The more we learn about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests the less clearcut things become. One video that has surfaced shows mostly white protestors remonstrating with mostly black police officers, asserting as they do so that ‘black lives matter’. Another shows a distressed lady in the UK saying ‘too many black men are killed on the streets by police’- perhaps she is talking about America because in the past 10 years only 13 black people have died in police custody in the UK.
How have we arrived at the situation where black police officers and black-owned businesses are being attacked by white protestors in the name of anti-racism? As protests in the UK and the USA intensify, the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) recently found that there are more than three times as many people in forced servitude today as were captured and sold during the 350-year span of the transatlantic slave trade. In Libya, Africans seeking a route into Europe are trapped and enslaved. The men go into forced labour and the women into prostitution. As these protestors occupy the world’s centre stage, enjoying global coverage of their protests, those black lives suffering the most base and horrific oppression abroad are relegated to backstage, out of sight and long-forgotten.
Reconciling those who believe that racism is built into the structures of Western society and those who believe that protestors have been whipped into a hysteria by those bent on destroying capitalism by any means possible is a difficult task.
There are enough moderates though, I hope, that are on the side of peace, not war; of unity, not division; and of order, not anarchy. The only way this can be achieved is by acknowledging that there are elements of truth to both sides. There is genuine inequality in Western society, and though inequality can never be eradicated, there are many ways to improve the lot of disadvantaged communities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in 2013 black males accounted for 37 per cent of the total male prison population despite making up only 6 per cent of the general population.
African-Americans are also disproportionately below the poverty line in America and according to a 2019 study by Harvard economist, Roland Fryer, ‘on non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty per cent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police’. There are serious challenges that black communities face in America that need to be addressed.
We must note, however, that evidence of inequality is not evidence of racism. To the mind resolved to find it, racism can be discovered in every nook and cranny of society. There are many studies that conclude racial bias is neither a factor in police shootings (see Cesario et al. (2018), James et al. (2012), Johnson et al. (2019)) nor in securing bank loans – not even in areas that were ‘redlined’ in the 1930s (see Tootell (1996) and Dingemans (1979)).
The evidence in police shootings concludes that white, not black, males are disproportionately killed. To quote James et al. (2012), ‘in all three experiments using a more externally valid research method than previous studies, the authors found that participants took longer to shoot Black suspects than White or Hispanic suspects. In addition, where errors were made, participants across experiments were more likely to shoot unarmed White suspects than unarmed Black or Hispanic suspects, and were more likely to fail to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White or Hispanic suspects. In sum, this research found that participants displayed significant bias favoring Black suspects in their decisions to shoot’. This evidence substantially undermines the BLM narrative.
What is also often overlooked is the progress that has been made for the black community in America. In the past 20 years the incarceration rate for black males aged 18-19 has dropped by 72 per cent; the rate of teenage pregnancies (girls aged between 15-19) has dropped by 63 per cent since 2001; black women now out-earn white women in America (when from similar socio-economic backgrounds). These examples show that the US is already moving in the direction of equality without the riots and social media outrage.
Furthermore, there have been many studies that have highlighted the great disparity even within the US black population. Immigrant-origin black students are disproportionately represented at institutions of higher education and are more likely to complete their education than US-origin black students. This is not definitive proof that racism doesn’t exist, but rather that the statistics present a complex picture that many people try to oversimplify.
Whilst this oversimplification is often done in good faith there are some who would say that the BLM organisation has wilfully compounded this error by preventing rational discussion. A reluctance to support the movement has been equated with racism. By disseminating vague, moralised slogans on social media they have fomented riots across the globe which have taken lives and destroyed livelihoods.
Many of its supporters may be unaware of its ideology that goes far beyond its cause of racial justice. The claim that there is, ‘state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism’ – a claim made by the BLM movement on its website – is calculated to whip people into hysteria. They also express their commitment to ‘disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family’ on their website. It is unclear how this objective as anything to do with ‘state-sanctioned violence’ against black people.
Indeed, the rise in the crime rate and poverty in black communities in America mimics the rise in single-parent households in these same communities- a rate that has rocketed from 25 per cent to 75 per cent in 60 years. The BLM narrative fits easily into the Marxist framework of power struggles: white man against black man; heterosexual against homosexual; man against woman. The partisans of power politics make use of emotive anecdotal evidence to raise levels of fear, resentment and outrage.
BLM’s tactics are reminiscent of Mao’s scheme of mass manipulation in China, called the ‘mass line’. The masses were consulted about their grievances, which were then reframed along Marxist lines and fed back to the people through education and propaganda. This ‘education’ cares less for truth, and more for utility. Any inconvenient truths shall be omitted and suppressed. It has had a divisive effect – as intended. It is potent too. The torn down statues and the besieged police force are mere reminders that a cultural revolution has erased tradition and toppled Truth from her throne, so that now falsehood’s utopian formula can be etched upon this blank slate of state.
Mao’s ‘great leap forward’ cost China 30 million lives. At the time of writing, 21 people have died in the riots, including retired black police captain David Dorn. It seems ironic that these lives are deemed expendable to a cause that calls itself Black Lives Matter. The number will inevitably rise, and they will rise based on a lie. That’s the most pressing injustice we face in society right now. If we can drop the cultural Marxism, if we can silence the condescending clarion calls to acknowledge ‘white privilege’, and if we can end the arbitrary prejudice based on the colour of someone’s skin then, and only then, can we fix the problems facing society and end racial injustice.