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Michael Swartz / Sep. 4, 2020

The Real Root Cause of BLM Violence

In the post-Civil Rights era, it's hard to imagine a time when real racism was rampant.

Despite what Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and other misguided folks might think, this hasn’t been a “summer of love.” Instead, it’s been a summer of destruction, as the alliance of antifa and Black Lives Matter has stoked violence, property damage and theft, and loss of life.

Race-based unrest is nothing new, of course. Boomers and Generation Xers are old enough to recall the Rodney King riots in 1992, but the trend has accelerated in the last decade with violence breaking out in Ferguson and Baltimore when Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, respectively, died at the hands of police officers. Later, we had the anger in Charlottesville over the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. This reintroduced a battle over slavery that most of us thought had been resolved 150 years ago.

The angst and anger shows just how little our youth are being taught about the progress we’ve made in the area of racial equality. In just the lifetime of their grandparents, we’ve gone from a Jim Crow South to a world where minorities are represented in all walks of life and all rungs on the economic ladder. Instead, our young people appear to be listening to the same voices who gave us the horribly revisionist 1619 Project, which depicts an irredeemably racist America bent on holding down its black citizens. The author of this project noted recently that she would be “honored” if this summer’s mayhem became known as the 1619 Riots.

The roots of that approach to history, though, trace back to a time when our nation was well aware of the Civil Rights movement and all the reforms put into place despite Southern Democrats’ objections. In a little over a decade, our nation threw out decades-old “separate but equal” legal precedent, expanded enforcement of voting rights, and bent over backward to make sure minorities got a fair shake.

Even with all that success, however, there remained a group of academics who were skeptical about whether systemic racism could be eliminated. As writer John Murawski reveals, “Contemporary culture is being shaped by critical race theory, a movement born in law schools in the 1970s, influenced by Marxists, French post-modernists, the Black Power cause, radical feminists and other disaffected leftist scholars. It quickly spread to throughout the humanities and social sciences, shaping a generation of students who now hold positions of influence in academia, public school systems, corporate HR departments, publishing, the media, and, of course, Black Lives Matter — the latter prominent in current street protests against police abuses and racism.”

Murawski’s lengthy treatise looks at several sides of the “deeply pessimistic” critical race theory (CRT) issue, which arose in the wake of civil rights reforms. Asking in their best Peggy Lee voice, “Is that all there is?” these early law school adoptees of CRT eventually became the attorneys, judges, and academics who taught a generation of impressionable minds that whites can be nothing but racist no matter what measures the law takes to level the playing field. (Murawski has also written at length about the adoption of the 1619 Project, making him rather an expert in the grievance industry.) This may come as a surprise to the Millennials who were arguably our most colorblind generation ever. Now that generation and its younger Generation Z cohorts are recommitted to dividing us by race.

But back when we had real racism, Booker T. Washington aptly summed up what would become the CRT industry by stating, “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

Those of us who still believe that the content of our character matters have been dumbfounded at how quickly the CRT race hustlers have seized control of the racial narrative.

No one is saying we shouldn’t have a conversation about race, but let’s be sure we’re paying homage to the progress as well as the pitfalls.

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