Black Lives Matter As Long As They Don’t Interrupt: A Look at White Liberals’ Attutudes about Racism and Racial Injustice
Thom Hartmann who has a radio and TV show and writes political columns, asked in his blog: “Is BLM just a front group for the Clinton Campaign?” and answered it by saying: “Based on reading various new[s] articles about Black Lives Matter, their agenda is go after ‘White Progressives’. The candidate that benefits most from this agenda is Hillary Clinton.”
His post is a good example of the incredible level of distrust among the American white liberals towards blacks and insensitivity towards their plight. The title of this piece doesn’t just accuse the Black Lives Matter activists who disrupted Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle, but the entire “BLM” movement, of being nothing, but a conspiracy to help Clinton’s campaign. It’s not like the movement had any reason to rise up spontaneously. It’s not like people are getting killed on the streets by racist police, everyday. There had to be a sinister reason behind it. This piece which reflects the viewpoint of many white liberals reduces an urgent social problem affecting millions to a ploy and a Clinton campaign tool!
Now, let’s say that those activists do have ties with the Clinton campaign and have been sent in to disrupt Sanders’ rallies to create the notion that he has a problem connecting with the black community and doesn’t address their issues. But, they didn’t have to create that notion because it’s true. He hasn’t been speaking about some of the most important and urgent problems in this country, which are state terror, police brutality, institutional racism and mass incarceration. It’s not like the activists falsified and lied about his record on the issue and targeted the wrong candidate.
Now, of course, liberals do say that they targeted the wrong candidate and the reason they give is that he’s the most progressive of all candidates, which again goes to show their own detachment from pressing issues for blacks. The very suggestion that if you’re progressive in economic issues then it means you’ll also care about or will do something about racial injustice and police brutality shows liberal detachment and insensitivity at best and indifference and complacency at worst. Liberals contend that if you create jobs and alleviate poverty and invest in education, etc., the problem of racist killings by the cops and mass incarceration will go away, which isn’t true and again goes to show their lack of understanding of institutional racism. The fact is that institutional racism and racial injustice is not the same as economic injustice. These are two different issues and while liberals are concerned with the latter only, the more urgent issue for blacks right now is the former. So, is it too much to ask of a progressive candidate for president who speaks of economic injustice to also speak out about blacks’ life and death problem?
The activists did not target the wrong candidate. Actually, not only he, but all candidates are the right target and not only presidential campaign rallies, but all venues and meetings throughout the land are the right place and time to raise the issue. It may be unfair that they didn’t disrupt Clinton’s rallies, and it may even be true that Clinton may have benefited from Sanders being the target of black activists, but it’s still true that you have to go back 53 years to find anything that he said or did about racial injustice, especially when people are dying on the streets, everyday. Yes, all candidates of both parties are at fault and complicit, but that also includes Sanders.
Since this discussion came up on social media, some white liberals have been saying that this kind of tactic doesn’t help “their cause”, which reveals the fact that most liberals don’t think of this as their problem. But, nothing exposes their attitude as when they remind us that blacks are only 13% of the population, so why should we make their issues ours? Some even suggest that such actions by black activists can turn off liberals who are their allies and start a race war between blacks and white liberals. I suppose black people should be thankful that their liberal allies don’t think of them as their enemy. But, they should be careful because that can easily change…