Black Lives Matter AND…

I have a unique background that few other white LDS members have. I lived in the deep South for 17 years, assigned during most of that time in stake and ward missionary callings. I was instrumental in beginning the work among African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama 30 years ago. With two full time missionaries, I opened the work in Tuskegee, and was their group leader until a branch was established. One of my greatest honors was being “adopted” as an honorary black brother to my dear deceased friend, Renee Olsen, who said I was among a few white Mormons that understood the black world (Margaret Blair Young being the foeremost expert in this area, IMO).

Still, I realize I do not carry the burden placed upon blacks by even well meaning whites of all religions and political views. Yes, even white Democrats do not understand and many of their words and actions harm more than help. When asked if Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders responded by saying “all lives matter”.

The problem is, for blacks, this is comparing apples to oranges. They are equivalent.

All Lives Matter means we should care and help all people, regardless of what class or caste they are placed in by nature and society.

However, Black Lives Matter is different. Unlike whites and many others, racial prejudice still lives on. Separate water fountains happened in the recent past, which was experienced by many older blacks we know. Today, most whites do not think that racism still happens. It does. More blacks are stopped by police than whites. Blacks, though a minority population, take up almost half of prison beds. Government ‘helps’ the poor (mostly blacks), by giving women welfare only if there is no man in the home. Teachers give up on black kids quicker than white kids. Even the Academy Awards demonstrated racist tendencies by giving no nominations to blacks this year.

If you were walking down a dark street, what would be your initial response if some young black men were to walk towards you? Would you feel the same if it were some white boys?

Black Lives Matter should not be compared to All Lives Matter. Both are valid statements, but mean different things. It is best if we do not insist on one over the other. They are both important, with different connotations. Black Lives Matter AND All Lives Matter.

We need to care for all people, from the womb to the deathbed. This is what Christ would have us do. But we also need to look at blacks as our brothers and sisters, treat them with dignity, and help lift them out of the tragic poverty and dependency that we have placed them in.

31 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter AND…

  1. All true but it’s hard to stomach the phrase due to its being used by ppl in order to incite hatred toward whites until guilt ridden, they bow to the likes of the fraud Barack Obama and his ilk.

  2. The biggest problem here is the idea that, on the subject of racism, minorities are especially qualified for wisdom while the majority must be basically ignorant. THAT’S racist. Is every minority perception of racism automatically accurate? Plenty of white people know it’s not, but nothing in the media or other discourse acknowledges this.

    How is a larger percentage of black people than white people in jail de facto evidence of racism? Aren’t there other, valid, non-racist explanations that have yet to be heard and investigated? How is the lack of black nominations for Oscars this year also de facto evidence of racism? Aren’t such knee-jerk accusations indicative of lazy observations, and self-serving, indulgent mindsets?

    “If you were walking down a dark street, what would be your initial response if some young black men were to walk towards you? Would you feel the same if it were some white boys?”

    Let’s ask Jesse Jackson; and here’s his answer: “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery — then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/12/opinion/in-america-a-sea-change-on-crime.html

    Ultimately, continuing to harangue white people about racism will only exacerbate the problem. But most of us have realized that that’s exactly what the professional race hustlers want.

  3. @r – I suppose you are aware, although perhaps do not accept, that all the phenomena you mention have solid and plausible empirical explanations that do not involve prejudice at all.

    This does not seem the place to go into it – but in summary it is simply factually incorrect to cite differences in outcome between groups as evidence of being caused by prejudice against those groups.

    The *actual* direction of effective net prejudice here and now in the US and the West generally (and indeed since the late 1960s) is, or should be, blatantly clear from the frequent witch-hunts against those who break the taboo.

    I personally know of many people, including colleagues and friends, who have experienced severe mass media/ government/ officialdom/ employer sanctions for breaking politically correct taboos on this subject – or even merely for being falsely accused of breaking such taboos.

