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TM, ®, Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
Only Black Lives Matter?
First of all, let me be clear: i am not opposed to violent demonstrations. In fact, nobody is opposed to violent demonstrations except dictators. We still hail as heroes the violent demonstrators who started the US war of independence. The West largely supported the violent uprisings against Arab dictators, including two (in Syria and Lybia) that have caused a lot of destruction. Recently, nobody in the West was opposed to the Hong Kong protests that turned way more violent than anything related to Black Lives Matter. If violent protests erupted in Russia against Putin, only one man would condemn them (Putin's lackee Donald Trump). So my issue is not about how violent the BLM protests have been (incidentally, there has been very little violence by world standards), but the nature of those protests themselves, the timing and the rationale behind them.
I should be honored that quite a few readers asked me why i wasn't writing anything about the #blm Black Lives Matter movement. I guess my politically incorrect articles do have a following, after all. So here it is, as politically incorrect as always. I would rather finish the long article that I have drafted on "The New New World Order" but, what the heck...
My first reaction to the demonstrations, and especially the riots, was if not anger at least puzzlement. For two reasons. First of all, this was the perfect distraction for Trump. Trump had just run out of pretexts to distract the public from his endless scandals and from the covid death toll. These demonstrations and riots must have felt like a godsend to him and to his neofascist advisors. Suddenly the news cycle was all about marches, sit-ins, decapitated statues and looting. And Trump, the most lawless and fascist president in ages, suddenly became the president of "law and order".
Secondly, i spent four years being appalled that there were no demonstrations against the endless Trump scandals . Corruption on an unprecedented scale. Accusations of sex molestation, even of child rape. Collusion with Putin's Russia (see my dossier on the collusion). Climate and environmental sabotage. Nominations of far-right Supreme Court judges. Attacks on the US constitution. Attacks on US war heroes. Attacks on all the US allies. Unconditional surrenders in North Korea, Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela. And still: nothing seemed to elicit mass demonstrations against one of the most demonic leaders in the world. And then suddenly millions of people in the streets to protest racism. Note: they protested against racism, not against Trump. #blm is not about Trump specifically, it's about racism in the USA, or about police brutality (depending on whom you ask).
Then i got even more disillusioned because these demonstrations quickly became not about "Black Lives Matter" (which would be perfectly fine with me) but about "Only Black Lives Matter": everything else didn't seem to matter anymore. The Syrian civil war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions? The Taliban retaking most of Afghanistan? Islamic terrorism killing scores of Africans? Millions starving in Venezuela? North Korea developing nuclear missiles that can strike the USA? And whatever happened to climate change? What happened to the crowds of young people demanding action on climate change? Didn't they tell us that climate change would kill millions of people? And, finally, what about this pandemic that has already killed one million people and is only getting worse by the day? None of this mattered anymore. Only black lives mattered.
Worse: what happened to the story that we must wear face masks and observe social distancing, and that Trump caused a catastrophe by not taking science seriously? These protesters proved that the opinion widely heard on neofascist media like Fox News was correct: the pandemic was just an excuse to sabotage Trump's economy. To many viewers, the large crowds protesting against racism, often without wearing facemasks and clearly in defiance of the ban on large gatherings, revealed the hypocrisy in the whole discussion about covid-19: the anti-Trump activists didn't really believe in what they were saying about this pandemic, about wearing face masks, about avoiding large gatherings. To many viewers, the mass protests proved that those in favor of lockdowns didn't believe at all in the gravity of the pandemic. To many viewers, the protests proved that the lockdowns were political in nature, serving mostly to hurt Trump. These left-wing crowds basically decided that protesting against the killing of George Floyd was more important than stamping out the virus: they surrendered to the virus as much as Trump did. The damage that these demonstrations inflicted on the credibility of the covid-19 emergency was probably as great as Trump's own actions and words. No wonder that the Trump campaign demanded the right to hold huge rallies and Trump supporters showed up, often with no face covering: the first ones to hold huge political gatherings in the middle of the pandemic were in the left-wing anti-Trump camp. Trump and his supporters followed suit. The right-wing audience had been critical from the beginning of the lockdowns, arguing that the cure is worse than the disease, having left millions of people unemployed; and by marching and rioting the left-wing audience convinced them that the danger had been blown out of proportion. No wonder that the virus spread like wildfire in the USA: both the right-wing and the left-wing decided that fighting the virus was not a priority, that there were much more important things, whether the economy or racism. The virus, however, has no interest in these issues, and is having the last laugh.
