I write this on a day that commemorates a person I greatly admire, who in concert with members of my family demonstrated the importance of family, compassion and free thinking. One of my Grandmother’s sisters, who was a lifetime educator in the Memphis City School system, used to always tell me: “If you don’t control your mind, someone else will.” I do not know if she made it up, or if it was an old African American saying, or if someone wrote it in a book or stated it in speech. Nevertheless, it has remained with me over the years and I frequently repeat it to my children and the university students I have been instructing since 1988.
It is commonplace in this new age of social media to accept without question. Personally, I ask many questions constantly. I was this way prior to becoming an infectious disease scientist, way before I taught Statistics and/or Neuroanatomy and Behavior. These queries change frequently and are often outside the area of my expertise. For example, when a government calls its military to protect itself from its people, are its citizens are in tyranny? Why does it require 20,000 troops to protect the president elect when he received the most votes in history? Why when the National Guard is sent to the southern border, they are unarmed, but fully armed for the impending inauguration? Is it that they want people to be afraid because people who are afraid are easier to control? Why is it okay to use the military now, but when businesses and houses were burning down, kids getting shot every day in Chicago, and rioters looting stores, if one begged for help they were called racist?
Now these are just questions, and they deserve valid attention and equally answers. They should not be ignored, banned or censored. In a similar manner, I have a multitude of questions pertaining to the organization Black Lives Matter (BLM). All of which can be reduced to a single anthem: Do Black lives really matter in an axiological sense, or is it selective or more specifically, cosmetic? I ask sincerely because as a black man that recalls living in the segregated south and participating as a child in the garbage strikes in my city of Memphis, this all seems phony and merely an extenuation of the Cloward-Piven strategy I first heard articulated so eloquently by Malcom X. If you are not familiar with the Cloward-Piven strategy, I will attempt to explain it in brief.
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward were professors at the Columbia University School of Social Work. The basic premise of their theory (political activism) was to promote the development of a welfare state that would eventually burden the government economically and socially to such an extent that it would lead to the destruction of capitalism. From their perspective, such a crisis could only be obtained through a “a massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls.” They based this on the unscientific belief that the government could do better and knew what was best for Blacks in America than us. They even were bold enough to publish (May 2, 1966 of The Nation) this in hope that eventually this would lead to a guaranteed annual income and the broad control of citizens through Socialism/Communism. Thus, without the input of the target population (test rats), their approach was implemented and resulted in the creation of the modern welfare state.
Malcom X was so much in disagreement with this Marxist cultural desire to make black people in America feckless victims, that he specified:
“The white liberals, who have been posing as our friends, have failed us. The white liberal is the worst enemy to America and the worst enemy to the black man.”
He also stated:
“White liberals are those who have perfected the art of selling themselves to the black man as our ‘friend’ to get our sympathy, our allegiance and our minds. The white liberal attempts to use us politically against white conservatives, so that anything the black man does is never for his own good, never for his advancement, never for his own progress, he’s only a pawn in the hands of the white liberal.”
The record is clear that since the institution of the welfare state, Blacks in America have suffered in various ways. Before the institution of the policies of the welfare state, out-of-wedlock birth rates for blacks were around 24 percent but by 1965 had increased to 65 percent by the 1990s and over 74 percent currently. The same is true for other indices of progress including but not limited to crime and education where extensions of these policies rear their ugly heads, in democrat run states and urban areas more frequently.
Take crime as an example. Looking at homicides between 2019 and 2020, the present trend in their rate of occurrence continues to increase in Chicago (55.5%), New Orleans (61%), Atlanta (58%), Houston (42%), New York (39%) and Washington, D.C. (19%). New York City has documented 447 murders (more than double 2019) this year, which is a 41 per cent increase over 2019 and the largest number since 2011. In Nashville last year, 109 people murdered highest since 2017. In Memphis there were more than 323 homicides in 2020, also a record. Not to mention that with 17 homicides already in 2021, Memphis is on pace for 475 over the course of the year just 13 days into the new year. Philadelphia saw 2020 as its most violent year in three decades with the homicide rate for 2020 up 40% from 2019.
Yet with all of this, you never see BLM complain, protest or riot regarding such because this is not seen as a problem albeit Black residents overwhelmingly will be the victims. I can state this with certainty because most of the citizens in these places are Black: Memphis (62%), New Orleans (60%), and Atlanta (54%). There are 2.2 million Blacks in New York City, over 913,000 in Chicago, plus 687,000 in Philadelphia and 314,000 in DC.
