Saturday 26 September 2020

Black Lives Matter rioters are themselves racists


The demonstrations and disorder over the murder of George Floyd have ceased on British streets. What we are left with is the National Trust investigating who paid for country houses, Edinburgh University cancelling David Hume and a controversy over a dance act on an ITV talent contest. Is this what the demonstrators in May and June wanted to achieve?

But in the United States demonstrations, riots and disorder have taken place all summer. The latest is in Louisville Kentucky because of an incident on March 13th, 2020 involving police offers entering the apartment of Breonna Taylor while exercising a search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot at the police who returned fire killing Taylor. There was a court case on 23rd September where the grand jury indicted one of the officers for wanton endangerment, but no one was indicted for Taylor’s death.

The case is tragic. It is clear that an innocent person, Taylor, died. The facts are disputed. But this is why there are courts of law to judge about what happened. The United States has one of the best legal systems in the world. If people disagree with laws, they can campaign in elections to have them changed.   

But for the demonstrators and rioters this isn’t enough. They are rioting because they didn’t like the verdict of the court. They wanted one or more of the police officers to be charged with killing Taylor. Because the court did not decide this, they accuse the court decision of being racist.

But there is a pattern emerging in these cases. The police were called to Taylor’s apartment because they suspected criminal activity taking place there. They thought someone was selling drugs. No drugs were in fact found. But the police didn’t just pick this apartment at random and they didn’t pick it because the occupants were black. If that had been their motivation, they could have picked any apartment with a black occupant. It may be that the police were mistaken, but it is reasonable to assume that the police were following a lead.

If you were a police officer with a warrant to search an apartment and someone shot at you what would you do? Firstly, you would assume that the suspect had something to hide. Secondly you would defend yourself. All of this would happen in a split second. The police officers would fear for their lives. One of the officers had been hit by Walker’s shot.

It may be that it was a tragic error on Walker’s part to shoot the police officer. He may have thought the police were intruders. It may also have been a tragic mistake of the police officers to return fire killing Taylor. But the chain of events that led up to the death was that the police suspected criminal activity and they were fired upon.

The police have a much harder job in the United States than the police have in Britain. Even in London British police officers would not expect to be shot at immediately after forcing entry into a property. But in the United States police officers frequently have to risk their lives when trying to arrest criminals.

In the United States Black Lives Matter grew out of a large number of black people being killed by the police. It has always been assumed that these killings occur because of police racism. There is no doubt that some police officers are racist. Racism is a part of all societies and especially American society which has a long history of racial conflict.

But why are there no Korean Lives Matter, Jewish Lives Matter or Indian Lives Matter movements. Why are there no demonstrations complaining about the huge numbers of brown (Indian and Pakistani Americans) people who have been unjustly killed by the police?

Is it that the police are racist about Blacks but not racist about Browns? Why would that be? Does police racism involve shades? A little darker and we will shoot you, a little lighter and we won’t? No of course not.

There are numerous races in America. There are people from every part of the world, but there is only a Black Lives Matter. Why?

Large number of people from Indian backgrounds, Korean backgrounds and Jewish backgrounds are not shot by the police, because they rarely come into contact with the police in the first place. If they do come into contact with the police, they cooperate, and the incident is peaceful.

Black people in the United States who are completely uninvolved in criminal activity and who cooperate with the police have no more reason to fear being shot by the police than anyone else. The police do not ride around in their cars taking shots at random black people. There is no deliberate police policy of killing black people, not least because police officers know there is a good chance that they will be charged with murder.

The pattern of cases that people in the United States are rioting about almost invariably involve someone resisting arrest who the police suspect of committing a crime. Sometimes these people are killed unjustly. Sometimes they are killed by mistake. An incident gets out of hand. A policeman fears he will be hurt or killed and rather like in a combat situation the policeman sometimes judges poorly. He does so because of stress.

But if Black Lives Matter were really concerned with saving black lives, they would not encourage people to demonstrate and riot. This merely reinforces the idea that some black people are violent.

Two things would save more black lives than anything else.

1. Don’t do anything that will make the police suspect you of being involved in a crime.

2. If you come into contact with the police don’t act in a threatening manner but rather cooperate politely.

Of course, Black Lives Matter is uninterested in this. It treats black people as passive victims rather than moral beings who can make good and bad choices. Only police officers are capable of doing evil. Black victims are always innocent. This idea dehumanises black people and is of course racist. Only moral beings are human beings.

In the months since Breonna Taylor was killed there have been any number of murders in the United States. Black people have killed black people and black people have killed white people and those of other races. There have been good and bad decisions in court cases where victims have agreed and disagreed with the verdicts. But none of these other cases have attracted any attention and no one has rioted, because a black suspect was not convicted for killing a white person.

Black Lives Matter is only interested in the deaths of black people when they are killed by white people. No one riots when a black person kills another black person. No one riots when a black person is let free even though he should have been convicted. But what do we call judging morality and legality based on skin colour? We call it racism.