Worse: i feel that the diagnosis about police brutality is completely wrong. The problem is guns. Remove guns and cops will shoot a lot less, just like the cops of any gun-free country. More about that later.
Before i get to my politically incorrect opinion on racism in the USA, we need a couple of preambles. First of all, "cop lives matter" too. In a country that has 150 million guns (thanks to the actions of the largest terrorist organization in the world, the NRA, (see The largest terrorist organization in the world strikes again), cops risk their lives every single day to protect our neighborhoods. Last year 89 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents, out of 800,000. How many blacks were killed in 2019 by cops out of 40,000,000 black people? Last year cops killed about 1,000 people, and, yes, disproportionately black people (nobody denies this). But, as a percentage, that's a tiny number compared to the percentage of cops killed in the line of duty. Let me be clear about this: i owe a debt of gratitude to the police that i do not owe to African-Americans; nor to Chinese-Americans; not to Italian-Americans; nor to Hispanic-Americans; nor to any other ethnic group.
I also had to dig into the details of a study by Frank Edwards, a sociologist at Rutgers University (a study which was mentioned by many news media to show how disproportionately blacks are shot by cops), to find an interesting number: a black person in the USA is more likely to get killed by a fellow black man than by a cop; if i did the math right, about 30 times more likely. Talk about police brutality on black people: anybody ready to protest against "black people's brutality on black people"?
Second preamble: is the USA a racist country? We seem to have already forgotten that a black man was elected (twice) president of the USA. Blacks are about 12% of the population. On the other hand the USA has never had a female president. Believe it or not, women are about 50% of the population. Incidentally, there has never been an Italian-American president, nor a Chinese one, nor a Hispanic one. I could go on with all sorts of statistics that one could interpret as a bias against this or that group.
Again, this is not to deny that there is a problem (see how racist politicians like Mitch McConnell fought every Obama idea simply because he was black), and i admit that i am privileged to live in a place where i don't often see that problem personally, so i am less emotionally affected by it. I admit it. Guilty as charged. But it is one problem of many problems, and i don't understand how it can suddenly become the #1 problem and suddenly obscure all the other problems. I do not agree with "Only" Black Lives Matter: many things matter, and i thought there were more pressing problems in 2020, including two existential problems (Trump and the pandemic). I wish that those protesters marched and rioted for the more pressing problems too.
Case in point: climate change. Were you telling me the truth when you were telling me that climate change is a problem that will affect all 8 billion people of this planet, will cause 100s of millions of refugee, and kill millions, and possibly even exterminate the human race? That sounded pretty serious. Is it still true or was it just the fashionable topic of the day?
Now... there is one big problem that i rank more serious and deadly than racism and may better explain the killing of unarmed black people. In fact, i think that racism is a marginal issue in these shootings of unarmed black people. As I wrote during the previous wave of killings (see Of heroes and thugs: African-Americans and cops), the real issue is guns. It's easy to be a cop in Europe or Canada or Japan were guns are rare, but, again, in the USA a cop is facing criminals armed with semi-automatic weapons, courtesy of the NRA, the largest terrorist organization in the world. If the availability of guns was the same as in Europe, cops would think ten times before shooting just like German or British cops do. And viceversa: put millions of guns in the streets of Germany, and you'll see that German cops will start shooting a lot more people. You cannot drop a cop in a warzone and expect him to fight with sticks. Police officers in other countries don't shoot suspects because it is so unlikely that the suspect has a gun. Police offices in the USA shoot suspects because just about everybody has a gun, and sometimes a semiautomatic gun. Both the training and the psychology of a police officer is very different in the USA than in countries where guns are banned.
