What Is Black Lives Matter? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

15 mins read



No group has dominated American discourse more thoroughly in 2020 than Black Lives Matter.

BLM is a blanket term that covers various elements — there’s the term itself, the movement motivated by it and the Marxist political organization that first sparked the movement and continues to fan its flames.

Arguments between BLM critics and supporters often get bogged down because these three elements are frequently conflated and interchanged with one another; one person could be defending the term while the other is condemning the organization.

That’s why so many conversations about BLM end up going nowhere. If you don’t want that to happen to you, read below to learn everything you need to know about Black Lives Matter:

Defining the Term “Black Lives Matter”

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Saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t the same as arguing for racial equality. Virtually every conservative opposed to BLM already supports that sentiment.

Instead, when a supporter says “Black Lives Matter,” they are voicing a completely different opinion.

What it means is this — that African Americans are an oppressed class, and that the aftereffects of slavery and Jim Crow have led to black families inheriting generational poverty.

Moreover, it means that supposedly “racist” institutions such as police departments, businesses and the government — both at the local and federal level — prevent those many black families from achieving economic success.

This assessment of American race relations, however, overlooks several important facts.

What Black Lives Matter Overlooks

The passing on of generational poverty likely has an effect on modern-day racial disparities, but if you look at the trajectory of black economic success, there are stronger correlative factors that explain these disparities.

The first factor is the negative effect that welfare has had on lower-income communities.

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Before then-President Lyndon Johnson’s declared his “War on Poverty” in 1964, the American poverty rate had been declining for decades. Then, after the implementation of what we now know as the modern welfare state, the poverty rate stagnated.

For decades, African-Americans have been disproportionately represented among those receiving welfare.

Has Black Lives Matter actually helped black lives?

As the welfare state expanded, fatherlessness began to skyrocket, which disproportionately affected the black community as well.

In a 2014 report for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, researcher Robert Rector explained the relationship between fatherlessness and poverty.

According to Rector, single-parent families are “four times more likely to lack self-sufficiency.” Therefore, he said, the rise in fatherlessness has “exerted a powerful downward pull against self-sufficiency and substantially boosted the official child poverty rate.

“When the War on Poverty began, 36 percent of poor families with children were headed by single parents. Today, the figure is 68 percent,” Rector wrote.

“Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, less-educated mothers have increasingly become married to the welfare state and to the U.S. taxpayer rather than to the fathers of their children,” he added.

“As means-tested benefits expanded, welfare began to serve as a substitute for a husband in the home, and low-income marriage began to disappear. As husbands left the home, the need for more welfare to support single mothers increased. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, which generated a need for more welfare.”

The real “privilege” isn’t racial — it’s about whether you have two parents or not.

And sadly, African-American children are more likely to live in single-parent homes that receive welfare. But it has nothing to do with “racism.”

“The U.S. is steadily separating into a two-caste system with marriage and education as the dividing line. In the high-income third of the population, children are raised by married parents with a college education; in the bottom-income third, children are raised by single parents with a high school degree or less,” Rector explained.

Fatherlessness, Crime and Police Presence in Black Communities

Back in June 2008, then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama — who now parrots the BLM narrative — agreed that fatherlessness was hurting black communities.

“We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children,” Obama said, according to Politico.

“We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

Tragically, higher levels of fatherlessness and inequality correlate to higher levels of crime in the black community.

Despite the fact that census data shows the American population is 13 percent black and 76 percent white, the FBI said that in 2015, more homicides were perpetrated by black or African-American individuals than by white ones.

Moreover, the number of white individuals murdered by black people (500), was more than double the number of black individuals murdered by white people (229).

FBI data also reveals that black-on-black crime is a particularly massive problem.

Of the 2,664 murders of black or African-American individuals in 2015, the vast majority of the perpetrators (2,380) were the same race.

Of course, higher levels of crime among the black community mean black people are more likely to have encounters with police than white people.

Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan admitted in an article for The New York Times last month that the higher rate of police encounters among the black community is a bigger factor when it comes to the disproportionate number of shootings of black people by police than simply “police bias.”

“This data does not prove that biased police officers are more likely to shoot blacks in any given encounter,” Mullainathan wrote. “Instead, there is another possibility: It is simply that — for reasons that may well include police bias — African-Americans have a very large number of encounters with police officers.”

BLM: The Organization

The Black Lives Matter organization was formed after the infamous shooting death of Trayvon Martin, capitalizing on the anger and frustration surrounding the perception of so-called racially biased shootings.

Despite what activists and supporters might say, however, Black Lives Matter is not a civil rights group.

It is a political organization.

One of Black Lives Matter’s three original co-founders has openly admitted that she and a fellow co-founder are trained in Marxism, an ideological framework with the goal of achieving true equity among all identity groups by transforming America’s free-market economy into a state-controlled, socialist one that redistributes wealth equally.

BLM’s website explicitly lays out several far-left, Marxist goals and beliefs that the organization holds:

  • The disruption of the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”
  • The liberation of all black people from the forces of so-called institutional racism.
  • The dismantling of “cisgender privilege” (“cisgender” is a term used to describe people don’t identify as transgender) and the elevation of “Black trans folk.”
  • The building of spaces free from “environments in which men are centered.”
  • The fostering of a queer-affirming network.
  • The defunding of police.

Despite the fact that the group openly promotes leftists beliefs, viewpoints and goals, BLM is often described as an apolitical group working toward equality for black people.

This is important to understand — when supporters of the movement and term, who don’t necessarily agree with BLM’s agenda, decide to donate money to the organization, Marxist political activists are the people receiving the money.

You might as well just send a donation to Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.

BLM: The Movement

While the BLM movement was started — and continues to be supported and promoted — by the official BLM organization, the two are not inextricably linked.

The decentralized nature of the Black Lives Matter movement — which consists of a series of protests, hashtags and various other group demonstrations — seems to be by design, or at the very least conveniently gives the organization plausible deniability.

When protests across the country continually devolve into riots, with members of antifa and Black Lives Matter activists often filling out the ranks of violent aggressors, supporters of the organization can throw their hands up and say, “That’s not Black Lives Matter!”

While the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization could use this tactic as well, they usually don’t.

The BLM organization has largely failed to condemn the violence, rioting and looting that have swept the nation in recent months.

If it had, perhaps some of the carnage could have been curbed.

Instead, many of BLM’s leaders have either tacitly approved of the violence or claimed it was a necessary reality.

BLM leaders have implicitly defended looting and theft on multiple occasions, with one activist even going so far as to describe it as a form of reparations.

Over time, leaderless movements often move away from their original intended purpose.

Perhaps if the BLM organization’s leaders came out strongly against violence and promoted peaceful protesting, they could make a case that they are not responsible for continually fanning the flames of social unrest.

Instead, they keep on promoting the lie of systemic racial bias in policing and repeatedly describe police shootings as instances of unjustified racism before the facts come out.

And unfortunately, some of them continue to defend the actions of violent rioters destroying property and lives in the name of “Black Lives Matter.”

Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter

Because of the three separate elements of BLM, debates on the subject often go nowhere.

This not only leads to bewilderment about what “Black Lives Matter” means, but it also causes confusion about the definition of “All Lives Matter.”

As previously mentioned, when someone says “Black Lives Matter,” they aren’t saying black lives are equal or above all other lives — what they are saying is that America disenfranchises black people.

In much the same way, using the term “All Lives Matter” is not the same as saying all people are equal or ignoring the problems uniquely faced by the black community.

“All Lives Matter” is a total refutation of “Black Lives Matter”; it effectively says that while America isn’t perfect, no other nation on Earth has provided as much freedom to as many peoples of every race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion.

Check in next Sunday for another installment of Social Justice 101 — an explanation of so-called “systemic racism” and what that term gets wrong.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.





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