Two days ago, MTV came out with a video that did an excellent job explaining Black Lives Matter. However, if you look at it, you’ll see that it’s downvoted to hell — although it seems like a decent video, it has 24, 084 views and a 75% “dislike” percentage. Visitors may wonder — why? The video actually looks like it’s a helpful, sensible explanation.
For the culprit, you need look no farther than a popular YouTuber named Sargon of Akkad, who downright lies to discredit the helpful video. His video critique, which just came out yesterday, has about 163,000 views as of the time of this writing, and a 97% “like” percentage.
First, the original MTV video discusses the question: Why isn’t Black Lives Matter concerned about Black-on-Black crime?
To answer the question dead on, Francesca (the person in the MTV video) explains that it’s a matter of focus, and that other organizations like Cease Fire are looking into Black-on-Black Crime. The purpose of Black Lives Matter is to eradicate violence from police officers — regardless of their race. It’s a matter of focus. This does not, however, mean that the black community is not concerned about gun violence in its communities — it is. It’s just that the arm of black communities that is Black Lives Matter has a specific goal. If the black community is concerned about gun violence, the question seems pointless — Black Lives Matter is just focused on a subcategory of concern.
Sargon of Akkad ignores this fact, instead stating that the problem is that Black Lives Matter is not concerned about black-on-black crime (ignoring, apparently, that there are black people in law enforcement). But different organizations have different focuses — this is normal. The objection to this is somewhat confusing.
See, what Francesca is doing is showing that criticizing Black Lives Matter for not doing the work of Cease Fire is ridiculous. These are different organizations with different focuses. Good point. And yet, Sargon of Akkad, completely missing the point, continues for the rest of the video criticize Black Lives Matter for not doing that work.
Francesca then stated that black-on-black crime isn’t a thing — meaning that the primary problem is not the skin tone of the people who are killing each other. Her argument for this is that people tend to kill those closest to them, and that black communities cause black people to be in closer proximity to each other. These communities experience institutionalized racism, which causes them to have higher poverty rates, worse education systems, and a higher likelihood of being targeted by police. As a result, the stress in their communities results in more violence. Now, you can say this is wrong all you want, but causes end in effects.
Sargon of Akkad’s outrage over this is somewhat infuriating, because he urges black people to take responsibility for the consequences of other people’s racism. More exactly, he indicates that the poverty, bad education, and targeting by police is primarily black people’s fault. However, if you look at the chicken-egg of this whole thing, racism undoubtedly came first. As we saw in Ferguson, police have generationally marked some primarily black areas as high-crime areas, which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean, we have seen police in black communities frame black people for crimes — as in Walter Scott and others. We know they lie TODAY. What it must have been like before cell phone cameras and when racism was worse is infuriating. When you see your close family members shot and imprisoned unjustly on a regular basis, that makes you hate the law. That’s not to say that there are NO just arrests, but our cell phone cameras indicate that there are far more unjust shootings than there should be. And that problem should be fixed by fair policing that still is not happening.
When you are trapped in a place where the police are your enemies, where poverty and racism makes it more difficult to get a job (and yes, racism does make it more difficult to get a job, whether you have a father or not, and poverty makes transportation, dressing for an interview, time you can afford to use to get a job, etc. more difficult), where your education system leaves you at the wayside, it’s no wonder that you’re more likely to commit crime. Admitting that these are problems is not a cop-out. It’s admitting that these are problems so we can fix them. It is profoundly unfair to tell someone who experiences racism day in, day out that they should take responsibility for problems of education, poverty, and police violence they don’t really have control over.
I mean, do you really think that if black people committed less crime than white people, the police would be in their neighborhoods less often? If so, let’s use a test case. Who suffers more from the war on drugs? Black people. Even though white people take drugs at about the same rate. If we want crime to go down, we need to deal with the systemic racism that prevents black individuals from living with dignity in their communities.
Sargon is wrong when he says that we’re blaming this inequality on something that happened 100 years ago. We’re blaming it on things that are happening now. Even the stats that Sargon cites in his article — 10% of married black families live in poverty and 46% of single mother households live in poverty — are significantly higher than the general population, where “in 2014, 30.6 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 15.7 percent of households headed by single men and 6.2 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty.” There is still an enormous discrepancy, and yet Sargon treats his statistics as if they PROVE that poverty is black people’s fault, when they do nothing of the sort.
