The Comments Under Every “Black Lives Matter” Article and Why They’re Wrong
8/23/2016 by Dylan James Harper
Since its inception after the murder of Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter has been a lightning rod to comments sections everywhere. If the group is so much as mentioned in an article one can count on a flood of comments below, usually ranging from vague concern trolling (more on that later), to overt racism.
One of this young site’s articles, which was documenting musical artists who’ve recently stated their support for Black Lives Matter and social justice causes in general, saw a small wave of comments on Facebook geared at opposing Black Lives Matter. Let’s explore the types of comments, and refute them:
“BLM is a fraud. It's basically a lobby organization for criminals and losers and welfare recipients”
This is a fairly common comment to see in any Black Lives Matter post. The claim, if you can call it a claim, is that Black Lives Matter isn’t so much a civil rights organization as they are a lobby for those...on...welfare? I guess? I mean, it might seem like I’m taking on low hanging fruit here but this is what the comments are. They don’t get better from here. Anyway, this is pretty easily refuted as, not only do virtually all Black Lives Matter organizations focus on specifically the relationship between the black community and the justice system (so...not welfare), but more white individuals receive welfare than black individuals. It’s almost as if using a centuries old stereotype (and keep in mind, the whole “black individuals are lazy and don’t want to work” stereotype started popping up just around the time the trans Atlantic slave trade started to wind down; hard to imagine that’s a coincidence) isn’t a legitimate criticism.
“ALL lives matter”
Ah yes, the old all lives matter response. Another weird coincidence that the phrase popped up just around the time “Black Lives Matter” popped up. This has been pretty well refuted plenty of times, so I won’t spend much time on it, but just know that Glenn Beck, the guy who once got twenty-thousand people to come to an All Lives Matter rally, recently came out against the phrase, and explained it fairly well using a great analogy about pie. If you can’t be bothered to click on the links, here is the short answer: Black Lives Matter is in response to the apparent reckless abandon with which black lives are treated by individuals in positions of state authority, such as the police. All lives matter is a response to that from people who are uncomfortable with the word black.
“Looting!” (literally everywhere).
This is by far the most common comment I’ve seen on Black Lives Matter related articles. The accusation of looting, which is meant to imply that the group is either encouraging, actively participating in, or in at least allowing the practice of looting. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name comes up a lot in these types of comments, which is weird, as he called the “riot” the “language of the unheard” and specifically countered the looting argumentin a speech shortly before his death.
There’s a long history of looting being used as a buzzword in a racial context, be it the distinction between riots over sports teams winning vs. Civil Rights protests, or the famous Hurricane Katrina example of white people “finding” and black individuals “looting”. Looting happens. In a country with close to fifty million individuals living below the poverty line, looting is gonna occur from time to time. There is no research to suggest that Black Lives Matter has caused there to be any sort of increase in the amount of looting cases in the United States, and that’s honestly besides the point because even if that were the case (which, again, it is decidedly not), that doesn’t refute the ideology of Black Lives Matter. If someone says two and two make four, and then they go rob a store, two and two still make four. It’s a pretty standard ad hominem fallacy. It’s unfortunately behind a pay wall for those that don’t have access to a university library, but John Fiske has a really great paper on looting and race in the United States.
“...we still want to be unified.....although they have the constitutional right to stand up against what they believe is wrong...”
Well, finally, a commenter who at least respects Black Lives Matter’s right to free speech...whoops, nope, this was in response to a “White Lives Matter” group protesting the NAACP. It’s almost as if people are more willing to see a group gather around a race based cause if that cause is about white people. That can’t be though right? Let’s conduct some informal research.
I Googled “KKK BLM” and looked at the first news article that mentionedboth groups and had a comments section. Looking through the comments, whether one counts original comments, nested replies, likes, etc., at the time of writing this article, there was significantly more support or neutrality toward the KKK than their was toward Black Lives Matter. Think
about what the KKK is, and what it has been historically. This is a group founded by former Confederate army soldiers who murdered black leaders and their supporters in the South to try and maintain slavery. A group whose credited with hundreds of confirmed lynchings is more palatable in the comments section than Black Lives Matter. The link is below, look for yourself.
Find a similar article and recreate this experiment. Read the comments section of any article mentioning Black Lives Matter. There are many,many, many pieces of research done that demonstrate to anyone who is even slightly academically literate that systemic racism exists contemporarily, but if further proof was needed, the reaction to Black Lives Matter in any comments section will always exist.
Dylan James Harper is the Chief Political Editor at CSuiteMusic