Now let's go back to the timing. This #blm risk having a devastating effect on the coming presidential elections. Initially everybody, and i think it was really everybody, was outraged to see how George Floyd was murdered. But day after day a silent population began to feel threatened. Why? It is pretty obvious that the police force everywhere is demotivated. Again: those are the people who risk their lives to protect my neighborhood and your neighborhood. Are the cops more or less motivated to prevent a crime after all these cases of black people killed by police? Why stop a robbery or a sex assault when you are told not to use your gun, knowing that the robbers and the rapists may have a gun, even a semi-automatic one? The job of cops is dangerous enough. The protesters are now demanding to make it even more dangerous. A silent population is getting wary about this. Yes, even in black neighborhoods. It is hard to calculate how many of this silent population decided to vote for Trump, suddenly the champion of "law and order", even if it had no intention of doing so. The longer this goes on, the more likely that people move their own security to the top of the issues that matter (not "Black Lives Matter" but "My Life Matters") and, on election day, decide that they can live four more years with Trump's endless scandals if Trump re-motivates the police force. We learned in 2016 that it doesn't take many votes to change the outcome of an election. If Trump is reelected, we will be writing about the "My Life Matters" movement.
And, again, think of all the people that had been convinced to vote Trump out of office based on his scandals, his sexism, his racism, his incompetence, his treason, his environmental record, his mishandling of the pandemic and so on: did the #blm movement strengthen these arguments or weaken them?
The "silent population" is also black, and black communities are often the firstones to pay a price when police refrains from aggressively fighting crime. Gun violence spiked in Chicago (see this article), in New York (see this article), in Atlanta (see this article) and many other cities, and the "spike" mostly affected black communities. The Minneapolis police experienced a wave of resignations after four Minneapolis cops were charged with the murder of George Floyd (see this article): two months later the city reported a surge of violent crime. Despite Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, the USA recorded a 29% increase in homicides (source). This is largely due to a similar increase in guns, but the demoralizing effect on police is probably a significant factor. Cities that recorded a spike in murders: Phoenix (+59%), Chicago (+55%), Houston (+43%), New York (+41%), Los Angeles (30%)...
The timing couldn't be worse because the elections may also result in some kind of unrest if Trump loses: he has hinted at mobilizing the right-wing militias, and these militias have hinted at mobilizing. The #blm movement is weakening the police at the very time when the country may need them to quell civil unrest if Trump loses the election and refuses to concede.
Incidentally, i feel that the real discrimination is between rich and poor: white-collar criminals (starting with Trump himself) often get away with their crimes, which are investigated by a non-armed police force, whereas ordinary citizens are hunted down and shot at by a heavily armed police force. (See for example Jennifer Taub's article "The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime").
One reason why China and Russia are winning and represent the future of the world is how the USA and the West in general is hurting itself with endless, ridiculous, pathetic, antiquated conversations about race and assorted idiotic topics. History book of 2100: "Instead of focusing all efforts to defeat rising fascism, the intellectuals of the USA wasted their energies bickering about political correctedness, thus enabling fascism to establish itself and eventually wipe out the entire class of such intellectuals".
I confess that i am greatly annoyed by the dogmatic US decision to ban the word "nigger". This is beyond ridiculous. In Chinese, "nigga" is a common filler phrase. Plenty of Chinese visitors, students and immigrants have been harassed by arrogant US citizens for using the word "nigga" that is possibly the most common word in Chinese. Imagine if the word "hey" suddenly became a bad word in China and the moment you land in China you were considered a racist for using the word "hey". Second, it is not clear to me (an immigrant) why saying "nigger" to a black person is so terrible while saying "Indian" to a native American is ok: isn't "Indian" also a term that evokes the days when Indians were slaughtered (in much, much bigger numbers than blacks)? Ditto for "woman", a term that has been used for centuries while women were treated worse than slaves. Why is it ok to call a female "woman" but not ok to call a black man a "nigger"? Why only "nigger" is an offensive word? That's the general point of this article: why only "black lives matter"?
I respect the Black Lives Matter movement, just like i respect many other movements that fight injustice of one kind or another, as long as it doesn't become "only black lives matter" and everything else doesn't matter or matters less. Many things matter. Some things matter more than others, and i don't think that the issues of racism and police brutality matter more than other issues, and it came at a particularly suspicious time, as if designed by someone to help Trump get reelected.
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