In defense of Black Lives Matter

Posted on July 10, 2016

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If you’ve read The Help and just love it because its so darn heart warming how that spunky white girl led those humorous maids into activism, then listen up. Because current events in this country ironically mirror some of what really happened back then, and what race relations were actually about. And just like I was a witness to history, you’re a witness now.

So in thirty, or maybe forty years when some ambitious author (and his or her inner circle of friends) decides to co-op Black Lives Matter to tell the tale of a spunky white girl (or guy) who spurred a group of humorous black people into action, see it for what it is.

Complete and utter BULLSHIT. 

 

A dark and tragic history between blacks and law enforcement: 

 

“If [blacks] conduct themselves in an orderly way, they will not have to worry about police brutality.” – US Senator

 

If you think this is a modern day quote to describe the rash of shootings of people of color by law enforcement, you’d be wrong. This is a quote from the 60s, during the civil rights era, where some politicians and law enforcement used rhetoric to justify assaults and murders of African Americans by unlawful “officers.”

See the photo below, on the lynching of Rubin Stacy (some reports spell Stacy’s first name as Reuben) in Florida, at the hands of some residents and with the support of local law enforcement.

“But Deputy Clark still wasn’t satisfied. If the onlookers wanted to witness the lynching, he said, they must become part of it. So he told the 15 or 20 white people present to shoot the black man as he swayed from the tree limb. Clark began passing around his handgun.

The woman who related this eyewitness account 53 years later, shot at the black man, as did her husband.

Many people missed with their shots, the bullets slamming into the pine tree. But 17 bullets hit their mark. And that`s why, the woman explained, the lips of everyone who witnessed the lynching have been sealed ever since. Who wanted to admit being part of a lynch mob?”

Link: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1988-07-17/features/8802110707_1_black-man-lynching-pine-tree

 

The Lynching of Rubin Stacy in Florida

The Lynching of Rubin Stacy in Florida. This was “entertainment” for some bigots. Note the little girl and woman who don’t appear to be shocked or appalled.

 

The link for the US Senator’s quote can be found below, but I’m still checking on the name of the senator, as I believe names should go with quotes.

Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/12/police_brutality_protesters_history_of_civil_rights_women_s_suffrage_child.html

 

A quote from Chief Todd Axtell, describing Minnesota protests over the shooting death of Philando Castile: “protestors turned into criminals”:

“This is the first time in my 28 years we have observed this level of violence toward our public servants,” Axtell said. “It’s really a disgrace.”

The chief said the protesters “turned into criminals. I am absolutely disgusted, [and] I am not going to tolerate it. … I just can’t believe this occurred. This is just something that doesn’t happen in St. Paul.”

 

Link: http://www.startribune.com/about-100-arrested-in-st-paul-protests/386197981/

 

 

Screenshot of tweet made by former tea party favorite and ex-congressman Joe Walsh:

Joe Walsh tweet threatening President Obama and Blk Lives Matter organization

 

“I do blame people on social media with their hatred toward police,” he [Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick] said. While pointing out that last night’s Dallas protest was peaceful, Patrick said, “I do blame former Black Lives Matter protests.”

Link: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/texas-dan-patrick-blames-black-lives-matter

 

 

Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s advice to black people and to NCAAP Director Hilary Shelton:

“So, you know what I think? I think that if you really want, if African Americans really want to bring the country together and have good racial relations, they have to distance themselves from Black Lives Matter. Am I wrong?”

“White Americans despise this crew. And if black Americans don’t understand that, we’re just going to grow further apart.”

Link: http://www.salon.com/2016/07/11/5_worst_right_wing_moments_of_the_week_bill_oreilly_instructs_black_people_to_hate_black_lives_matter_partner/

 

And here’s a quote on the phrase “Black Lives Matter” from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Sunday:

“Giuliani claims when people use the phrase “black lives matter,” it’s “inherently racist.”

“Black lives matter, white lives matter, Asian lives matter, Hispanic lives matter,” he said. “That’s anti-American and it’s racist. Of course black lives matter, and they matter greatly,” he said. “But when you focus in on 1 percent of less than 1 percent of the murder that’s going on in America and you make it a national thing, and all of you in the media make it much bigger than the black kid who’s getting killed in Chicago every 14 hours, you treat it disproportionately.”

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/287157-giuliani-black-lives-matter-inherently-racist

 

Update: Here’s a NY Times Op-Ed piece responding to Giuliani’s statements:

“In 1999, when Mr. Giuliani was New York’s tough-on-crime mayor, Amadou Diallo reached for his wallet and was cut down in a hail of police bullets. Patrick Dorismond was minding his own business on a Manhattan street in 2000 when Mr. Giuliani’s undercover officers confronted him and shot him dead. In one of the disgraceful acts of his or any mayoralty, Mr. Giuliani smeared the victim’s reputation and released part of his juvenile police record, as if to suggest that he deserved to be murdered.”

