The following is a guest post by a friend of mine who is also a software engineer, but a different one than last time.
The Problems with Black Lives Matter
All over Facebook I’ve seen naïve Christians posting Black Lives Matter (BLM) material, hashtags, and even donation links. According to their official statements BLM aims to:
- “Disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure”
- Foster a “queer‐affirming network” and “freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking,” instead of helping people escape LGBT lifestyles and live as God intended.
- “A national defunding of police,” BLM is a member of M4BL which also calls for abolishing prisons.
- BLM parent group M4BL is pro-abortion: “we demand reproductive justice that gives us autonomy over our bodies and our identities.”
- BLM parent group M4BL is anti-capitalist. The alternative to capitalism is removing the freedom to buy and sell and putting the government in charge of resources. When government power is absolute, all checks and balances against evil disappear and atrocities become inevitable. I know of 100 million people who didn’t have a good time in anti-capitalist countries, especially minorities.
- BLM finds racism in everything with no concept of forgiveness. While masking the much larger and real causes of black inequality in the US. More on that below.
These goals don’t seem very Christian.
Some Christians say they only support the slogan “black lives matter” but not the organization. They’re probably friends with people who call themselves “National Socialists” and enjoy re-explaining to everyone they meet how it’s not actually the German kind. To each their own. Yet better slogans could be used to support black people.
Avoid the slackidasical “all lives matter” retort. That distracts from the real issues:
Black inequality in the US is real. But BLM promotes a false narrative, blaming it entirely on modern systemic racism. If that’s true, why are blacks 3 times more likely to receive government assistance than whites? Why are police are about twice as likely to use lethal force against whites under arrest than blacks (although more likely to use non-lethal force against blacks)?
Before getting to the real reasons let’s first dig into that last source. It comes from the left-leaning Center for Policing Equity. The wording in their report focuses on specific localities where the police are harsher on blacks. But the overall data tells a different story. In tables 6 and 7 on page 20, police are 1.73 times more likely to use lethal force against whites under arrest than blacks, and 2.41 times more likely to use lethal force against whites under arrest for violent offences. Black Lives Matter and the left-leaning media would never tell you this.
Don’t police just arrest blacks way more than whites? Yes, absolutely. You can even find stats showing unarmed blacks are 5 times more likely to be killed by police than unarmed whites, a product of being arrested much more frequently. But unfortunately (trigger warning) it’s because in the US, blacks commit significantly more crime:
I looked up the FBI data this meme links to, converted it to rates per million and got the same result. Non-lethal crimes have a similar proportion by race.
What are the Real Causes of Black Inequality?
Perhaps the court systems are racist and blacks are convicted of murder more often? One could speculate so, but murders involve more investigation than most crimes, and you’d have to argue the system is so biased it only makes it appear as if blacks are 12.8 times more likely to kill whites than whites kill blacks. Quite a stretch.
Use careful grace in sharing these stats, as they’re easily abused by the small number of people wishing to paint blacks as an unredeemable, inferior race. Instead consider the better explanations for black inequality:
- 2.7 times more black children (65%) grow up in single parent homes than white children (24%). 17% of blacks were born out of wedlock in 1940 but that number is >70% today. Other races also increased but not nearly as much. We know broken families are strongly correlated with poverty, poor education, crime, and many other ills.
- As noted, blacks are three times more likely to receive government assistance than whites, a number that’s changed very little in 40 years. If welfare programs lifted people out of poverty, by now shouldn’t we see more than a slight decrease in blacks on welfare? Rather I suspect welfare increases rates of fatherlessness: women don’t need a man when the government pays the bills.
- Universities, employers, the government, and the media use “soft racism,” giving special treatment to blacks, sometimes causing an unhealthy and unnecessary inferiority complex.
- Due to this persecution narrative, and fear of being called racist, poor behavior among blacks isn’t called out, worsening the broken family cycle. Even being used as an excuse for the poor behavior of the recent rioters. Black CNN journalist Don Lemon received a “firestorm of criticism” for pointing to out-of-wedlock births as a problem among blacks.
I’m curious. Will you argue that fatherlessness leads to negative outcomes among whites, but a 2.7x greater rate among blacks doesn’t significantly increase their negative outcomes? Really?
Perhaps it’s even possible that police target blacks more frequently because these issues actually do lead them to commit more crimes, causing some police to subconsciously be more suspect of blacks? I don’t know if that’s true, but if so who is at fault?
Is Racism Still a Major Issue?
Before continuing please read this piece by conservative commenter David French (white), who adopted his black daughter from Ethiopia. He describes how through many incidents it made him realize racism is still alive and well in America.
Meanwhile, the black economist Thomas Sowell offers a contrary view:
Who’s right? David French says he used to think there were almost no racists. I’m still in that place. I don’t know anyone who is racist other than one or two people I met on strange corners of the internet. After adopting his daughter French discovered that yes, of course racism still exists, outlining several real incidents of bias against her. For example his daughter’s friend said, “My dad says it’s dangerous to go black people’s neighborhoods.” Alt-right trolls even made a cruel meme of his young daughter in a gas chamber.