    Indeed, this is such an obvious and pervasive fact of modern life, enshrined in numerous laws and rules of employment, as well as by wholesale propaganda both expliciit and indirect, that it is astonishing that the opposite is so generally asserted – but then that is exactly the point.

    We know who is truly powerful by who can be criticized, and who cannot. Anyone (and I mean anyone – nobody is exempt, not even the most powerful) who empirically refuted your assertions in the public domain would be vulnerable to extreme sanctions.

  4. My experience in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that all members, black and white, male and female, rich and poor and so on, are treated as brothers and sisters, and with dignity, and so forth. Sure, some societal trends affect us, as all groups, but speaking just for the Church influence and Church setting, I appreciate the sense of brotherhood among Church members. I was born and raised in the southern U.S., so I know what racism looks like — I don’t see it in the Church.

  5. You’re right; we can acknowledge that all lives matter while still focusing on the unique problems faced by the black American community. Much like we acknowledge that the wealthy have problems as well as the poor, but we focus our attention on poverty because it is more acute. This is a great post. Thanks for putting it together.

  6. Keith, unfortunately all correct movements are threatened by those who seek to co-opt them. Arab Spring was a great idea, until moderates gave way to ISIS and other radicals, for example. Still, Black Lives DO Matter.

    Huston, racism is rarely noted by the oppressor, only the oppressed. Southern slave owners were convinced slavery was biblical, and they had the right and responsibility to whip their slaves, whom they considered lazy and stupid. In the era of Jim Crow, racism was more apparent than today, though most whites did not consider themselves to be racist back then. In Montgomery in the 1990s, I dealt with members who would not home/visit teach blacks, did not want blacks teaching Primary, etc., while maintaining they were not racist.
    Yes, there are race hustlers. However, they have power, because racism actually is prevalent even now in our society. BTW, most blacks in prison are there for drug related crimes (many of them victimless crimes), where their drugs of choice are often given stiffer penalties. For example, when Crack cocaine was a big thing, most states had sentences twice as long for crack as for regular cocaine (used more by whites). Whites in government created a welfare system that has destroyed the family structure amongst many blacks, creating the current violent culture they grow up in.
    So, yes, there is some duplicity by Jesse Jackson and others in regards to this. But it is a real phenomenon that too many whites explain away as hyperbole by race hustlers. Don’t be one of them.

    Bruce, again you speak of the powerful race hustlers who bait and push whites into a corner. That is not what I speak about. I am speaking about true racism, which still exists. There are racists among Democrats, as well as Republicans. George Wallace went from radical racist to closet racist, beloved by blacks, by setting up a welfare system that kept most blacks in poverty, while making them think he was doing them a favor. Lyndon Johnson’s welfare system follows much of that same pattern – keep them poor and struggling, so they have an endless constituency to vote for them. But the racism still lingers in real ways, and is supported by most whites through legislation, etc.

    JI, racism is on the decline within the Church in many places. But it is still there among many of the rank and file members. For Montgomery, it took us 15 years to overcome most of the racism in the stake, with some holdouts in a couple branches on the outskirts of the stake.

    However, our treatment of blacks outside of the Church, often continues to show streaks of racism.

  7. I’m glad most racism has been overcome in your stake. That’s good news.

    When you write of “our treatment of blacks outside of the Church,” I wonder whom you mean with “our”? Latter-day Saints? Do Latter-day Saints mistreat black persons outside the Church?

  8. JI, that we do not understand the problem correctly (shown by trying to make ALM equivalent to BLM), means we use wrong methods to fix the problems, or we deny they exist. Do black people have a responsibility toward resolving the problem? Of course. But it is complicated by where we have put them socially and economically.

    For example, in Montgomery, I sat in many ward and stake councils, where white members asked why the new black members could not pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. This ignores the history of whites placing them in projects, destroying the family with a father in the home and poor education. We expected them to automatically rise up on their own and know leadership, be scholars, and know the whole gospel overnight. These are issues that change over a couple generations as missionaries that go to new areas in third world nations have learned A person who cannot read, cannot study leadership, scriptures, or church manuals.
    With the 2nd generation of black members in Montgomery coming in, we see more literacy and leadership capability. However, poverty and culture and racism still slow down the progress.

