It has become, unfortunately, quite undeniable that the Black Lives Matter movement is now a tremendous political force influencing all facets of American life. Although still in its infancy, the movement’s clout is astounding.
No public figure or major corporation can offer mild criticism of the BLM movement without suffering significant backlash. Every day, a growing litany of influential brands pledge unwavering support. The approval also appears to transcend class and race, since approximately two-thirds of American adults endorse the movement, with 38 percent expressing they fervently support it. Truly, the almost universal acceptance of the BLM movement is stunning.
Intuitively, reasonable people oppose indiscriminate killings of black men by the police as well as all forms of racism. So, naturally, a movement purporting to protect black Americans from a combination of institutional violence and oppression has a certain level of “built-in” appeal.
An important distinction must be made, however, between the broader BLM movement and the BLM organization, for the BLM organization’s philosophical roots go far deeper than opposition to extrajudicial killings. The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown only provided the springboard to launch a more radical agenda aimed at fundamentally transforming American society.
Despite the potency of their voices, there is insufficient evidence to bolster activists’ claim that systemic racism permeates law enforcement. On the contrary, data show that racial disparities in incarceration are attributed to differential involvement in crime. As a result, black Americans are imprisoned because they are the primary perpetrators of violent crimes. Because of the lack of substantive evidence to support the ide that America is dripping with the poison of systemic racism, activists use singular anecdotes of police brutality as a pretext for a larger philosophical campaign.
Never Forget the BLM Organization Is Run By Marxists
Since the BLM organization’s leaders admit they are trained Marxists, they must be understood within the wider patina of Marxist diatribes against the nuclear family, capitalism, and by extension the idea of progress. The official webpage of the BLM organization spells it out quite clearly:
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.
Those unfamiliar with Marxism may be puzzled at this seemingly random opposition to the nuclear family. Deeper introspection, however, reveals that the BLM organization’s outlook is quite consistent with Marxism.
Marxists view the living arrangement of the “extended family” as more conducive to fostering collectivism, since it requires conformity to successfully facilitate production. On the other hand, the traditional, two-parent nuclear family is depicted as an insidious invention of capitalism, responsible for displacing the communalism of the extended family.
Yet, contrary to BLM’s insitence, the “extended family” cannot substitute for the traditional family. Writing in The Atlantic, leading scholars W. Bradford Wilcox and Hal Boyd make a compelling case for the superiority of the nuclear family over alternatives: “Americans should not presume that society can successfully replace families headed by married parents with models oriented more around kith and kin.” Similarly, Sara McLanahan of Princeton University and Gary Sandefur of the University of Wisconsin found the average child raised by a “mother and grandmother is doing about the same as the average child raised by a single mother.”
In the absence of both parents, children raised by their extended kin, such as an aunt or uncle, are significantly more likely to have, in the words of one study, “higher levels of internalizing problems” including loneliness and sadness when compared to those raised by married parents. Another established finding in sociological research is that fathers play a pivotal role in children’s development.
Yet as a product of identity politics, supporters of BLM believe that Western society, especially America, is inherently sexist, racist, corrupt, and undergirded by nefarious men interested in exerting authority over other groups. Because of this framework, any family type BLM supports must be intrinsically hostile to men, since apparently, they are the cause of all oppression.
BLM Activists Have an Anti-Capitalist Agenda
According to the flawed ideology of the wider BLM movement, American institutions that operate under capitalism are wired to naturally and systematically oppress blacks. Furthermore, BLM claims women experience a greater burden due to their race and sex. But like most assertions from BLM, it is patently untrue.
For example, one reports notes, “black women outperform their white counterparts in terms of individual earnings.” Additional research suggests black men are also succeeding in America, with 57 percent of them occupying middle-class status or higher, up from 38 percent in 1960.
By most accounts, black Americans are thriving in a capitalist system. Nevertheless, BLM activists remain unconvinced. Anti-capitalist sentiments are stated quite lucidly on the website of another group called the “Movement for Black Lives.” They proclaim, “We believe and understand that Black people will never achieve liberation under the current global racialized capitalist system.”
This assumption lacks factual data. In his influential 1964 work, The Economics of the Colour Bar, William Hutt describes the positive effects of capitalism on black people in Africa:
It is difficult to imagine a better illustration than is provided by South Africa of the truth that the fight against color injustice is actually against the consequences of planning on the collectivist model. Every repression of the Africans has, at the same time, been the repression of the free market. … It is profit incentives which have tended powerfully to raise the material standard of Africans … to raise their status and prestige in a multi-racial society, and ultimately to win for them equality of respect and consideration.
More recent findings have corroborated Hutt’s argument. Economist Marian Tupy writes, “Increasing wealth has led to improvements in key indicators of human wellbeing. In 1999, 58 percent of Africans lived on less than $1.90 per person per day. By 2011, 44 percent of Africans lived on that income.” It is free markets — not central planning, or any variant of Marxist economics — that explain the prosperity of black people across the globe.
Despite the broader BLM movement being wrong on several fronts, some reforms do merit consideration. Zoning regulations, for example, have a disparate impact on poorer people and black Americans. Richard D Kahlenberg explains the racist roots of zoning:
Single-family zoning policies have always had a disturbing origin. In 1917, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down policies that explicitly zoned separate residential areas for blacks and whites, many local governments shifted to a new form of exclusionary zoning: policies that made it illegal to build anything other than single-family homes. These policies delivered many of the same results, by a different means—they kept out most black people, and virtually all low-income people.
Quite tellingly, however, the vast majority of BLM activists have remained silent on the issue. This should not be surprising. The BLM organization, in particular, is a revolutionary group not genuinely concerned with reform. So utopian BLM activists instead propose a society without any imperfections.
Of the many problems with this philosophy is that advocates of utopianism almost always end up resorting to deadly force to achieve their ends. Since the desires of the more radical BLM activists are insatiable, such an insurrectionary movement will always demand more extreme policies than those just passed.
Regardless of their politics, Americans must resist the most strident voices of BLM by not allowing the cult of political correctness to silence their voices. The brutality of communist regimes and the French Revolution evidence what is possible when defenders of civility and freedom remain silent. To preserve the republic, Americans must challenge the dangerous aspects of the BLM movement, lest they follow the same fate.