Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

Claremont Students Plan to Protest ‘Anti-Black Fascist’ Heather Mac Donald

Students at the Claremont Colleges plan to protest and “shut down” a speech by prominent political commentator Heather Mac Donald tonight. Mac Donald, a member of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, is scheduled to give a speech at Claremont McKenna College’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

A photo of the students’ call to protest.

According to the event’s description on the Athenaeum’s website, “The Black Lives Matter movement holds that the U.S. is experiencing an epidemic of racially-driven police shootings, and that policing is shot through with systemic bias. Contending that the central Black Lives Matter narrative is not just false but dangerous, Heather Mac Donald will explore the data on policing, crime, and race and argue that policing today is driven by crime, not race, and that the movement has caused officers to back off of proactive policing in high crime areas, leading to the largest spike in nearly 50 years, disproportionately affecting blacks.”

Student protestors plan to “shut down” the event. “Anti-Black ‘scholar’ Heather Mac Donald has been invited to speak at Claremont McKenna College,” states the protest’s Facebook page. “Join the action with students of color at the Claremont Colleges to shut her down!!”

A Facebook event titled, “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists” encourages students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’”

“Heather Mac Donald has been vocally against the Black Lives Matter movement and pro-police, both of which show her fascist ideologies and blatant anti-Blackness and white supremacy,” the Facebook page adds. “Let’s show CMC that having this speaker is an attack on marginalized communities both on campus and off. Together, we can hold CMC accountable and prevent Mac Donald from spewing her racist, anti-Black, capitalist, imperialist, fascist agenda.”

The protest organizers do not state specifically how they plan to “shut down” Mac Donald’s lecture, though they do urge students who attend to carry posters, wear black, and “Bring your comrades, because we’re shutting this down.”

Follow the Claremont Independent on Facebook for live coverage of the protests.

 

#BlackLivesMatter Makes Martyrs Out of Criminals

 

Not a month goes by without Black Lives Matter dubbing another Black American a martyr of the fight for Black equality. This month, their martyrs are Sylville K. Smith and Korryn Gaines: two armed, long-time criminals who resisted arrest. Smith, a man with a lengthy rap sheet, was pulled over at a traffic stop and fled his car while armed with a stolen gun in an area with poor police-civilian relations. Gaines was fatally shot two weeks ago after threatening to kill police officers who arrived at her house with a warrant for her arrest. Gaines pointed a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun at the responding officers who did not shoot her initially. Using her gun and her five-year old son as a human meat-shield, she presented enough of a threat to the police that a SWAT team was deployed to her house and ultimately shot and killed her.

Black social media, The Huffington Post, and other Leftist, Afrocentric news sources have spun these stories as evidence of White supremacy and “systemic racism.” Violent protests erupted Saturday night in Milwaukee, Smith’s hometown. The protesters destroyed businesses and targeted White people for beatings while chanting Black Lives Matter slogans. Black Lives Matter and its supporters have decided that any African-American shot by a cop or a White civilian—regardless of circumstance or just cause—is a martyr. Almost all of these “martyrs” have been just like Smith and Gaines: violent criminals who threatened an officer’s life.

Here are the unadulterated stories of BLM’s other heroes:

  • Bruce Kelley Jr., a man with a lengthy rap sheet, was drinking publicly with his father in a busway gazebo. When approached by police officers with a ticket for drinking in public, Kelley Jr. began to walk away and then, after being told to stop, rushed the officers. Attempts to tase Kelley Jr. failed because of his heavy coat. A K-9 unit then pursued Kelley Jr., who stabbed the dog as it grasped his arm. He was then shot and killed by a pursuing sergeant.
  • Meagan Hockaday, a domestically-abusive mother and the fiancée of the 911 caller, was shot after charging at the responding officer with a knife less than twenty seconds after he arrived at her apartment.
  • Charley Leundeu Keunang, a homeless, mentally-ill, illegal Cameroonian immigrant, threatened a 911 caller reporting a nearby robbery as soon as responding officers arrived. After ignoring commands and being increasingly aggressive—at one point, even reaching for an officer’s gun—Keunang fought with police and was shot and killed.
  • Ezell Ford, a mentally-ill man pursued by two police officers for erratic behavior, attacked an officer approaching him and attempted to reach for the officer’s gun while being subdued. The other officer shot Ford out of fear for his partner’s life.
  • Michael Brown, a young man who had just stolen cigarillos from a local store and threatened the store’s owner, was stopped by a responding officer who noticed that he and his friend fit the description of the suspect of the robbery. Brown rushed the officer, fighting for the officer’s gun, and was fatally shot.
  • Jonathan Ferrell, a man who crashed his car while drunk-driving, banged on the door of a stranger’s house. The homeowner called the police, and when they arrived, Ferrell charged at them. First, they used a taser to subdue him, but because it missed, the officers resorted to shooting him.

Those mentioned above had charged at the responding officers. Rushing police officers after their repeated attempts to subdue a subject with words, pepper spray, or a taser is a clear threat to their lives. In a news segment on Black Lives Matter protests, a Black Lives Matter activist himself underwent use-of-force training at a police academy. After he “shot” the subject in question in various scenarios, the activist explained that he “didn’t understand how important compliance was” and that his attitude on use of force had changed. Regarding compliance, the following Black Lives Matter martyrs either disregarded a police officer’s orders, resisted arrest and failed to submit to lawful commands, or fled from the scene of the crime or traffic stop.

  • Alton Sterling, a man previously convicted of violent offenses which left him unable to legally obtain, own, or carry a firearm, was the subject of a 911 call in which a homeless person reported that a man selling CDs had threatened him with a handgun. Sterling’s possession of the firearm and his non-compliance after repeated attempts by police to suppress him through various non-lethal means led to his death.
  • Jamar Clark, a man previously convicted of first-degree aggravated assault and awaiting trial for a high-speed chase arrest, was breaking up a fight between the host of a party and his ex-girlfriend who had obtained a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order against him. Clark pulled his ex-girlfriend away from prying eyes and battered her, prompting an onlooker to call for paramedics. Not only did Clark try to interfere with his ex-girlfriend being escorted to the ambulance, he attacked the police officer who tried to hold him back—which ultimately resulted in his death.
  • Freddie Gray, a man with many arrests and citations on his rap sheet, five of which were then active warrants, fled from police in a high-crime area in possession of an illegal switchblade. He sustained fatal injuries after a rough ride in the back of a Baltimore Police Department van, during which he was cuffed but not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Eric Courtney Harris was fatally shot by a reserve sheriff’s deputy while running from a sting operation to arrest him for drug- and arms-dealing. The deputy claimed that he had confused his taser for his gun.
  • Jeramie Reid, pulled over after running through a stop sign, moved around the car against the orders of the police officer after disclosing he had a gun in the glove compartment. After the officer retrieved the gun, Reid attempted to exit the vehicle without the prior instruction of the officer, but the officer kept the door closed, wary that Reid may have had a second weapon on him in the car. Again, without prior instruction, Reid attempted to exit the vehicle—this time after the officer had moved back—and as Reid exited the car, he was shot.
  • Tamir Rice, a young boy playing with an Airsoft pistol with the orange safety tip removed, pointed his toy gun at passersby and the police when they arrived. Not knowing it was fake, the police shot Rice.
  • Eric Garner, a man selling loose cigarettes without tax stamps, resisted arrest until the responding officer took him down and put him in a submission hold until he passed out. Garner was obese, and had asthma and heart disease, which contributed to his death.

Of those listed above, each of whom was shot by a White police officer—a demographic around which Black Lives Matter constructed much of their central narrative—the only cases in which the officers were not charged were those of Brown, Rice, Clark, Kelley Jr., and Sterling—all of whom were killed justifiably without evidence of misconduct. In the cases of Harris and Gray, the White officers were respectively charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree depraved-heart murder along with involuntary manslaughter.