  9. …where we have put them socially and economically…

    I’m still wondering who is “we”? Did you and others do something you shouldn’t have?

    By the way, I agree that Black Lives Matter. I understand the reason for the emphasis.

    However, I don’t understand the hand-wringing about all the wrongs you and others (the “we” you speak of) have done — bringing smallpox to the Americas, taking land from the Indians, owning slaves, taking California from Mexico, dropping the bomb on Japan, and so forth. You need not be ashamed of the past — no guilt adheres to you (at least, I don’t think so, see Ezekiel 18:20). As for those to whom guilt might adhere, if you hold them in judgment, I hope you will forgive them.

    I am glad that all persons of all backgrounds, who accept the wonderful message of the gospel, are welcome in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We all benefit from these associations.

  10. “If you were walking down a dark street, what would be your initial response if some young black men were to walk towards you? Would you feel the same if it were some white boys?”

    Statistics released by the black-led (Eric Holder at the time) Department of Justice show that blacks commit a *disproportionately large share* of the crime in the country. An initial response of fear is actually a rational response based on objective facts, not racism.

    I understand what you’re trying to convey with your essay — we should love black people, care for them, stop being racist, etc. — and I actually agree with that sentiment. However, you are actually employing critical race theory in order to make your point, and I utterly reject that flawed and divisive ploy.

    For what it’s worth, I grew up in the Deep South, have lived here for 34 of my almost 39 years. I’ve seen racist attitudes decline. The trend lines have been moving in the right direction for as long as I can remember. Black Lives Matter is essentially based on a lie, the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” fabrication that has been totally debunked.

    This is not to say that the black community does not face problems and challenges, and that they are not worthy of our love, compassion, and respect. They absolutely are. But I can’t take certain political machinations and movements seriously when they are based on fraud, lies, and misrepresentations in order to gain political and economic advantage.

    I’ll fight for a black person’s rights to the death. But I’m not going to play political games based on skin color.

  11. Well said, Michael Towns.

    Given that the proximate cause of Black Lives Matter was the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, it is easy to conclude that BLM is philosophically rooted in the proposition that non-black law enforcement officers, neighborhood watchmen, and shopkeepers who identify suspicious behavior in blacks–and monitor them accordingly–deserve to be beaten within an inch of their lives without resorting to defensive force.

    It is not racist for non-blacks to be leery of a movement that justifies–and has sometimes encouraged–race-based violence.

  12. “Black Lives Matter” has honestly turned into an extremely negative and polarizing mantra. Regardless of why/how it started, that is the simple truth now. Since our country has indeed had blatant racism in it’s recent past, it is probably wise to “check” ourselves and our thoughts in regard to this. Like you say, it may have unintentionally seeped into our subconscious, even if we sincerely believe we are not racist. I have to question, though, what is our end goal? Are we trying to get revenge for past racism or make it right? My high school aged daughter has been told at school that she cannot be a feminist because there is no such thing as a white feminist and she has no right to an opinion because of what her ancestors did to colored ancestors. While that may seem well-justified to some, “two wrongs don’t make a right”, as my parents used to say. While it won’t immediately solve the problem (what will?), it seems that the less of an issue we make of a person’s skin color, the sooner it won’t be an issue.