Then, when she says that Black Lives Matter are not saying that blue lives matter less, Sargon goes to a clip of a crowd shouting, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!”
But this is blatantly dishonest or, at the least, ignorant, because that group was not Black Lives Matter. It was a rogue march at this point, a split-off group from the Millions March in NYC, who released this statement:
On behalf of the Millions March NYC, we express our deepest condolences to the families of the officers who were killed on Saturday. Our march last weekend was a peaceful outcry that senseless violence in our society is harmful to trust, community, and security. This tragedy is in no way connected to our march, or ongoing protests against police brutality, discrimination, and profiling – and we condemn, and are disappointed with any entity that would try to imply such connection. As New Yorkers, we will continue to march for a peaceful society, where trust between communities and law enforcement is finally achieved.
But Sargon didn’t discuss this, because it didn’t fit with his narrative. These was not a Black Lives Matter protest. That Sargon did this is even more infuriating considering the fact that he is able to separate Cease Fire from Black Lives Matter, but is not able to separate Black Lives Matter from a rogue march.
Sargon of Akkad also says that being a police officer won’t be a choice if Black Lives Matter get their way, citing this clip of a woman discussing ways that community-based solutions could replace the police system. So wait a second — Sargon of Akkad (earlier in the video) says that the police system is bonkers in the United States, but doesn’t support an overhaul in the way we go about law enforcement? In addition, this is just one person — the official website says nothing about getting rid of police. And yet, Sargon of Akkad treats this woman as if she represents the entire BLM movement.
Sargon of Akkad then states that most police shootings of black people are justified. Really? I’m not so sure. Other countries have managed to avoid shooting their citizens at the rate the United States does.
I mean, Richmond — which is a fairly active city — managed not to kill nearly as many people when the police tried to get involved in their community. As a 2014 article noted:
A spate of high-profile police shootings nationwide, most notably the killing of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, has stoked intense scrutiny of deadly force by officers and driven a series of demonstrations across the nation and the Bay Area. But in Richmond, historically one of the most violent cities in the Bay Area, the Police Department has averaged fewer than one officer-involved shooting per year since 2008, and no one has been killed by a cop since 2007.
Many observers and police officials attribute Richmond’s relatively low rate of deadly force to reforms initiated under Chief Chris Magnus, who took over a troubled department in this city of 106,000 in 2006. Magnus implemented a variety of programs to reduce the use of lethal force, including special training courses, improved staffing deployments to crisis situations, thorough reviews of all uses of force and equipping officers with nonlethal weapons such as Tasers and pepper spray.
“Our officers are used to dealing with individuals who are dangerous and, often, armed,” Magnus said. “It’s not an aberration — the scary and challenging is routine — and I think that gives them the familiarity to know what level of force to apply.”
So I’m not at all sure that deadly force is necessary in quite as many cases. We also know that police lie in several cases — the few times we’ve caught them have been when someone happened to have a cell phone camera on. And again…places like Richmond show that it is possible to run a police department in a violent area without killing anyone for seven years.
He also blames criminal pasts for black people unable to get a job, when that’s not remotely the case. In fact, as the end of this article notes, studies have shown that black men without a criminal record were as likely to get a job as white men who had just gotten out of prison.
That’s not their fault. That’s racism.
Then he brings up Black Lives Matter as allegedly saying that they want other people dead — which, again, was not an official BLM statement or an official statement of any black organization, and was a statement that was soon apologized for Millions March in NYC even though they had nothing to do with it.
He also states that it’s not hard to find black people who think white lives don’t matter.
True. It’s also not hard to find white people who think that black lives don’t matter, even though he says he hasn’t heard one person say that black lives do not matter.
Here’s one of hundreds of thousands of videos:
But again, that is not Black Lives Matter’s position. It’s a red herring. It has less to do with the video defending BLM than the Neo-Nazi video above has to do with Sargon of Akkad.
He repeats his points, again, about how black people are shot for legitimate reasons. I already discussed that above — police lie, and places as violent as Richmond, California have found out how to avoid killing people for seven years in a row — and somehow police frequently avoid shooting violent white people all the time.
Racism is alive and well, and when people like Sargon of Akkad try to bend over backwards to prove otherwise, they have to use anecdotes and lies. And people want to believe them so badly that they fail to hear Black Lives Matter’s actual message.
It’s a pity that lying YouTubers are handy to help them bury their heads in the sand. Ah, well.
Thanks for reading.
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