Long-time readers of my blogs realize that lately I have refrained from writing about controversial political issues. The reason is that my experience has been that regardless of the topic or my opinion on it I have found that I end up offending some of you. Consequently, I have been blogging on “feel-good” stories, historical pieces, quizzes, humor or sports. However, this blog on the “Black Lives Matter” Movement will be an exception. To paraphrase the late Lesley Gore: “It’s my blog, and I can write what I want to.”
The BLM Movement has been gaining traction. Many supporters, not just blacks, but other liberal-minded people as well, have expressed the opinion that the police routinely target blacks. Others feel just as strongly that the aforementioned opinion is based on a false narrative. They say the overwhelming majority of police are just trying to do a difficult job as best they can and that in very few of the police-on-black incidents have the police been at fault. I have been following this issue closely for many months as I’m sure many of you have, and my opinion is as follows:
- The overwhelming majority of police do not target blacks. They are just trying to do their jobs as well as they can and go home to their families at the end of the day. Yes, there are some bad cops, just like there are bad accountants, plumbers, and politicians. But, it is ludicrous to think that the typical policeman goes to work with the attitude: “I’m going to kill me a black or Hispanic today.”
- The press and politicians have inflamed the situation. For example, whenever there has been an incident of police versus a black person the press has covered it extensively, both on television and in print. Fair enough, but I don’t believe the coverage has been fair and balanced. For example, in the Ferguson incident most of the press had prejudged that Officer Wilson was guilty. “Hands up, don’t shoot” became the famous mantra that still resonates. However, when the local and Federal investigations, including the one by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, exonerated Wilson and debunked the story that Mr. Brown had ever even raised his hands, the press coverage was scant and the politicians were nowhere to be seen.
- Furthermore, the press underreported the extensive, massive looting in Ferguson. Businesses, most of them, minority-owned, were destroyed. Looters, most of them outsiders, merely used the protests as an excuse to steal, destroy and even murder.
- Many politicians, from the President on down to local officials, and even those now running for President took partisan positions that were not always based on fact, but rather were designed to appeal to their political supporters.
- Black leaders, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have also inflamed the situation with their rhetoric and prejudgment.
- Most egregious of all have been the protest marches in which people chanted inflammatory anti-police statements such as “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now” and the descriptive “Pigs in a blanket.” One could argue that the recent cop assassinations were a direct result of their actions.
The rhetoric on both sides has become overwhelmingly strident, and neither side has been in a mood to listen to the other. I would like to believe that the protest marchers, slogan-chanters, and looters represent a very small minority. They are just the ones getting the press coverage, which goes back to my earlier point. Furthermore, they are part of the problem, not the solution, because their actions, rather than garnering support, appall most Americans.
The only way we have a chance of resolving this issue is if we discuss it calmly and rationally. To paraphrase the late Vice President, Spiro Agnew, I believe there is a “silent majority” with respect to this issue that wants a peaceful resolution.
No one wants even to talk about the major underlying issues.
- The deterioration of the family structure in minority families. Approximately, 74% of blacks are born out-of-wedlock. It has been proven that a child, any child, in a single parent household has a significantly lesser chance at success in life. Typically, a single mother has to devote all her energy to earning a living wage; she has scant time and energy to address raising her children. Thus, the cycle of poverty and violence is perpetuated from generation to generation.
- Children of single parents are more likely to drop out of school and fall under the influence of the streets. Again, it has been proven that lack of a good education is the biggest single indicator of economic success or failure in life. We all know the inevitable results of hanging out in the streets – death, prison or poverty.
- The overwhelming percentage of crime in the cities is black on black. Therefore, the supreme irony is that the same cops that are being vilified are actually protecting law-abiding blacks.
If Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today he would be appalled at the violence surrounding this issue. He was a great leader because he was able to address and resolve issues without violence. He was able to convince others that violence does not solve the problem; it exacerbates it by hardening the positions on both sides and it impedes progress.
I would welcome your comments on this issue. As I said, I know there are strong feelings and emotions on both sides. In particular, I would welcome comments from readers who reside outside the US. What do you think of us when you see the strident rhetoric and violence?