See the full article here: Rudi Giuliani’s Racial Myths

 

 

 

 

 

While Black Lives Matter is an activist group, the term “Black Lives Matter” is now a popular phrase being used by other groups. Some might argue that its also a movement that now uses the phrase to justify protests. And with any movement, there will be growing pains.

But if you want to know what the organization called Black Lives Matter is about, then check out their site, and take a look at their mission statement:

 

We Affirm that All Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

Link: http://blacklivesmatter.com/

 

What I also continue to see is a need for some people to link anything being done to shed light on the inequitable treatment of people of color under law enforcement (some, not all) and our system of justice, as “thugs” “criminals” etc. and to bring up an affiliation with Black Lives Matter. In other words, BLM gets all the blame for any wrongdoing by others, but none of the credit for expanding awareness in not only this country, but worldwide. 

The protests against the recent shooting of two black males, held in Dallas, Texas were organized by a group called The Next Generation Action Network not Black Lives Matter. 

Read the official statement on the shootings by Minister Dominique Alexander, President and Founder of The Next Generation Action Network using the link below:

Link: http://cw33.com/2016/07/08/dallas-protest-organizers-next-generation-action-network-releases-statement-regarding-shooting/

 

Here’s the official website of The Next Generation Action Network: http://nextgenerationactionnetwork.com/

 

Also mentioned as an organizer by Time magazine and other journals is Reverend Jeff Hood, that’s why I’m listing a link to the articles quoting him. However I’m still trying to verify if he was indeed an organizer, or simply a vocal participant. It’s also telling that several news outlets decided to interview Hood and not Alexander:

 

Link: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/07/08/meet-leftist-reverend-behind-dallas-black-lives-matter-protest/

Link: http://time.com/4398960/jeff-hood-dallas-shootings-protest/

Link: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/07/09/megyn-kelly-asks-dallas-reverend-if-he-regrets-shouting-god-dn-white-america-ahead-of-police-slayings/

 

And let me state on a personal level, the killings in Dallas were a hate crime, imho, based on the information released on the suspect. I also believe mental health played a key role in these tragic and unjust assassinations. More information will come out on the killer’s state of mind, but from what I’ve read, this man had deep seated issues.

My condolences go out to the officers family and friends, just as my condolences go out to the loved ones of shooting victims Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. 

For this post I figured my real time experience of living during the civil rights movement could shed some light on the need by some politicians and others to call those who protest as part of the problem, not the solution. Gotta love those “excited utterances” of people like Rush Limbaugh and Joe Walsh, as they play to their fan base and claim to speak for “real America.”

 

Protests in America are nothing new. Protests and police assaults were prevalent during the 1968 Democratic convention:

“One 1968 memory remains indelible 40 years later. Throughout that week I had been a guest commentator on NBC’s “Today” show, broadcasting live from Chicago. Early Friday morning, a few hours after the convention ended, I took the elevator to the lobby of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, where I had been staying, to head for the studio. As the elevator doors opened, I saw huddled before me a group of young McCarthy volunteers. They had been bludgeoned by Chicago police, and sat there with their arms around each other and their backs against the wall, bloody and sobbing, consoling one another. I don’t know what I said on the “Today” show that morning. I do remember that I was filled with a furious rage. Just thinking of it now makes me angry all over again.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/1968-democratic-convention-931079/#QPlXV9s1mteowlcr.99

 

 

In the 1970s,  anti-war protests resulted in the tragic shootings of four Kent State Students:

“They’re the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we’re up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America.” – Governor Rhodes, during the 1970 anti-war protest at Kent State

Link: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Kent_State_Shootings

 

aftermath of Kent State shootings

Iconic photo showing the death and agony after the Kent State shootings

 

 

“Eventually seventy-seven guardsmen advanced on the protesters with armed rifles and bayonets. Protesters continued to throw things at the soldiers. Twenty-nine of the soldiers, purportedly fearing for their lives, eventually opened fire. The gunfire lasted just thirteen seconds, although some witnesses contended that it lasted more than one minute. The troops fired a total of sixty-seven shots. When the firing ended, nine students lay wounded, and four other students had been killed. Two of the students who died actually had not participated in the protests.

These shootings helped convince the U.S. public that the anti-war protesters were not just hippies, drug addicts, or promoters of free love. They also included middle and upper-class people, as well as educated people.”

Link: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Kent_State_Shootings

 

And history keeps repeating itself. Here’s more of what Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick stated after a sniper killed and wounded Dallas police officers:

 

“Too many in the general public who aren’t criminals but have a big mouth are creating situations like we saw last night,” an emotional Patrick said during an interview with Fox News on Friday. He later added, “All those protesters last night, they ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them—what hypocrites!”

