For the Black Lives Matter campaign to be able to launch its destructive attacks on American cities, raise hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, and gain the support of a major political party for its actions, is a remarkable — even unthinkable — achievement. It was possible only because the campaign was driven by a moral argument so powerful that it touched the hearts of all Americans and intimidated critics from stepping forward to challenge it. That moral argument was framed by a series of capital crimes allegedly committed by a justice system that was “systemically racist,” regularly targeting black Americans because of their skin color. The litany of victims from minority communities outraged a majority of Americans who had believed — or wanted to believe — that America had overcome its racial past and had put such legal lynchings behind it.
The overwhelmingly sympathetic response to the slogan “Black Lives Matter” contained an irony, however, that was widely ignored: if Americans of all hues, including white, responded so eagerly and so generously to this cry for social justice, how could the indictment be anywhere close to true?
The indictment is formally stated on the Black Lives Matter web page in these stark and uncompromising words: “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.”
“Black Lives Matter” has become a mantra for “social justice” activists as a result of the campaign that Black Lives Matter’s cofounders launched in 2013 following the 2012 shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin, whose killer was acquitted in a trial that many saw as a miscarriage of justice. During the ensuing seven years of the Black Lives Matter campaign, its accusations have caused a sea change in the attitudes of people one would not have associated with political causes, let alone such inflammatory ones.
In early May 2020, weeks before the death of George Floyd, a black jogger named Ahmaud Arbery was tracked and accosted by a retired police officer and his son who suspected that Arbery was a burglar. In the scuffle that accompanied their attempt to make a “citizen’s arrest,” Arbery was shot and killed. The perpetrators of this vigilante act were arrested and charged with murder. The extreme reaction to the case was the harbinger of the violent summer ahead. On May 6, black sports icon and centi-millionaire LeBron James tweeted this response to what had happened: “We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent. . . .”
Five months later, another national sports icon, former National Basketball Association great Bill Russell, published a long essay claiming that “Racial injustice is rampaging throughout every sector of American society. . . . Black kids today don’t grow up worried the Klan will kill them in the middle of the night—they worry the police will. . . .” Like James, Russell didn’t bother to provide any statistics showing that cops are killing black kids in the middle of the night—or at any hour in the day.
The only facts Russell alleged to support his indictment were these:
America is not the land of the free when Black people have to worry that they will be murdered in their sleep like Breonna Taylor. America is not the land of the free when Black people have to worry that a police officer will kneel on their necks for eight minutes and 46 seconds [sic] like they did to George Floyd, until the life was choked out of him. America is not the land of the free when Black children can’t play with a toy gun without fear of being murdered like Tamir Rice. America is not the land of the free when Black people have to worry about being hunted down and murdered while out on a jog like Ahmaud Arbery. America is not the land of the free when Black people have to worry about being shot in the back in front of their children like Jacob Blake. America is not the land of the free when Black people’s murderers always go free.
Russell’s last point is particularly odd in light of the fact that Ahmaud Arbery’s white killers are in jail, and George Floyd’s arresting officers were immediately jailed, while O. J. Simpson, who murdered his white wife and a white stranger, was set free. Moreover, as the following examinations of the Black Lives Matter cases will show, Russell’s view of these incidents is far from accurate: Breonna Taylor was not “murdered in her sleep”; George Floyd was not “choked” by the knee on the side of his neck, where there is no windpipe; Tamir Rice’s tragic death did not come about because he was playing with anything that looked like a “toy gun”; and Jacob Blake was a sexual predator who chose to fight the armed officers who approached him with an arrest warrant, despite the fact that his children were in the car with him. The officer’s bullets hit him in the back because he had turned to lunge for a weapon under the driver’s seat of his vehicle.
Coming nearly sixty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Acts, and shortly after eight years of rule by a black president whose electoral victories were secured by white majorities among his supporters, the sweeping indictments of America’s attitudes toward its black citizens are hard to square with the reality of twenty-first-century America. In fact, there is not a crime statistic to support the harsh claims of a hunting season on blacks by police. The statistics show that more unarmed whites are killed by police every year than unarmed blacks; in some years, whites account for twice as many victims of police shootings as blacks.