  13. I was a young adult when feminism first hit the scenes in the early ’60s. Racism and sexism are not equivalent but analogies can be drawn between the two and the remedies presented by progressives that only make things worse.
    In my youth a man who couldn’t support his wife and children was considered a failure. Feminism changed that. Now women are likely to bear the full burden of raising children and providing for them. Abortion was generally illegal and spoken of in whispers. Now it is the crown jewel of feminism and I am forced to pay taxes that fund this abomination which is a crime against both nature and nurture.
    Many consider a stay home mother a luxury and large families are regarded as nearly mythological.
    Women have been liberated into cruel servitude. A recent survey of abortion indicated that most women abort their children for the convenience of others, including employers, relatives and spouses.
    The black family survived slavery in spite of all the slaveowners could do to separate families. It nearly succumbed in the past century to those like George Wallace and Lyndon Johnson who created incentives for fathers to leave the home. Statistics show that boys who grow up in homes without fathers are more likely to exhibit criminal behavior. This is true across cultures.
    The destruction of the black family through progressive policies is probably the chief cause of most of the problems addressed by movements like Black Lives Matter. It is telling that this presidential election cycle has included several nonwhite candidates but they are conservatives.
    I am not disputing that black people in America have burdens arising from racism, but most of the problems have been exacerbated by policies that weaken mores and morals.
    I grew up virtually colorblind in Utah because there were very few blacks in my community. I was first exposed to racism when I began to date Chinese students at BYU. I learned from my children that racism against Orientals is alive and real. In the recent fuss about lack of black Oscar nominees there were virtually no Oriental or Latin American candidates.
    Few historians and bloggers remember that the English often chose to solve the Irish Question by enslaving and exporting the troublesome population. The unfortunate slaves fed to lions to entertain the Romans were mostly northern Europeans.
    As individuals we must extend our charity to all, not because our race or sex makes us feel guilty, but because they are our fellow children of God.

  14. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” implies a judgement that our society doesn’t think they matter. But most people DO think they matter and many of us resent having the phrase used to agitate for pro-active governmental change which is fundamentally contrary to the libertarian and conservative philosophy popular at M*. I think there is a place for pro-active government policy that addresses inequalities, but I think we should recognise that these policies will not solve the fundamental problems that the black community faces.

    I think Obama has been very clear on the core of the problem, which is that blacks themselves sometimes don’t feel that Black Lives Matter, particularly black fathers who don’t think their children matter enough to care for them. Cultures of failure are fostered in families where commitment to education is sometimes trashed as “behaving white.” It takes enormous spirit for a child to swim upstream in this kind of culture, and few make it. I think that things like affirmative action, and less harsh sentencing can lend a helping hand, but ultimately, blacks themselves need to believe that Black Lives Matter, that their children are just as capable and deserving of getting higher education and having success.

  15. As a fine example of the very issue some of the commenters have raised, you defended your position by citing disproportionate sentences between the drugs of choice of whites and the drugs of choice of blacks. You considered this evidence of racism.

    It may seem like it at first glance, but it isn’t. In this example, crack had a disproportionate sentence because of the demands of the blank community (and particularly the Congressional Black Caucus), who saw crack as a scourge on the black community and the lower sentences as evidence of racism (considering the more addictive nature of the drug).

    So the same sentence for crack and cocaine is racist. But giving in to demands to make the sentence for crack greater is also racist (once a few years have passed and people forget history). Citing false examples like this to people aware of history is counterproductive.

    Yes there is racism, and it is a problem. But the focus on racism is doing nothing to help blacks and quite a bit to hurt both them and the truth.

  16. That the issue has been co-opted by some loud voices is undisputed. I do not have guilt for our nation’s past sins (though we need to learn from those things).
    I see people say they care, but two problems.

    Democrats wish to regulate and spend, which has only deepened the poverty problems, and Republicans want to get rid of the problem by using incarceration. Similar to our attitudes toward the war on terror.

    As a libertarian, I believe we should work with the goal of eventual self reliance of blacks. Actively give them the tools to stay out of prison and off the welfare roles. Now, we only create policies that lead them to poverty, crime and prison. That is one of our current forms of subtle racism… Imprison them, so we do not have to fix what society has created.

  17. @rameumpton
    Law enforcement laying off infractions is currently resulting in murder and other crimes climbing in black urban communities.

