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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rebeldes Sin Causa: The Problem with the Black Lives Matter Movement

The Black Lives Matter Movement (BLMM), borne of the rage of George Zimmermann's acquittal, represents one of American's most toxic sociopolitical phenomena, expertly playing on people's fear and fighting battles that don't exist.

The clearest example of this is the movement's pervasive and egregious use of America's propensity towards police violence to "prove" every black man has something to fear from police whenever he exits his home.

In support of this baseless thesis, The Chicago Tribune ponders a police war on black men, a New York Times article on the BLMM blanketly reads "Stop Killing Us", and too many accept outrageous quotes like, "they kill our daddies, then make fun of us for being fatherless" as deep nuggets of wisdom.

The problem is none of these concerns correspond to reality.

I will be the first to say the deaths of men like Eric Garner, Eric Harris, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and Walter Scott were grievous miscarriages of justice.

In general, the startling quickness with which the United States police force uses lethal means to resolve conflict, in contrast to de-escalation strategies employed by law enforcement agencies in other developed nations, deeply disturbs me.

Yet and still, black men are not being shot dead in the streets for being black.

In fact, black men are not simply being shot at all, if they are not committing a crime.

Even in the cases just mentioned, Eric Garner resisted arrest, Eric Harris ran from police, Freddie Gray ran from police, Walter Scott ran from police, and Tamir Rice was waving around a dummy pistol.

We see acts of confrontationalism or non-compliance by the victims in nearly all the controversial shootings used by the BLMM as proof of police racism.

They cast young men like Nicholas Robertson, Laquan McDonald, and Mario Woods as innocent victims of an out-of-hand police force because they were moving away from police before being unloaded upon, but neglect to mention Robertson was carrying a gun, and Woods and McDonald were brandishing knives.

The operant factor in all these lethal confrontations is not race, but that the victim had committed a crime and refused to be taken into custody.

Control for that fact and where do all the black deaths at the hands of police officers go? Or the white deaths for that matter!

Does resisting arrest justify death ipso facto? NO. Of course not. I cannot say this forcefully enough.

But what the BLMM refuses to come to grips with is that we have every reason to believe if these men had complied with police orders, allowed arrest, dropped their weapons, and/or not broken the law in the first place, they would still be alive today.

I say this with confidence because what we do not see is exactly what the BLMM says is happening: an "open season" on black men where everyone has something to fear.

Rather the way to avoid being killed is to avoid breaking the law, whether by not resisting arrest or doing something that would warrant arrest.

Instead of teaching respect for the law, an achievable solution, the BLMM would rather re-fight the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and put chips on people's shoulders that have the opportunity to turn any routine police stop into a Sandra Bland fiasco.

By avoiding real solutions in place of a fake war with the police, the BLMM relinquishes the  opportunity for progression, because while you cannot just change an officer's reaction, you can control your actions.

If these tragic deaths have taught us anything, if it is your life versus a police officer's life and you are doing something wrong, he is going to air on the side of his life and you may die, so do not do wrong.

While the deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers is the rallying point of the BLMM, it is not their only concern.

However, whether it's housing, unemployment, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, or education, the MO remains the same: shift the blame to a white power structure stacked against black people, wresting power from the hands of the only ones who can actual solve the problems: the people themselves.

For this reason, I submit we do not need a BLMM.

In its nearly four year lifespan, it has achieved little more than disruption, agitation, marginalization of frustrated white people, and de-powerment of black youth, with rare exception and outliers.

Just like Planned Parenthood does not equal women's healthcare, the BLMM does not equal black welfare and likewise does not merit the support of any Christian for its feckless and divisive tactics.

You want to help at-risk young black men? Build healthy Christian communities, encourage abstinence until marriage (single parenthood is crippling the black family), volunteer at or start a 4-H Club, sports team, Boy Scout troop, or youth group.

Be a mentor, a tutor, a Boys and Girls Club volunteer.

Assist a single mother, visit the local jails, help out at your local school, be an encouragement, rally against gang violence.

Be vulnerable, pray with and for young men and invite them into your homes.

Model Christ in all your efforts.

That is how you make a difference while the Black Lives Matter folks are busy fighting for equality by shutting down airports.