The number of such cases, moreover, is minuscule for blacks as well as whites. Every year, more than 10 million arrests are made by police departments nationally. In 2019, 14 unarmed blacks and 25 unarmed whites were killed by police. Furthermore, it has been known for decades that white police are less likely than their black colleagues to shoot black suspects. As a 2001 Justice Department report stated that “when a white officer kills a felon, that felon is usually a white,” and “when a black officer kills a felon, that felon is usually a black.” Nor has anything changed in the years since then. In 2017, a study by John R. Lott and Carlisle E. Moody “found that black officers killed unarmed black suspects at a significantly higher rate than white or Hispanic officers.” And in 2018, a research team led by Charles Menifield, dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University, found that “white police officers actually kill black and other minority suspects at lower rates than we would expect if killings were randomly distributed among officers of all races,” while “nonwhite officers kill both black and Latino suspects at significantly higher rates than white officers.”
The Black Lives Matter indictment also flies in the face of all the statistics that show that America is a more inclusive, tolerant, and egalitarian society than ever—or than any other society with large ethnic minorities. Never in the history of nations has a previously oppressed minority like black Americans been so integrated into the dominant culture of a nation. This is manifest in the integration of blacks in the sports and entertainment cultures that captivate and inspire America’s youth. It can be seen in the sea of commercial advertisements that are eager to showcase integrated families and communities, which would be disastrous for sales if the claims of Black Lives Matter were even remotely true. And of course, America’s transracial present is manifest in the election—not once, but twice—of a black president, and in the appointments of black secretaries of state and national security advisers and attorneys general as chief law enforcement officials. No other nation can make a similar claim about its minority ethnic groups.
How would racist rampages conducted by police officials be possible with a black president, black attorneys general, black mayors, and black police chiefs? Black Lives Matter can’t answer these questions and doesn’t even recognize that they exist. Black Lives Matter’s strategic plan is to replace obvious realities with its litany of racial nightmares: innocent black lives struck down by racist officials who go unpunished because in a white supremacist world, black lives don’t matter.
The goal of the Black Lives Matter martyrs list is to put faces on the alleged victims, bring to life the memories of who they were, and generate outrage about the injustices allegedly done to them. The very fact that there is an ocean of such sympathy among Americans is a refutation of the claim that white America is indifferent to black lives. But this is an irony that goes unnoticed.
To generate the sympathy that justifies its rage — and its hate — Black Lives Matter calls on its supporters to “Say Their Names” — to remember the martyrs and secure justice for them. During the riots following George Floyd’s death, Oprah Winfrey, a Black Lives Matter supporter, commissioned twenty-six billboards featuring the likeness of Breonna Taylor, a prominent victim of police “murderers” according to the radical script. “Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged,” said each of the billboards.
Black Lives Matter is still promoting the myth of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” memorializing Michael Brown’s alleged surrender to police, who then allegedly murdered him in cold blood. Black Lives Matter persists in repeating this false version of events despite the fact that an extensive investigation of Michael Brown’s death by the Obama Justice Department, an agency headed by Eric Holder, who is black and described himself as “Obama’s wingman,” exonerated the officer whom Black Lives Matter calls a murderer, finding that he acted in self-defense.
Black Lives Matter continues to parade the “Hands Up” slogan, despite the fact that five black and two biracial eyewitnesses testified to police, the FBI, and a grand jury that Brown was charging the officer when he was shot.
Ignoring these facts, Black Lives Matter still insists that Brown was “murdered”— that he was surrendering with his hands up when he was killed. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” remains a signature slogan for Black Lives Matter. Despite the fact that it is pure fiction, it adorns T-shirts and other paraphernalia worn by professional athletes and celebrity supporters of the claim that blacks like Michael Brown are being murdered regularly because they are black.
The pages that follow describe the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement by examining the cases on its martyrs list. These examinations are an attempt to restore the actual circumstances of their deaths, thus performing the traditional but currently neglected work of providing due process to the accused: examining the evidence before drawing the conclusions. These examinations will show that while some of the Black Lives Matter cases reveal tragic errors of judgment, almost all involve resistance by known and armed criminals to warranted arrests. They will show, through examination of the details, that in the vast majority of cases the deceased would still be alive if they had simply obeyed police commands, and that the Black Lives Matter charges are reckless inventions unsupported by the facts.
Obviously, the ramifications of such a conclusion are grave: The worst civil insurrections in American history leading to billions of dollars in damages and scores of lost lives — both innocent and guilty — have been justified by a racial hoax. This hoax, as will become evident, has been perpetrated by anti-American radicals whose motives and goals have nothing to do with black lives’ mattering, or with racial equity or social justice.
Excerpted from I Can’t Breathe: How a Racial Hoax is Killing America by David Horowitz, available October 5.
David Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (formerly the Center for the Study of Popular Culture) and author of many books and pamphlets published over the last twenty years. Among them: Hating Whitey; Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left; The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America; and The End of Time.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.