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Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 19, 2020

The BLM Straw Man

The phrase “black lives matter” assumes that Americans reject the humanity of black people.

The reality of being a human is that we are each individuals with our own unique lived experiences or histories. No matter what those experiences are — no matter our sex, the color of our skin, or our cultural background — we all share the universal experience of being human.

This reality was recognized by our nation’s founders when they declared that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The great American experiment rests on the belief that recognizing the individuality of humanity will serve to reinforce the commonality of humanity. Thus, racism, as it was originally defined and not by the new neo-Marxist definition, is ultimately anathema to the American worldview. Contrary to the Left’s revisionist history, the United States was birthed not out of racism but rather out of a commitment to protecting that universal human trait we all share in common — our individuality.

When the phrase “black lives matter” first began being widely espoused following the death of Michael Brown, many Americans had a similar reaction: “Of course they do. Who says they don’t?” Many Americans responded to the refrain by saying that “all lives matter.”

By responding with “all lives matter,” those Americans were instinctively rejecting the racist straw man the leftist BLM activists had created. This also explains why the BLM movement initially failed to gain much traction. Leftists insisted upon a racist narrative that did not comport with the individual life experiences of the vast majority of Americans, who believe that judging others based upon skin color is racist and wrong.

But suddenly, upon the unjust death of George Floyd, BLM’s straw man has been embraced by many across the country as a universal defining “truth.” In fact, this narrative has been so widely accepted by popular culture that to even challenge it by insisting that all lives matter is decried as “racist” and “dehumanizing” of black people. Did Americans’ understanding of what constitutes racism suddenly change overnight? Not likely. The reason for this sudden shift appears to be more socioeconomic and political than definitional.

This reality is borne out in a recent Rasmussen survey, which found that roughly 60% of Americans believe the statement “all lives matter” more closely matches their beliefs than does the statement “black lives matter.” Even when broken down among racial demographics, the majority prefer “all lives matter.” Interestingly, 53% of Americans making $200,000 or more favored “black lives matter,” while 67% of Americans earning $30,000 to $50,000 choose “all lives matter.” Not surprisingly, 55% of those who disapprove of President Donald Trump prefer “black lives matter,” while 63% of those who are on the fence about the president and 77% of Trump supporters prefer “all lives matter.”

So, irrespective of all the media, political, and religious leaders currently kowtowing to the BLM straw man, it appears that Regular Joes have not lost sight of what this country is really all about. Common sense says that to be against racism, one starts with viewing others first as unique individuals like themselves and, as such, as part of collective humanity. Elevating group identity over that of individuality will result in the very racism and dehumanization the “woke” Left claims to be fighting.

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