    I have a tool for people to stay out of prison: don’t break the law (works for all races).
    I have a tool for people to stay off welfare: get married before having children, educate yourself, and work (works for all races).
    I am not responsible for other people’s bad choices, and I think the subtle racism is the soft bigotry of low expectations: that black people uniquely need external help to not commit crimes and not have illegitimate children. Are they not each individually responsible?

    I live in the Asia-town part of Las Vegas, and my next-door neighbors are black Americans. They are naturalized citizens from Ethiopia. They laugh at Black Lives Matter. It is mainly a cultural problem (descending from southern blacks adopting attitudes and behavior of Irish and Scot immigrants… see “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” by Thomas Sowell). Black Americans that eschew bad behavior and attitudes can succeed and live just as well as any other American.

    Racism exists, but it is the adoption of certain aspects of cultural behavior and attitudes that are the main problem, not structural racism, nor white oppression.

  18. Seems there have been some somewhat difficult questions raised that the author has declined to answer here. They are difficult for this line of thought and advocacy, sure, but need not be ignored.

  19. “If you were walking down a dark street, what would be your initial response if some young black men were to walk towards you? Would you feel the same if it were some white boys?”

    If you would be more comfortable being approached on a dark street by a group of women rather than a group of men, does that make you a sexist?

    That said, being stereotyped based on the color of your skin, frankly, sucks. But I think any movement today that fixates on skin color does more harm than good. Skin color doesn’t matter. That’s the message I hope more people will embrace.

  20. There are no easy solutions. Some responses show that many whites just do not get it. Imagine if you were raised with the concepts that you cannot succeed, that men do not belong in the home, that school cannot help you, crime is the only way out of the ghetto, and whites hate you. Regardless of whether these things are true or not, ignorance and Big Brother-like guidance have created a multi a generational world view that is now self-sustaining. It is self-harming, but it is all many poor blacks know. Imprisoning them only reinforces that perception. Africans, such as Ethiopians, who never have suffered such oppression from society cannot understand.
    Blacks were independent and strong after the Civil War. But Republicans sold out blacks for votes, and turned them over to the Democrats, who bribed them to accept their current situation. The decay in their lives is reinforced as both parties keep them in ghettos, with teenage single moms running homes by themselves. Ignorance keeps them trapped there.
    Again, I hear people refusing to accept that we are responsible. We keep voting in people, who make laws that keep them down.

    Libertarians will tell you that the war on terror, esp in Iraq, is our own fault. We are a war loving people. We are responsible for electing war mongers and pushing forward the military industrial machine that Pres Eisenhower warned us about.

    The same holds true with our war on blacks.

  21. I don’t understand, who exactly is at war with blacks? You keep accusing people of awful things who have different opinions than you. I’m sure you have perfectly fine reasons for your views, but that doesn’t make them better than others. You come off as condescending and patronizing when you call people names no matter how politely you may try to do it. In the end, this tactic just divides people into camps rather than creating useful dialogue.

  22. I am not trying to call people evil or awful. George Washington was a slaveholder, but I do not see him as evil. He was a product of his times. So are we. That is, until we learn to see things in a new way. We can then seek new and better solutions.

    My initial post was to explain that both black and all lives matter, but for different reasons. That some focused on one point and took offense shows it is a sensitive and uncomfortable situation. Yet it is still the elephant in the room. Many blacks use it to justify hating and mistrusting whites, while many whites use it for their own purposes, often denying society’s role in creating this mess.

    King Benjamin noted we should not turn away the poor, simply because we believe they got what they deserved or earned. We walk on the other side of the street to avoid the beggar. So it is with many of us today. I say ‘us’, because I have no doubt it often includes me.

  23. There is obviously a problem. I am not sure who is to blame. I think it may be true that some of the “entitlement” and welfare policies we have put in over the years may be partly to blame. However, the effects of these policies are also seen in other ethnicities and races.
    In my mind, I just can’t get over the fact that the more we talk about it in terms of “race”, the more divisive it is. No one can really change their skin color. Let’s talk more about things we can change. If we continue to talk of everything in terms of things we can’t change (such as skin color and ethnicity), doesn’t that just leave many of us to be powerless victims?

