revealed that he is, in fact, a White Nationalist.  We saw Nick Fuentes and his Groyper movement (another White supremacist group) joining protests in Tampa, Boogaloo Boys made appearances, and we saw another white guy, 25-year old convicted criminal Wesley Somers, identified and arrested as the arsonist who burned down the historic courthouse in Nashville. 

Meanwhile, Antifa and anarchists and their “ACAB (All Cops are Bastards)” motto have been spraying graffiti, torching police cars and buildings, and committing enough violence to run the Seattle Police Department out of their own precinct.  Antifa subsequently declared that area “CHAZ,” Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, and occupied it for weeks until someone was murdered.  Ironically, CHAZ boasted a checkpoint to allow or deny entry and security patrols in their autonomous zone.  Antifa are mainly white, suburban 20-somethings and teens whose mommy and daddy can bail them out if they get in trouble.  Not so for many of the Black youth inspired to join them in their destructive acts.

The violence serves a distinct purpose for the White Nationalists.  They want the message derailed.  They want to use violence that they initiate, and then blame it on the Black activists seeking change.  It’s essentially being used as a call-to-arms by them and ginning up support for the racist Trump machine.  Antifa and anarchists are playing right into their hands and although their intent may not be consciously racist, it’s still racist because they are drowning out the voices that should be heard.

The widespread unity that encouraged Black people into believing that maybe, finally, things would change for them, was turned on its head.  Now it was about politics.  And violence.  Three distinct elements:  White Nationalists, Antifa and their anarchist compatriots, and common everyday criminals, took what were Black voices and essentially stepped on their throats, not much different than what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd, relegating the original message of the protests to the back of the proverbial bus and causing the movement to lose support.

As a result of this derailing, the term “Black lives matter” has come under scrutiny.  The non-profit organization, Black Lives Matter, Inc., which had nothing to do with the protests other than sharing a name, was catapulted to the forefront and identified as a Marxist group (it is, by their own admission).  Now, suddenly, anyone using the slogan “Black lives matter” is being labeled a Marxist. 

Slogans such as “defund the police” have not been helpful to this movement either.  Some argue that it doesn’t actually mean “defund the police," while others claim that it absolutely means police abolition.  One Black lives matter activist, Lilith Sinclair, who spoke at a rally in Portland, went so far as to insist that the United States of America be abolished.  Even if it means moving funding for police to funding community programs, if officers need better hiring practices and more commitment to anti-bias training, why would you take away the resources that would guarantee that actually happened? 

These extreme voices, whether they’re violent or political, or both, have caused enormous damage to the Black lives matter message from the original protests.  Terry Crews attempted to explain this to Don Lemon and was basically heckled.  Tyler Perry mentioned his concern for the hijacking of the original message in another interview.    

Some of the violence and destruction that have occurred in Portland inspired an incredibly heavy-handed reaction by Donald Trump to send in federal agents to "protect monuments and federal buildings."  The federal presence has only fueled the situation instead of quelling it, mainly due to the fact that these federal agents are untrained in riot control or crowd dispersion or de-escalation techniques.  They seem to be acting far outside their constitutionally-authorized roles and in direct violation of US civil liberties.  And during normal times, most of the country would be horrified by seeing what resemble armed US soldiers acting against US citizens.  But because of the distractions by these outside elements, the federal presence is being lauded by people who would usually consider themselves to be proponents of the US Constitution.  While some are merely Trump cultists who approve of anything Trump does no matter how illegal, egregious or cruel it is, others are genuinely concerned that the response from liberal mayors and governors is too weak.

While John Lewis was alive, he supported this movement and reminded those who would listen that the only way to achieve the goals being sought is through non-violence.  I believe he was correct.  Looking at the history of Black Civil Rights, in the US and elsewhere, the only time significant strides were made was through non-violent means.  Desegregation, the Civil Rights Acts, the end of apartheid South Africa, all came about through non-violence and/or the use of the court system. 

The bottom line here is that both violence and extreme political opinions are damaging this movement and serving as a gift to Donald Trump.  The Black community as a whole consists of mainly non-extremist political opinions.  These are people who go to church, mosque or synagogue.  These are people who love their kids and value family.  These are people who want a fair system.  These are people who served their country and love America.  White people and others need to stop using the Black community's desire to be treated with humanity and equality to push their radical political ideologies.  And stop engaging in violence and destruction.  And please join me in announcing to the world that saying “Black lives matter” doesn’t mean you subscribe to a Marxist organization called “Black Lives Matter, Inc.”  

I’m not Black and I can’t speak for Black people, but as an outside observer, this is what I’m seeing and it saddens me. 


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