Is Black Lives Matter a radical feminist movement or is it an angry, violent movement looking for revenge?
Originating between the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown police-shooting incidents, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) website states that they are an international chapter-based organization. In their own words BLM realizes that, as such, an identical message from all of its constituent chapters, and its individual members is not entirely possible. However, its central site contains their guiding ‘principles’ (along with communications toolkits) that can be used as a starting point to figure out what this movement is all about.
Here are their thirteen guiding principles¹:
- black women
- black villages
- loving engagement
- restorative justice
- collective value
- queer affirming
- unapologetically black
- transgender affirming
- black families
While many of these principles seem to be modern clichés within social justice circles, it is worth noting that they focus on black people. For example, ‘transgender affirming‘ in their words is, “…embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters…” It also worth noting that these principles don’t necessarily mean what you think they might mean. For example, ‘black families‘ means, “…making their spaces family-friendly…”, and ‘globalism‘ means, “We see ourselves as part of a global black family…”
So what, you might think – lots of the correct trendy words and phrases, with a black-centric theme, but with little substance, right? Well, yes and no. If you coalesce this larger list into broader themes, there is, I think, a consistent message:
- black men must not have ‘centeredness’ in society
- black people around the world must unite & form their own ‘villages’
- black women must shun the western, paternalistic nuclear family structure
- black people should shun the western view of gender and gender roles
This consistent messages seems to paint BLM as a third-wave feminist or radical feminist movement, reinforcing an animus toward men (including black men) and denouncing western civilization completely. Some however might see this ‘consistent message‘ as a paradox to what the movement actually looked like on television screens three years ago.
On August 9th, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18 year-old black man, was fatally shot by policeman Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Although later acquitted by a grand jury, it was claimed by activists that Wilson had executed Brown while he had his hands up in the air. This event was the defining moment for BLM who coined their most famous slogan, “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” Even though evidence at the grand jury proved that Brown was not in fact surrendering, but instead had rushed Wilson and had tried to grab his gun before he was shot, the myth of (‘white’) policemen executing a surrendering black man continues to pervade the movement.
Along with this continuing myth, the shooting of Michael Brown also created an additional defining moment: the Ferguson riots. These riots, occurring from August 2014 to the end of the year, involving mostly younger black men, resulted in vandalism, looting, rioting, arson, gunfire, over 300 arrests, one death, ten civilian injuries and six police injuries, with dozens of businesses (some with black owners) permanently put out of business. This is what came to define BLM on people’s television screens across the country. The promotion of radical feminism espoused within BLM’s guiding principles seemed to be a long way away from the burning streets of Ferguson.
Young, black men taking a central role certainly does seem contradictory to the principles and themes above. Where they really BLM members? Did they get the ‘message’ completely wrong? How did these riots full of rampant male-toxicity promote radical feminism and radical gender theories? To the feminists of BLM, how did the rioters actions “…affirm freedom from male centeredness”? Young, black men were front and centre, and they didn’t seem to spend much time discussing gender fluid theories between the numerous lootings! So what is going on?
In an interview² with BLM communications lead Shanelle Matthews we get this vague answer to the question, “How do you determine success?”:
The ultimate success we imagine has yet to be realized: There is no rubric. That we can either be successful or unsuccessful is a false dichotomy. [Shanelle Matthews]
There’s no rubric? No statement of purpose or function? Really? You spent all that time coming up with those guiding principles and yet you are struggling with your ultimate goal? This would naturally be the expected response when a totalitarian vanguard is asked to show the people what the final blueprint of society will look like when all of those ‘principles’ have finally been implemented. One reason is that often the totalitarian doesn’t really know what it will look like. Another is that they’ve got a vague idea, but even this murky vision would be enough to scare the hell out of people too soon.
Another thing she additionally does not make clear is how will black men and black women actually live together, with the men being, well, men, and the women being radically feminine? How exactly would that work in practice? Are the men going to just volunteer to be subservient to the female feminists? Will there be two separate societies? One will be a feminist/homosexual Eloi type utopia, and the other will be a nasty Morlock heterosexual ‘hood where boys will be boys and girls like that? No – the blueprint for this brave new society is simply not making any sense at this point.
In the same interview noted above, Matthews describes BLM (without, as noted, describing ‘success’) as follows:
Black Lives Matter is an international network of more than 30 chapters working to rebuild the black liberation movement and affirm the lives of all black people – specifically black women, queer and trans people, people who are differently abled, and those who are undocumented and formerly incarcerated. [Shanelle Matthews]
Wait! What? Did she say, “…rebuild the black liberation movement…”? This sounds more like the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) than radical feminism and radical gender theory. What did the BLA state as their measure of success?
Black Liberation Army: Composed largely of former Black Panthers (BPP), the organization’s program was one of armed struggle against the United States Government, and its stated goal was to “take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States.” [Wikipedia]
The BLA’s goal was the liberation and self-determination of black people through armed struggle against the United States government. This seems a whole lot clearer than, “There is no rubric?”, doesn’t it? This also seems a whole lot like what people witnessed on the TV screens, doesn’t it?
Is it just possible, that there is a core BLA, hiding behind the front group BLM, and using SJW correct-speak surrounding feminism and gender memes to disguise its goal? Better to say, “We want diversity for black trans brothers,” rather than, “We want to violently overthrow the US government? Is it just possible that BLM is using the feminism and gender movements for their own, selfish purposes? Is this why the ‘black-power’ logo is preferred? And if they succeed in their (BLA, not BLM) goal, whither the feminists and gender explorers? Whither indeed.
¹ Web Archive; ‘Black Lives Matter; Guiding Principles’
² PR Week, Dipka Bhambhani; ‘The Communication Goals & Strategies Of Black Lives Matter’