  24. @rameumpton
    I don’t know what race you are (not that it matters), but is your main purpose in this post to foment white guilt?
    You keep on “we,” “us,” and “society” as the the problem. What have you personally done to increase racism or oppress black people? Unless you have voted for Progressive / Leftist Republicans or Democrats, I’m guessing nothing.

  25. To quote Eric Raymond:

    “One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap….

    My reference, of course, is to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.

    This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.”

  26. Half a truth is often a great lie……Benjamin Franklin

    Jesse Jackson said……” There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery then look around and see somebody White and feel relieved”.
    Wow.
    If a prominent White person said exactly what Jackson said the White would be vilified. Says a lot, coming from a Black person.

    The Academy Awards need to give participation awards to Blacks now because every White is a racist……..no merit involved.

    Who is this “we” that have placed Blacks in poverty? The government? Yes, White liberal progressive facists and their Black counterparts. Blacks were better off economically before all the so called civil rights legislation.

    This White privilege nonsense is a great lie. There is not enough room to address all that is wrong with this mindset of Blacks being treated with institutional racism, which does not exist……another lie. Now that Obama turned this country into Obamastan, Blacks are even more protected along with illegal criminals and Muslims. I am Middle Eastern descent and there are Hispanics, Blacks, and Japanese in my immediate family. I do care for all people and feel for all people. I worked with all races on my mission. I am tired of being labeled a racist because of my skin color and I am tired of the lies. I am tired of being called a racist and bigot because I want to preserve my culture and heritage and Judeo Christian values. Why can all other races but Whites preserve their culture and heritage?

    A few years ago, in the small town where I live, an African Black doctor moved in. The half White, half Hispanic town, about 40% LDS, embraced the doctor and his family. Everyone was thrilled to have him practice in town. He had more patients than he could handle. People did not care that he was Black, and foreign. Unfortunately he moved because a special needs child of his needed special schooling the schools here could not provide. People were devastated he had to leave. There was no racism.

    This constant playing the race card, and bigotry card and victim has got to stop by so called minorities and even Whites (Caucasians are now the minority ), and it is past time to quit blaming YT for everything. Obama told African countries to get over colonialism because more than enough time has passed for the people to have maintained or improve, but they have not. Yet Obama refuses to say the same to Blacks in America. How ironic that Black run African countries are no different than Black run American cities. The similarities are astounding.

    When does personal responsibility come in to play? Billions and billions of dollars have been given to Black only programs and schools and communities and nothing changes, nothing improves. Where does this taxpayer money go to? They want YT to do everything for them, then want segregation from YT.
    They start terror groups, and race bait, and pay for people to riot, loot and burn down cirlties. Or march, which does nothing.
    Obama and his personal bank, George Soros the WW II Jew hunter for the Nazis, bankrolls Black Lives Matter and other terror groups.
    An eight year old Black boy was executed in retaliation for his so called father for a gang hit and the gang banger father refused to cooperate with police to find the boys killers. Where was the out cry from felon Sharpton and Jackson and the other Black terror groups? Yeah, silence, because it was not a White that killed a Black. So do Black lives really matter? No, only when it is politically expedient.

    Read The Bell Curve book. It is eye opening.
    Answers a lot of questions.

    I am not a racist but a race realist, and the Ferguson lies opened my eyes. Obama, the great commie White hater, has done more to hurt race relations and Blacks than any other President, along with the Congress and Senate facists. Until the draconian political culture is erased, and facism is erased and truth can be told, nothing will change. Things will only get worse.

    Read The Bell Curve.

  27. Jonathan Cavender: great points you shared above. Kafka deserves more attention than we give him. Certainly the disturbing stuff we’ve been seeing coming from BLM and the university nonsense this past year deserves the appellation “Kafka-esque”.

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