By Alex Carros
For the past few years, Black Lives Matter (commonly shortened to BLM) has made a name for itself in the ongoing dialogues concerning race relations in the United States. Following multiple high profile shootings of black men by white police officers, many young men and women have claimed that law enforcement in this country persists in unfairly treating and abusing African Americans. This is indeed hard to dispute when confronted with the evidence. There does seem to be an amount of racism built within the Justice Department and its enforcers. While we at the Binghamton Review do appreciate a healthy amount of distrust for the government, many of the ideologies voiced by BLM call for more and more aggressive authoritarianism. Combined with their loud, obnoxious, and often race-baiting rhetoric, I take solace in the fact that BLM is doomed. You would think that the progressive left would take lessons from the utter failure that was the Occupy Movement, but you would be surprised at how stubborn it can be. With no clear structure, leader, or goal, BLM will no-doubt repeat the many mistakes that undid its spiritual predecessor.
It is admittedly hard to argue with the base claims put forward by Black Lives Matter; it seems a weekly occurrence that a police officer shoots an unarmed black man for reasons unknown. And while many of us rightly sympathize with these legitimate grievances, it is remarkable how this movement comes to the conclusion that more, and not less, authoritarianism is the solution: speech codes, mandatory race quotas, reparations, and censorship. Having attended a BLM meeting last semester, I saw first-hand these tenants in their ideology. Creating an Orwellian dichotomy of “ally” and “adversary,” they clearly advocated the policing of certain words and ideas. Take for example, the nonsense that racism cannot exist from a black person to a white person. “Prejudice plus power” is the alliterative explanation, yet seems to avoid the dictionary definition of the word: racial prejudice or discrimination. There is no mention of privilege, power, historical oppression, etc. They would argue, however, that the concept of race was created to bridge a divide between white and black colonists in the early-Enlightenment. This is correct, I concede, yet they very disingenuously leave out how authoritarians have always manufactured divides amongst the masses: language, religion, geography, culture, etc. In fact, why does a movement designed to help bridge racial divides create a separation within its adherents? Why can’t people just be a part of Black Lives Matter, and not relegated to “ally?”
The answer is that BLM, along with its offshoot ConcernedStudent1950, is chiefly concerned with narcissistic entitlement and an immunity from criticism. They have actively bullied journalists to this end, and I can already see how they will label me a racist for not immediately and unconditionally supporting them in their efforts, and for refuting the silly notion that they are the next Civil Rights Movement. They have no clear leader, no clear set of goals, and no clear structure, and simply shout from the rooftops that government-enforced change is necessary. In fact, the closest thing they have to leader is Shaun King, a white man who was willing to throw his own mother under the bus by saying she cheated on her husband in order to desperately prove his own race. Let’s contrast this with the actual Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s: a clear leader (MLK Jr.), a clear goal (Civil Rights Act of 1964), and clear structure centered on the NAACP. Their methods were also fundamentally different from BLM. They wanted smaller, more limited government to do away with Jim Crow and hostile law-makers in the South. The Civil Rights Act was thus, in essence, a libertarian measure: it actively and purposefully had the government limit its own authority concerning race. Instead, BLM wants everyone to simply stop thinking for themselves and fall in line with their assertions that they, as white people, owe them something because of slavery. Ignoring the fact that no one alive is responsible for the Atlantic Slave Trade, many of our ancestors weren’t even on this continent at the time.
It is for these reasons that BLM is doomed for failure; they protest authoritarianism in law enforcement and yet practice it themselves with their incessancy on safe spaces and word policing. Luckily, they have made no real impact on American legislature or culture, and most likely never will. They are too obnoxious, too preachy, and too chaotic to have anyone with self-respect fall in line with their unashamedly racially divisive rhetoric. Take, for example, the mob they formed in Dartmouth back in November, where they shouted “Fuck you, you filthy white fucks! Fuck you and your comfort!” to students simply trying to study. I, however, support you in these efforts. The more you bully and shout, the more enemies you make, and the more you are doomed for failure. Maybe after that we can have an actual debate on how to fix racial issues in the US.