Both Rudy Giuliani and Bill O’Reilly, among others, have made outrageous claims about Black Lives Matter. Giuliani claimed Friday on MSNBC Live that,
“I think that the reason there’s a target on police officer’s backs is because of groups like Black Lives Matter.”
Giuliani has long had a problem with the truth. Politifact, for example, rated his oft-repeated 2014 claim that President Barack Obama said “that everybody should hate the police,” to be not just “pants on fire” but “an outlandish distortion.”
And Bill O’Reilly, who thinks it’s insane to criticize Trump for his taco bowl tweet, used his show to show he doesn’t think it’s insane to say something as stupid as this:
“Black Lives Matter was just exactly who they are then as who they are today. They’re a terrorist group. They’re quickly becoming a terrorist group committing hate crimes.”
Crimes like protesting violence against blacks by pointing out that black lives, like all others, matter.
Remember back in May when O’Reilly claimed “Sympathetic media and many race hustlers are backing Black Lives Matter” and that “there is a violent sub-culture in the African-American community that should be exposed and confronted”?
What needs to be confronted is the culture of pervasive racism of the sort promoted by O’Reilly, that we could only wish qualified for the “sub” category.
If you need a further demonstration, look at what O’Reilly also said Friday, that “there are very few white Americans who respect Black Lives Matter,” and that, based on this false premise of Fox News’ virtual reality,
“[I]f African-Americans really want to bring the country together and have good racial relations, they have to distance themselves from Black Lives Matter. Am I wrong?”
Yes. You are wrong.
This frequently heard claim that saying black lives matter means other lives don’t, has been rebutted again and again, but conservatives refuse to hear the logic. Their brains seem to seize up at sight of the words “black” and “matter” in the same sentence.
Two months ago a law professor’s open letter to some “concerned students” (concerned because he had the audacity to wear a BLM shirt), was posted on Imgur. The students claimed that his wearing the t-shirt was “inappropriate,” also “highly offensive and extremely inflammatory.” Because racists think it is inflammatory to say black lives also have value.
In his response, the professor used this letter as an opportunity to teach. To the premise that there is an invisible “only” in front of Black Lives Matter, the professor said, “There is a difference between focus and exclusion.” He pointed out to the “concerned students” that “if something matters, this does not imply that nothing else does.”
The professor used the example of the statement, “Law students matter.” As he pointed out, so too do others, like friends and family. “Black Lives Matter,” he said, “is about focus, not exclusion.” It is not, he said, a statement about white people. “It does not exclude white people, it does not accuse white people.
The students, he suggested, were seeing the world in either/or, black/white terms, what he called a “constricting ideology.” As he pointed out, “this does not entitle you to project your either/or ideology onto people who do not share it.”
The world is quite full enough of people who do this sort of projection, like conservative Christians who accuse non-Christians of cavorting with a devil they do not believe in, and other sorts of illogical madness. And we certainly see it from racists like Bill O”Reilly and Rudy Giuliani.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.