While the majority of Black Lives Matter’s heroes were justly killed, there are some examples of clear-cut police misconduct. Yet, in each of these following instances—except in the case of Boyd’s shooter who was found not guilty due to an atypical directed verdict—each officer was placed on leave pending investigation, fired, sentenced to up to fifteen years in jail, and fired, respectively. Bland’s suicide would have been noticed sooner had the police either properly conducted their hourly rounds or put her on suicide watch; given her multiple past suicide attempts, it would have been protocol to check on her every fifteen minutes. Their failure to do so was indeed a policy violation, but there is no evidence that systemic racism is to blame for her death; both the state trooper and sheriff involved were fired.

  • Philando Castile, a man pulled over in a traffic stop, was killed by an officer after disclosing he was legally armed, and then moving his hands as one officer told him not to move while the other officer had told him to show his license and registration.
  • Corey Jones was killed by a plainclothes officer while waiting by his car after it had broken down. While doing burglary surveillance, the officer claimed that he was confronted by an armed subject—evidently Jones—but he gunned down Jones without probable cause.
  • Akai Gurley, a resident of one of the most dangerous housing developments in New York City, was accidentally shot by a rookie officer while patrolling his building.
  • Rekia Boyd, a young woman out with her friends, was shot at a distance by an off-duty detective who claims Boyd’s boyfriend’s cell phone appeared to be a gun.
  • Sandra Bland, an avid Black Lives Matter supporter with a history of suicide attempts and a lengthy rap sheet of misdemeanors, was found dead in her jail cell after she hanged herself with a bed sheet. She had been pulled over for failing to signal a lane change, but was ultimately arrested after assaulting an officer and resisting arrest at the traffic stop.

The following were all killed by civilians, so to use their deaths as evidence of racism in police conduct is nonsensical. McBride’s death, in particular, was likely avoidable and unnecessary, and a jury agreed with this sentiment, sentencing her shooter to seventeen to thirty-two years in prison. This punishment goes against the Black Lives Matter narrative that the justice system perpetuates systemic racism and fails to punish oppressors.

  • Renisha McBride, a young woman who drunkenly crashed her car in the middle of the night, banged on the door of a stranger’s house looking for help. The resident of the home thought McBride was breaking in and shot her with his shotgun.
  • Jordan Davis, a high schooler who started a verbal altercation with a civilian after refusing to turn down his music, reportedly pulled out a shotgun and was then shot by the person with whom he was arguing.
  • Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, hoodie-clad high schooler pursued by the community’s watchman through his gated community, attacked him after being provoked. After a violent struggle between the two, the Hispanic watchman—who claimed to be in fear for his life—stood his ground and shot Martin.

BLM celebrated each and every person here as a martyr, as if each individual contributed meaningfully to Black America and our fight for equality. But instead, we find that almost all of Black Lives Matter’s martyrs were mentally ill, prior criminals, the subject of a 911 call reporting a criminal act, or pursued by police for doing something illegal. These are not role models for our community. By glorifying the deaths of Black people who were killed under justifiable circumstances and failed to comply with lawful orders from police officers, Black Lives Matter is damaging the credibility of its argument against police brutality and doing a disservice to those seeking justice for actually unjust killings by police.

Black Lives Matter would have a much more compelling case if they were willing to concede that shootings by police can be—and often are—justified. Refocusing on issues at specific police departments—such as poor training (notably in the cases of Gurley and Harris) and bias due to the statistically disproportionate amount of crime committed by Black Americans—would give them more legitimacy and have more of an impact on the national discourse on crime, policing, and police brutality.

Image Source: Flickr

How #BlackLivesMatter Failed Black America

As a Black college student, I have felt immense pressure from other Black students to choose between joining the insular, single-minded Black community and being seen as a traitor. Being mixed-race has made it even more difficult, as both my Black identity and loyalty to my race are questioned when I express my views. I am quite openly proud to be Black, but I do not fit—and refuse to ever fit—into the mold built by the self-indulgent Black community here at the Claremont Colleges; I would rather be labeled a “shady person of color” or a “coon” by my Black peers than validate their insecurities and inaccurate opinions which have fostered such dysfunction and divisiveness within the Black community.

Black Lives Matter has been nothing short of a hindrance for Black people, especially those who do not subscribe to the fallacious narrative that America is a bastion of hostile White supremacy. In its constant bid for media attention, the group has blocked traffic on major highways, hijacked political rallies, disrupted college speakers, and, since last summer, have on a continuous basis preached anti-cop rhetoric. In the aftermath of the murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, members of the group broke into a police officer’s house and praised the Dallas police massacre.

Black Lives Matter’s statistical illiteracy, specious rephrasing of events to fit their melodramatic narrative, and constant screaming when they do not get their way not only depicts Black Lives Matter as a movement of emotion-driven ideologues, but also paints all Black people as less credible.

Black Lives Matter also reinforces White superiority. In fact, it thrives on it. The movement as a whole operates and feeds solely on garnering guilt and pity from White people, which plays directly into the false idea that Blacks are inferior to Whites. As Dr. Michael Hurd has said, “Pity is based on the premise: ‘Your vulnerability allows me an opportunity to be superior.’” Once Black Lives Matter “wins” and the inferiority complex it promotes is satisfied, we as a people will fall decades behind in the fight for cultural equality.

The Black Lives Matter movement vilifies and punishes potential allies who aren’t “doing enough” for their cause, rather than embracing a constructive discourse. They block White students from their events and refuse to listen to any student who disagrees with them on even the smallest details. Black Lives Matter has become a discriminatory organization which only serves to whip the Black community into a frenzy, and it is only a matter of time before students on campuses radicalize and hold violent demonstrations like those which destroyed Baltimore and Ferguson.

What little central organization Black Lives Matter maintains has embraced militancy and the dream of rebuilding the Black liberation movement—a movement which secured its place in history largely through the lengthy rap sheets of FBI most-wanted terrorists, cop killers, and professional rioters who served as its leaders. Prominent Black Lives Matter leaders support mob actors who loot as a form of activism, such as Joanne Chesimard—better known as Assata Shakur—who killed a state trooper and committed multiple robberies, who flaunted opinions entertaining race war, and who believed that violence was an acceptable means to a greater end.

Some have disregarded the actions of these Black Lives Matter supporters as unrepresentative of the movement at large. But with no meaningful effort within the movement to expunge violent actors from its ranks, the organization has become a safe harbor for incitement, murderous rhetoric, and what can only be described as domestic terrorism. In fact, as defined by the federal government, Black Lives Matter fits within the definition of a domestic terrorism group under all terms of Section 802 of the U.S. Patriot Act. Despite this, a petition posted on the White House website to recognize Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization was recently dismissed.

Advocates of the movement cannot pick and choose who they think represents Black Lives Matter; the organization has to claim responsibility for any and all actions taken under its name. In present day Black activism, Black Lives Matter members are responsible for not only the Dallas police shooting, but also for anti-police chants such as “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon!” and “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” These violent slogans aim to intimidate the public, discourage police officers from doing their jobs, and threaten those who might stand in the way of the Black Lives Matter movement.

If Black Lives Matter really wants to make a positive difference for Black lives, they have to start by addressing the realities they have chosen to ignore. Black men alone have made up 40% percent of all cop killers in the last decade despite comprising only 6% of the population. They are also eighteen-and-a-half times more likely to kill a cop than a cop is to kill them. According to FBI crime statistics, Black people (both juvenile and adult) commit 51% of America’s murders, nearly 30% of rapes, 56% of robberies, and 33% of aggravated assaults. Despite these high violent crime rates, Blacks make up only 26% of police shootings. Black Lives Matter loves to complain about the “disproportionate killing of Blacks,” but a recent study from Harvard University confirmed that police shootings have no racial bias.

Any good work that Black Lives Matter has done for the Black community is overshadowed by the movement’s promulgation of anti-police, anti-White, and sensationalist sentiments. Beyoncé, a number of the parents of those shot (such as those of Michael Brown), and even Barack Obama have been ignored as they called for peaceful protest. Black Lives Matter must begin renouncing their violent members and setting the course for a new era of harmony and trust between minority communities and our nation’s law enforcement.

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Image: Flickr

GWS Department: Racism Intersects with Heteronormativity

On Thursday, the Deans of the Claremont Colleges forwarded a statement signed by over forty faculty members expressing support for campus protesters to the student body. “As Gender Studies, Feminist, and Sexuality Studies faculty at the Claremont Colleges, we write in support of students of color who have been at the forefront of making their desires known this fall semester to the administrations of our communities,” the note begins. “The students have demonstrated success at refusing to be subjected further to difficult and unequal interactions in our classrooms, our dorms, and our student service centers, and they have taken action to change what is an unacceptable status quo at the colleges. We thank the students for bringing these issues to the surface for constructive discussion and concerted action.”

“The issues being raised are not new issues, and the sense of not being full and respected members of the college communities is not a new development,” the professors continue. “Our students have asked us as institutions to confront problems that are not limited to recent past events, and that will reoccur in the future if action is not taken this year to address them.”

“Racisms at the Claremont Colleges are not an isolated problem,” the email states. “Racisms also intersect with other issues that plague the Colleges and society more broadly: sexism, heteronormativity, class inequality, among others. Recent campus reports about pervasive issues of sexual assault, incidents of harassment of queer and trans students, and ongoing financial struggles for many working class and first generation students demonstrate the ways in which students of color work across these intersections.”

“We stand in support of those who no longer tolerate the structural inequalities, the overt and covert forms of violence, and the complicities with racism and other intersecting problems that plague our colleges and our society,” the statement continues. “We write to ask the administrative leadership at our consortium to take this opportunity to reflect seriously on the student demands, and to take action to address the issues raised by the students to ensure that the colleges move forward to reduce racism and to provide an educational environment for all students that is consonant with the complex diversity of our nation and our world.”

The faculty members state, “Administrative change at this juncture may take this opportunity as an opening of possible new directions and for building an educational environment where all students can thrive and where differences produce constructive emotional, intellectual, and social experiences on campus for all.”

The note closes by stating, “The students have mobilized, the faculty are mobilizing, and neither students nor faculty are going anywhere soon. So if administrative leadership does not take this opportunity to commit significant funds and other resources, time and energy, training and development to address the student concerns, then they may lose their credibility as educators. We ask you to act now to address the students’ concerns.”

Black Lives Matter: A Downward Spiral

In early August, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders arrived in Seattle to speak at a rally celebrating the 80th birthday of Social Security. Sanders was barely able to begin before two women climbed on stage, threatening to “shut the event down.” One of the protestors—both of whom are associated with the Black Lives Matter movement—repeatedly screamed “let her [the other protester] on the mic,” as the senator himself slipped quietly into the background. The rally’s organizer then addressed the crowd saying he would try to be reasonable and let the protesters speak after Senator Sanders. This enraged the protesters, who started shaking the podium, shoving the organizer, and screaming—unaware of the irony—“we are being reasonable!” The organizer was unwilling to endure any more abuse and ceded control of the microphone. The two protesters proceeded to call the crowd “white supremacist liberal[s]” and the city of Seattle racist. If you haven’t seen the video, it is on YouTube. Those of you who have been around toddlers throwing a tantrum will find the behavior of the protestors eerily familiar.

When working as a part of a grassroots movement like Black Lives Matter, there are certain things you cannot do if you want to be successful. The first of these things is basing your movement on—or defending it with—misleading or fabricated information. The second is alienating people, particularly those who are most likely to support you. The first is actually a subset of the second, but is important enough with respect to Black Lives Matter that it deserves to be touched on separately.  

The poster child for Black Lives Matter’s present incarnation was Michael Brown. However, when all of the facts pertaining to the case came to light, it became obvious that the shooting of Michael Brown was in self-defense. The movement’s rallying cry—“Hands up, don’t shoot!”—turned out to be a completely inaccurate representation of what actually happened in Ferguson last summer.

To the leaders of the movement, however, these facts were irrelevant. As more and more alleged murders of black civilians by white police officers became headlines, it seemed like just a matter of time before mitigating circumstances bubbled to the surface as well—sometimes supporting claims of police brutality but calling into question racism as a motivating factor, such as the case of Freddie Gray, where 3 of the 6 officers indicted in the case were black. This cast doubt onto the narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Those at the forefront of the movement also seem reluctant to mention that in the cases where the evidence actually supported police brutality—such as the cases of Walter Scott and Freddie Gray—the police were indicted on several serious charges, ranging from assault to manslaughter to murder. Instead, Black Lives Matter chooses to focus on the cases where the evidence is insufficient for indictment, touting them as evidence of the systematic murder of black people by white police officers.

Many people who were initially on the fence about Black Lives Matter were seriously turned against the movement after repeatedly seeing protestors claim one thing while the evidence showed the opposite. Though many in the movement seem to feel that the evidence doesn’t matter, the reality is that to most people who are undecided on the issue, it is of paramount importance. Black Lives Matter is turning its potential allies into its opposition by embellishing and sometimes blatantly fabricating its claims.

Bernie Sanders’ track record with regard to civil rights puts that of all the other candidates in the 2016 election—and, frankly, most of the protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter—to shame. He was an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality. He was arrested for his participation in protests against segregated campus housing as a student at the University of Chicago, and participated in the 1963 March on Washington. Say whatever you want about Bernie Sanders, but it is difficult to argue that he is anything but a sincere and devoted champion of civil rights for African-Americans.

Had the two protesters chosen to approach the event’s organizers (or Senator Sanders himself) in a respectful manner, it is clear from the video that the organizers would have been willing to let them speak. The crowd would almost certainly have been receptive to their message. After all, the circle of people who attend a speech by Bernie Sanders and the circle of people who would support the Black Lives Matter overlap quite a bit. Instead, by choosing to rudely interrupt Senator Sanders, verbally (as well as physically) assault the organizer of the event, and accuse the crowd of being racist, the two “activists” managed only to anger those who could have been their allies, as evidenced by the angry response of the crowd.

Moreover, their actions served to even further alienate those who were on the fence about their movement. When people see two young activists harassing and interrupting a—let’s be honest—fairly feeble looking old man, particularly when that old man has been fighting for the rights of African-Americans since before those protesters were born, it does nothing to win them over to the Black Lives Matter movement. It was, in essence, the worst public relations stunt the group could have planned.

Despite the fact that the actions of protesters such as those who interrupted Senator Sanders seem to suggest that making friends and drawing people into their movement is of little concern, this is a poor strategy for a grassroots movement to use. If Black Lives Matter is to be successful, it needs to evolve from a niche group into a serious, mainstream movement, and it must do so soon. Movements that are viewed as fringe and do nothing to incorporate themselves into the mainstream tend to fizzle out (e.g. Occupy Wall Street) with few successes to hang their hat on.

Articles like this one may be dismissed as “tone-policing” (especially when coming from an openly white person like myself) by those within the Black Lives Matter movement. However, it is at Black Lives Matter’s own peril that they ignore what their detractors say. Protesters like the ones who interrupted Senator Sanders certainly have a right to free speech, but they seem to be under the mistaken impression that they also have a right to be listened to. You cannot force people to hear what you have to say; if what you have to say is worth hearing, people will choose to listen. If they do not, perhaps you need to be honest with yourself about why that is. Though it may feel cathartic to shut people down and meet resistance and even questioning with anger—a strategy that suggests you are unable to adequately address criticism of your movement—it will make enemies of those on the fence and cause those who might have been your allies to think twice, ultimately driving your movement into the ground.

Image Source: Seattle Met