The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. —Ayn Rand
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the organization Black Lives Matter (as distinct from the truth of the statement) has dominated headlines and hashtags daily. And many Americans say they are sympathetic to the organization’s motives. According to a New York Times article by Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy, “an outright majority of Americans agree with the central arguments of Black Lives Matter.” And a Monmouth University poll found that “57 percent of voters thought the anger behind [BLM] demonstrations was fully justified, while a further 21 percent called it somewhat justified.”1
Of course, combatting racism and fighting for the rights of oppressed minorities is a moral and admirable cause. And it’s safe to assume that this is what most Americans think that Black Lives Matter aims to do. But is this truly BLM’s goal?
BLM was founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. On the group’s website, a page titled “What We Believe” begins innocently enough:
[BLM] started out as a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.2
Aside from the ominous “us versus them” language, one might charitably grant BLM the benefit of the doubt with regard to its professed, overarching goal. A little farther down the page, though, we find statements that begin to cast doubt on the organization’s credibility and intentions. For instance: “We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’ so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.”3
What “patriarchal practice . . . requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’”? All women in America today are free to have children (or not) and to work one job, two jobs, or none. They’re free to make choices that necessitate more income, or to make different choices that require less income. These facts are plainly observable by anyone. Who or what is requiring any woman—black or otherwise—to work any particular number of jobs? BLM’s website doesn’t say.
The statement goes on: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”4 Who or what today is “requiring” a nuclear family structure of anyone? Again, the site provides no explanation or evidence.
The website’s “Donate” prompt reads: “We appreciate your support of the movement and our ongoing fight to end State-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.”5 Once again, we’re handed evidence-free assertions. Where is the “State-sanctioned violence” against black people? Where in America today are the black people who need to be “liberated”—and who is keeping them down? Aside from a few borderline-defunct chapters of the KKK, a relatively small number of neo-Nazis, and a smattering of unaffiliated bigots, where in America today are these unnamed advocates of “white supremacy”? The claim that such racism still exists as any significant cultural or political force in America today is a serious one that requires substantial evidence if it is to be taken seriously. Yet BLM’s site provides none. . . .
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1. Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy, “How Public Opinion Has Moved on Black Lives Matter,” New York Times, June 10, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/10/upshot/black-lives-matter-attitudes.html; Fred Backus et al., “ Majority Agree with Black Lives Matter and Say Major Police Reform Is Needed—CBS News Poll,” CBS News, June 28, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-lives-matter-police-reform-opinion-poll-28-06-2020/.
3. “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter.
4. “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter.
5. “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter.
6. The Real News Network, “A Short History of Black Lives Matter,” YouTube, July 22, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCghDx5qN4s&feature=youtu.be.
7. Yaron Steinbuch, “Black Lives Matter Co-founder Describes Herself as ‘Trained Marxist,’” New York Post, June 25, 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/blm-co-founder-describes-herself-as-trained-marxist/.
8. “Uno Por Uno, Estos Son Los 43 Muertos en Las Protestas Contra El Régimen de Maduro en Venezuela” [One by One, These Are the 43 People Killed in the Protests against the Maduro Regime in Venezuela], Infobae, February 12, 2015, https://www.infobae.com/2015/02/12/1626403-uno-uno-estos-son-los-43-muertos-las-protestas-contra-el-regimen-maduro-venezuela/; “Foro Penal Venezolano Presentó Casos de Tortura Ante La ONU” [Venezuelan Criminal Forum Presented Torture Cases to the UN], La Patilla, November 5, 2014, https://www.lapatilla.com/2014/11/05/foro-penal-venezolano-presento-casos-de-tortura-ante-la-onu/.
9. Rafael Valera, “Black Lives Matter Founder an Open Supporter of Socialist Venezuelan Dictator Maduro,” Breitbart, June 13, 2020, https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/06/13/black-lives-matter-founder-an-open-supporter-of-socialist-venezuelan-dictator-maduro/.
11. “Khmer Rouge,” History.com, August 21, 2018, https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/the-khmer-rouge; Arifa Akbar, “Mao’s Great Leap Forward ‘Killed 45 Million in Four Years,’” The Independent, September 17, 2010, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html; Patrick J. Kiger, “How Joseph Stalin Starved Millions in the Ukrainian Famine,” History.com, April 26, 2019, https://www.history.com/news/ukrainian-famine-stalin.
12. Ayn Rand, “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet, 1964), 119–20.
13. Lee Brown and Aaron Feis, “Harvard Grad Claira Janover Says She’s Lost Deloitte Job over Tiktok ‘Stab Threat,’” New York Post, July 1, 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/07/01/harvard-grad-claira-janover-lost-deloitte-job-over-tiktok-stab-threat/.
14. Amanda Prestigiacomo, “Young Mother Shot to Death after Telling BLM Supporters ‘All Lives Matter,’ Family Says,” Daily Wire, July 12, 2020, https://www.dailywire.com/news/young-mother-shot-to-death-after-telling-blm-supporters-all-lives-matter-family-says.
15. Teo Armus, “St. Louis Lawyer Who Waved Gun at Protesters Says He Was ‘Victim of a Mob,’” Washington Post, July 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/01/mccloskey-st-louis-guns-protest/. Note the stunningly disingenuous use of language by many reporters and commentators. Here, the Washington Post video contains text that reads “On June 28, Mark and Patricia McCloskey brandished fire arms [sic] at a crowd of protestors passing their house in St. Louis.” The “protestors” were not protestors at all but rights-violating rioters, and they weren’t “passing” the McCloskey’s home—they destroyed a gate, trampled all over the front lawn, and refused to leave when ordered to. Frustratingly, such blatantly nonobjective “journalism” is common in general, and especially so in many stories related to BLM.
16. Emily Davies and Teddy Amenabar, “Owner of Damaged D.C. Restaurant: ‘Black Lives Matter,’” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/teaism-black-lives-matter/2020/05/31/54c9ce50-a379-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html?arc404=true.
17. Mark Moore, “BLM Leader: If Change Doesn’t Happen, Then ‘We Will Burn down This System,’” New York Post, June 25, 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/blm-leader-if-change-doesnt-happen-we-will-burn-down-this-system/.
18. Nicholas Ballasy, “Black Lives Matter’s Official Social Media Accounts Don’t Address Riots, Looting Amid Its Protests,” Just the News, June 3, 2020, https://justthenews.com/nation/black-lives-matter-hasnt-addressed-riots-or-looting-cities-its-official-social-media.
19. Nouran Salahieh, “‘Just Putting a Bandaid over Decadeslong of Pain’: Black Lives Matter Co-founder Says Talks Not Enough, Calls for Change,” KTLA 5, June 1, 2020, https://ktla.com/news/local-news/just-putting-a-bandaid-over-decades-long-of-pain-black-lives-matter-co-founder-says-talks-no-enough-calls-for-change/.