Such memes are of course reprehensible. But French uses the wrong benchmark. The real question is not if racism exists, but if blacks face greater external hardship than other groups? People who are too smart, dumb, fat, thin, short, tall, attractive, ugly, rich, poor, Christian, or amoral. Or any other category. Almost everyone belongs to at least one. French doesn’t address that question.
Compared to Christian Persecution in the US (Yes, Really)
I can’t answer for most of those groups. But I am a Christian. I’m very glad to live in the US with its many Christian freedoms. I don’t even feel comfortable talking about Christian “persecution” in the US because other parts of the world have it so much worse. Yet there are still examples of anti-Christian discrimination here:
- I know a Christian friend who was kicked out of her PhD biology program for being a creationist. An intelligent, articulate, and polite one at that. I used to think people like her must’ve just been belligerent, but I hear similar stories from nearly every creationist or intelligent design proponent I speak to. Many keep their beliefs hidden. Books and documentaries are filled with such stories. Well known professor and textbook author Larry Moran has even called for universities to flunk by default any students who believe in intelligent design: “Flunk the IDiots.” Forbes later wrote a glowing bio of Moran for his stance. Imagine the outrage if Moran called to flunk all black students!
- In 2016, hapless Chinese scientists published a paper in the journal PLOS One, stating that the human hand shows “proper design by the Creator.” The remark was in passing and the rest of their paper had nothing to do with the evolution or design. As soon as this was realized, I watched as the backlash unfolded in the comments section. Five editors of PLOS One requested the whole article to be retracted (rather than the wording removed), two of those editors said they’d resign if it wasn’t retracted. Two others said the editor who approved the paper should be fired. And five scientists commented, saying they’d boycott PLOS One. Then the paper was retracted. Even though the Chinese researches explained they only meant to say “mother nature,” and English wasn’t their first language. No other issue with their research was found. That backlash was only for a translation issue. Imagine if they’d been Christians who actually believed God designed life.
- Practicing Christians are no longer allowed to hold certain jobs in the United States. A county clerk like Kim Davis cannot in good conscious abet two people into a lifelong commitment to live in sin, yet was jailed for refusing. California once banned all judges who volunteered with the Boy Scouts because the group previously required heterosexual scout leaders.
- Many friends often tell me they can’t publicly speak out against homosexual behavior in fear of losing their jobs. I doubt their employers have issue with vegetarians saying meat is murder.
- And of course secularists make memes, sometimes violent, mocking Christians all the time. So what.
Imagine if I took the crime stats above and marched around with signs about “white genocide” or “systemic racism” because blacks are more likely to get welfare or whites more likely to be shot while under arrest. That’d make me a complete narcissistic jerk. Or worse if I used it to justify arson, looting, and violence. Yet I’d still be more correct than Black Lives Matter because at least the data supports me.
I don’t think there’s anything special about hardships faced by US Christians. You could make a similarly troublesome list for hardships of unattractive and overweight people, probably worse. I’m not planning any protests for them or for US anti-Christian discrimination. That’s too minor compared to many greater injustices in the world. And please don’t take this and claim I’ve said racism no longer exists. The experiences of David French’s daughter are bad things that need to stop. But unlike in decades past, I’m not convinced it’s currently any worse than hardships faced by any number of other classes of people for a wide variety of reasons.
The Media Amplifies Racism for Profit
A couple weeks ago I posted to Facebook about Israel planning to ban their only Christian news station for proselytizing. Two friends commented that it was a great idea, because Christians indoctrinate people. I get similar comments often. Oh woe is me! But imagine if they’d instead called for banning black history? Call CNN! We found another Amy Cooper!
Although sometimes doing well, George Floyd had a long and sometimes violent criminal record. Nobody thinks he deserved to die. I’m glad the officers involved are being investigated. But put his case in perspective. People do awful things for many reasons. In the United States each year we have:
- 600,000+ abortions
- 250,000 deaths from negligent medical errors
- 15,000 murders
- 1,500 dead from child abuse.
- 1,000 suspects killed by police (with 90 to 95% attacking police or another person). Among a total police force of more than 800,000.
- 85 police officers killed.
Despite all that, the deceptive media amplifies any incident with a white perpetrator and black victim. Everyone knows about George Floyd, but few have heard of Tony Timpa (white), who in 2016 also begged for his life as police suffocated and made fun of him. The media gets away with this bias because almost everyone actually does hate racism, leading to collective outrage. So much that it brings riots, looting, and buildings on fire. Plus news media profit from increased news viewership of these riots. While the media ignores many greater injustices in the previous list.
The leftist media then uses Black Lives Matter as a front to push ridiculous leftist policies like defunding the police. Oh you’re against BLM? Racist.
Black inequality in America is real. If you love people of all races as Christ commands, then you should want to solve this problem. That can only be done if we tackle the real causes, and not the left-leaning media’s exaggerated racism narrative that masks them.