A Better Direction for Black Lives Matter
Rather than scapegoat police, why not focus on bad schools and job-killing regulations?
Will Black Lives Matter soon suffer the fate of other separatist “black power” movements in the 1920s and 1960s, which captured America’s attention for a period but ultimately did little to help advance the black underclass?
The Black Lives Matter movement got its start after George Zimmerman’s 2013 acquittal for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin and found its footing a year later when Michael Brown was shot dead after attacking a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. By 2016, BLM activists were being hosted by President Obama and disrupting campaign events for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Today, major news organizations such at National Public Radio and the Washington Post turn to BLM representatives for comment on race-related stories.
An obituary for a movement that has become so prominent so fast seems premature, but a recent BuzzFeed article that included interviews with dozens of BLM-linked activists was pessimistic about the group’s future. Factions have formed, infighting is common and objectives are unclear. “Black Lives Matter is still here. Its groups are still organizing. But Black Lives Matter is on the verge of losing the traction and momentum that sparked a national shift on criminal justice policy,” wrote reporter Darren Sands. And “activists largely agreed that the identity of the movement, its existential purpose and aim, remains unresolved.”
Some BLM leaders want to integrate political institutions further. Others want the organization to expand its focus to immigrants’ rights. Still others want to create a society “free from pain being inflicted on it by police, racist structures, and capitalism.” Apparently, there are places in the world where blacks living in noncapitalist societies are thriving in comparison with their U.S. brethren.
On a certain level, the decision by BLM activists to....
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal