When a house of cards falls, it falls fast.
From the beginning, every serious person knew that Black Lives Matter was a racket—a money-hoovering operation camouflaged as an angry but (we were supposed to believe) ultimately high-minded form of racial activism.
The movement started as a Twitter hashtag in 2013 in the aftermath of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Martin attacked Zimmerman, wrestled him to the ground, and was in the process of pounding his head into the concrete when Zimmerman shot him. Ordinarily, you would say this was a straightforward case of self-defense. But Martin was black, so he ranked higher on the racial Richter scale than Zimmerman, a mere Hispanic. The Black Lives Matter crowd went after Zimmerman with a vengeance. His acquittal poured gallons of high-octane fuel on the flames of their anger.
Black Lives Matter steadily gained notoriety over the next several years as the media twisted and sensationalized various police encounters with violent black criminals. Remember “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!”? That’s what the “gentle giant” Michael Brown was supposed to have said but didn’t when apprehended by the police. In fact, he attacked Officer Darren Wilson, scrambled to get hold of his gun, and was subsequently shot when he charged at Wilson.
There was a lot of media angst expended over that episode. Black Lives Matter was part of the chorus. But the movement did not really achieve financial liftoff until the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. That’s when Black Lives Matter signs spread like a withering blight across suburbia and corporate America and scores of millions of dollars poured into the coffers of the activists-cum-entrepreneurs running the organization. Finally, the movement had figured out how to capitalize effectively on white guilt. It was at about this time that we were instructed that the slogan “All Lives Matter” was impermissible because it somehow undercut or diminished the suffering and oppression of blacks—and was therefore racist. The amazing thing was how many people, white as well as black, signed on to such racialist nonsense.
Recent revelations about the aggressive peculation among the leaders of blm has damaged the brand, but one still sees aging Black Lives Matter signs littering some suburban lawns and urban storefront windows. We wonder how much longer they will remain. Since it began, Black Lives Matter has come in for abundant criticism, some of it published in The New Criterion. But all that criticism was superseded in a single stroke last month when Kanye West, the famous black rapper and fashion designer, and Candace Owens, the black conservative activist, stepped out onstage during Paris Fashion Week wearing T-shirts bearing the legend “White Lives Matter” on their backs.
The cataract of outrage from the protected purlieus of the politically correct leftist grievance cartel was instantaneous and hysterical.
But the criticism never got traction. West and Owens effectively parried the assault. West announced in stream of consciousness on Instagram, where he has some eighteen million followers, that “everyone knows that black lives matter was a scam now its over you’re welcome.” As we write, Candace Owens is preparing to release a scathing documentary about the movement. The title says it all: The Greatest Lie Ever Sold.
A few days after the Paris event, West also sat for an interview with Tucker Carlson. It was an extraordinary exchange, diffuse and impressionistic at times but deeply felt. West is far from an ideal spokesman, but he was spot on about a few important issues. For one thing, he announced early on that he was Christian and pro-life. He also pointed out that in New York nearly half of black pregnancies end in abortion. He went on to note that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a eugenicist who deliberately located her clinics in black neighborhoods to suppress the black population. Sanger was actually a pretty horrible person all around, but you are not supposed to say so. West did.
He also explained why he appeared wearing a shirt emblazoned with the motto “White Lives Matter.” Why? West quoted his father, who got a kick out of seeing his son in a shirt with that slogan. “White Lives Matter,” he said, “it’s great to see a black man stating the obvious.” In other words, white lives do matter: “It’s the obvious thing.” Carlson agreed, adding, “the implication is, of course, all lives matter, because they’re lives, because God created them.” West: “Yes.” It is the obvious thing. Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter. Kanye West was just stating the obvious. Perhaps his celebrity will turn the trick of finally making the obvious obvious. We hope so.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 41 Number 3, on page 1
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