Why the right targets BLM and “critical race theory”

It’s simply about white supremacy.

Conservatives like a status quo that puts white people in charge, gives white people preferential treatment, and keeps black people “in their place.”

After George Floyd became yet another black man murdered by a white cop, millions of Americans participated in protests that were overwhelmingly peaceful (like the one in the photo below), many of them under the rubric “Black Lives Matter.”

And “Black Lives Matter” slogans and signs proliferated across America, as a majority of Americans recognized the injustice of how blacks are being treated in our country.

A few organizations adopted the name, but the term “Black Lives Matter” mostly describes a social movement without central organization or leadership, that sprang up in the aftermath of a rash of highly-publicized questionable police killings of black people.

We also have in our country a noisy, vicious, decentralized crowd of rightwing propagandists who flood airwaves and social media with anti-black hate. Truth and decency aren’t part of their repertoire. We also have small groups of leftist radicals who show up at demonstrations to break windows, set fires, and fight with cops (throwing rocks, bottles, and molotov cocktails). These aren’t BLM protesters; they’re opportunistic anarchists who exploit the protests for their own ends.

The Black Lives Matter movement simply stands for, “Stop killing us.” It’s hard to imagine anything less sinister. But to white supremacists, anything that might put black people in a better position in society is threatening.

“Critical race theory” or CRT is in that category. It’s a bit more complicated, which makes it easier to conflate and distort. CRT is an academic study in graduate schools that explores systemic racism in American society, including its criminal justice system. It’s hardly debatable that blacks get unequal treatment at the hands of police, the criminal legal system, and broader society. (For a stark example, compare the voting fraud cases of Donald Hartle and Crystal Mason, see article here.)

A smart, intelligent, and thoroughly unethical Seattle-based rightwing agitator named Christopher Rufo is a leading promoter of the false narrative that CRT is an attack on white people (see article here). The propaganda promoted by him and others is literally causing riots in school board meetings and leading to threats of violence against school administrators and teachers.

The attacks on BLM, critical race theory, and anything else that aims to give black people a fairer shake in our society is all about maintaining the privileged position of white people with racist inclinations, and we have plenty of them.

I’ve often heard conservatives say, “Life isn’t fair.” They’re doing everything they can to keep it that way, by fair means or foul, mostly foul. This is far removed from classical conservatism that argues for individual liberties, free markets, and keeping government out of people’s lives. It’s about people with no ethics or social conscience asserting a historical prerogative to mistreat other people.

This is the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth century, and it’s long past time our society moved beyond that to something better.

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