The same is true for education. They never deal with or address that 13 Baltimore City High Schools had zero students proficient in math but have nearly 100 percent graduation rates or that in the same school system, nine out of ten black boys in Baltimore City are not reading at grade level. Or that cross the nation, just 18 percent of African American fourth graders were judged to be proficient in reading and only 19 percent scored as proficient in math. But find a statute of Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson, they will be onsite screaming from the bottom of their diaphragms. Given these objective metrics, I ask, what does BLM do? From my view point, they continue to advance the goals of the Cloward-Piven strategy and the welfare state to the detriment of the people they supposedly are concerned about on behalf their greater Marxist goals. One of which was removed from their website after receiving extreme scrutiny being: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”
Any organization that desires to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” is of no benefit to any community especially the Black community since that means taking fathers out of the home and family. The evidence is clear, that children without fathers in the home and born to unmarried parents are at higher risk of dropping out of high school, having run-ins with the law, and poorer health outcomes. According to data aggregated by the Rochester Area Fatherhood Network, we know the following to be true: 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, pp. 403-26, 1978); 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999); 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census); 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Center for Disease Control); 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes (U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census); 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools); 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions have no father (U.S. Department of Justice, Special Report, Sept. 1988); 85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992); and that fatherless boys and girls are: two times as likely to drop out of high school and/or end up in jail and four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems (U.S. D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999).
The above is never a focus of the BLM organization because it is not a community organization as it claims but a political organization with a Marxist ideology. How can I state such? Because a fundamental tenet of Marxism is the dismantling of the traditional family structure (See Frederick Engels’s 1884 book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State). Here is an organization that received anywhere from $10 to $12 billion for their causes but have they started a fund to fund black charter schools, or rebuild black business destroyed via their rioting? No. Has BLM done any neighborhood cleanups or provide daycare services for any specific Black community? As far as I can discern from my research, No.
The organization’s founders may not even be black women and may even promote the LGBTQ community more than the Black community they are named after. Alicia Garza (identifies as Jewish), Patrisse Cullors (BLM co-founder describes herself as 'trained Marxist' and the daughter of Nigerian immigrants), and Opal Tometi (Marxist lesbian) are the top dogs of the organization.
Being objective and assuming you maintain a value system on the level of Fredrick Douglass, Malcolm X (after Mecca) and Martin Luther King, Jr. as a function of what you have been taught by your parents and family, one has to honestly ask themselves what has BLM done for you, the Black community and the nation outside of marching down the street screaming vapid slogans and destroying the private property of others, a sizable corpus of which was owned by minorities?
Unfortunately, many of us praised this activity. We applauded the destruction of a charter school, an affordable housing project and many other black owned businesses in Minneapolis. We cheered at the destruction of Black owned restaurants, churches and Barbershops in Portland. In other cases, we looked the other way as small business owned by blacks were looted and vandalized in Chicago like Pharmacist Pamela Jones, owner of M&R Prescription Center or Shatira Wilks, sole proprietor of an Edible Arrangements on Chicago's South Side in the same way we did the murder of a black police officer in St. Louis. Nevertheless, screams of Black Lives Matter continued in this mist of hypocrisy that validated stealing make-up, fake hair, televisions and Air Force Ones as being the appropriate way to honor the likes of George Floyd and Jacob Blake. Overlooking that BLM has yet to stand up for Blake's ex-fiancée Laquisha Booker, for which he had a warrant out on him for sexual assault and domestic abuse against her.
Malcolm X never let his thoughts of what a leftist liberal leaning would do to the Black community. The last time he spoke on this, a few says before his death he said:
“The Democrats are playing you for a political chump and if you vote for them, not only are you a chump, you are a traitor to your race.”
So, I ask again, what does BLM stand for? What they are pushing for is segregation and a new form of Jim Crow. They are quick to support white people because they can pick and choose. For example, they rarely if ever condemn or talk down against Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton or Virginia Gov. Ralph ‘Blackface KKK’ Northam in the same manner in which they would any generic conservative, yet these people and their policies have done more damage to the Black community than any Republican policy, and I say this as an independent. BLM is theater, they are all show and no action for all they do is echo the perspectives of other people, predominantly white progressives and LGBT activist thoughts on what we as Black folk should be upset about. For they know that rarely do we intrinsically evaluate our own existence and reality proactively compared to responding to what others outside of our reality demand we attend to. The truth is that like other white progressives that lean toward Marxism, BLM only care about black people if our plight can be connected too racism and not to any other more important issues impacting our community: because they prefer to use racism to gather votes and divide – it was never about action, let alone Black lives. I believe in Dr. King, so I speak my truth, for as he stated, “A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.”