Link: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/texas-dan-patrick-blames-black-lives-matter

 

Surprisingly, Patrick had issued another statement initially that called for unity (that was before he went on Fox News and issued his own “excited utterances”):

Lt Governor of Texas Dan Partick twitter statement

 

 

 

Patrick may not understand how his “excited utterance” has it roots of blaming protesters from days gone by, but I think one of the best explanations regarding law enforcement and racial protests come from author Michelle Alexander:

 

“The rhetoric of ‘law and order’ was first mobilized in the late 1950s as Southern governors and law enforcement officials attempted to generate and mobilize white opposition to the Civil Rights Movement. In the years following Brown v. Board of Education, civil rights activists used direct-action tactics in an effort to force reluctant Southern States to desegregate public facilities. Southern governors and law enforcement officials often characterized these tactics as criminal and argued that the rise of the Civil Rights Movement was indicative of a breakdown of law and order. Support of civil rights legislation was derided by Southern conservatives as merely ‘rewarding lawbreakers.’

For more than a decade – from the mid 1950s until the late 1960s – conservatives systematically and strategically linked opposition to civil rights legislation to calls for law and order, arguing that Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of civil disobedience was a leading cause of crime.”― Michelle AlexanderThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

 

 

Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “Letter from a Bimingham Jail” (items in bold are my doing):

“When you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society … when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) … then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait….” His letter is a passionate indictment of American society for permitting racism to continue. But it ends in hope: “I have no despair about the future…. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation because the goal of America is freedom”

Link: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/historyofus/web14/segment6_p.html

 

 

While many now think of Martin Luther King Jr. as a martyr and champion of Civil Rights, take a look at how some pro-segregationists thought of him back in the day:

See the link below where Martin Luther King Jr was called “der Dark Führer” as this article that linked King’s work on behalf of equal rights with Hitler. Also notice what’s said about his clothing:

 

Snide article on King

Snide article on King, calling him “Der Dark Fuehrer” from a scan of The Clarion Ledger, 1963. The scan is from the site footnote.com

 

 

“The reality is that, in his time, the man we honor today with a national holiday was divisive; to many, he was a troublemaker, to force the social change we now all celebrate,” Johnson said. “When Dr. King arrived in many of the same cities for which a major street is now named for him, the mayor and the police commissioner viewed his visit with dread and couldn’t wait for him to leave.”

“For his efforts, the man we honor with a national holiday and a national monument, alongside Washington and Lincoln, was the target of racist insults, bricks, bottles, numerous death threats, a knife in the chest in Harlem in 1958, and finally, an assassin’s bullet in Memphis in 1968” – Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/229901-mlk-was-divisive-dhs-secretary-recalls

 

 

 

How about the college students who staged sit-ins, or women and children who joined in to march and protest for freedom? Surely they were fairly treated. No . . . they weren’t. Children were arrested, and many were attacked by dogs and sprayed with water from fire hoses:

 

 

 

Children of Birmingham march and are led to jail

Children of Birmingham, Alabama march for freedom and are led to jail in 1963

 

 

“In the spring of 1963, activists in Birmingham, Alabama launched one of the most influential campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement: Project C, better known as The Birmingham Campaign. It would be the beginning of a series of lunch counter sit-ins, marches on City Hall and boycotts on downtown merchants to protest segregation laws in the city.

Over the next couple months, the peaceful demonstrations would be met with violent attacks using high-pressure fire hoses and police dogs on men, women and children alike — producing some of the most iconic and troubling images of the Civil Rights Movement. President John F. Kennedy would later say, “The events in Birmingham… have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.” It is considered one of the major turning points in the Civil Rights Movement and the “beginning of the end” of a centuries-long struggle for freedom.”

Link: http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/civil-rights-movement-birmingham-campaign/#.V4K8H9IrLIU

 

Scenes from the 1960s, police and African American woman protester

Scenes from the 1960s, police and African American woman protester

 

 

1963 Jackson, Mississipp Woolworth sit in. Joan Trumpauer is seated in the center.

1963 Jackson, Mississippi Woolworth sit-in protesters (and college students) are pelted with condiments.

 

 

Hosed to stop a peaceful demonstration

Black teens hosed to stop a peaceful demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama 1963

 

 

The Dogs of War unleashed upon the black male

The Dogs of War are unleashed upon a black teen in Birmingham

 

 

What does recent data show on this issue?

The Washington Post‘s Kimbriell Kelly speaks about the data the newspaper has collected on police shootings over the past two years. More than 500 people have been fatally shot by police in 2016.

MARTIN: What are some of the trends that we see? For example, many – race is obviously often an element here. Are black people more likely to be shot by the police than white people are?

KELLY: The answer is yes. If you look at the rate, blacks were 2.5 times more likely to be killed by officers than whites. And in 2016, half of the victims were white and half were minorities.

 

Read more here:

Link: http://www.npr.org/2016/07/09/485388407/washington-post-tracks-more-than-500-police-shootings-in-2016

 

 

In the wake of such a fragile relationship between some police officers and communities of color, my question has to do with whether it’s compliance that’s needed, or are some looking for a return to the subservience of segregation?

 

To be continued . . . 

 

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