Why Martin Luther King Jr. Would be Ashamed of the Black Lives Matter Movement
My argument will be why the Black Lives Matter movement is anti-Civil Rights and the con will argue why they think B.L.M fights for equality. First round is acceptance, second round is presenting your point of view, and third round will be rebuttal arguments. Must provide credible sources. If you do not take this debate seriously, you forfeit the argument.
Thank you for posting this debate, I do wish it were longer however, as this is a complex topic that I feel will take longer than 3 rounds to understand this issue in full. I do accept the rules set out by the Pro and look forward to an interesting debate.
I will be arguing that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and that the Black Live Matter movement is actually the next wave in the struggle for civil rights in America.
The term "Black Lives Matter" promote a segregated outlook on general violence in a community; separating "black lives" from "all lives" creates a widely accepted belief that many of the supports believe that when it comes to violence, it only matters when it is against a black person. I recognize that this was not the goal of the group; however the ideology has been greatly twisted and warp largely in part to the biased media representation and the lack of want to explain what the group stands for to the general population. Leading a protest but lacking a good enough explanation as to why you are leading it other than the fact that it"s because of "racism" is counterproductive. Chanting "Pigs in a blanket, fry em" like bacon" is not a great way to non-violently protest against cop brutality.
Similarly to the chant above, the words "Black Power" was widely used during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Martin Luther King Jr. described the phrase as "essentially an emotional concept"" that meant ""different things to different people, but he worried that the slogan carried ""connotations of violence and separatism"" and opposed its use (King, 32; King, 14 October 1966). After what was meant to be a peaceful protest conducted by James Meredith and Stokely Carmichael of the Student NON-violent coordinating committee, when asked about the phrase "Black Power" Carmichael gave a disturbing answer of how white men who knew power needed to be brought to their knees to feel the power of the black man.
Although he originally worked with Malcolm X to help the Civil Rights movement, King was clearly fighting a different fight. King believed in a future where blacks and whites would stand together as a brotherhood while Malcolm X believed in blacks taking control of their own lives; they both differed on the use of violence and the roles of white people in the Civil Rights movement. By using the slogan "Black Lives Matter", the group ignores its "self-destructive behavior". Rather than following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. and asking to stop cop brutality against any race, fighting for equality between all of those who feel oppressed, the BLM movement has segregated only a single race and fight for their rights solely while ignoring the facts and statistics that show that where the real problem lies: in their own community.
The arguments put forward by the Pro show a profound lack of understanding of the history of the civil rights movement, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The pro contends that "Black Lives Matter" segregates black lives from all lives and that the movement only cares about the lives of Black People. This argument however has no bearing. This argument is based on the notion it should truly be "all lives matter", but this argument is a non-sequiter. To quote comedian Felonious Munk ""If I break my leg, I do not want the doctor telling me, 'All legs should be healed.' I want the doctor to fix my leg."
To say that black lives matter is exclusionary, and that it should really be "All Lives Matter" is nothing more than a red herring. It is a way of ignoring the issues of race and racism in our society, what some have called "Willful Color Blindness". BLM does not say that Only black lives matter, it is saying in our society, black lives, effectively, do not matter. When you examine the racial divide in the US it becomes abundantly obvious that black lives are not valued like white lives. Affluent black people live in poorer neighborhoods than whites with working class incomes. White people (65% of the US) hold around 88% of the wealth in the US, while black people (13%) hold around 2.5% of the wealth. People with black sounding names are 50% less likely to be called back for a job interview. Black people are twice as likely to be pulled over by the police for minor infractions. While black people and white people do drugs at about the same rate, black people are 4 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession. Black people are incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white people. And unarmed black people are twice as likely to be killed by police than white people. In the words of Dr. King, "All of this reveals to us that we have not achieved the level of brotherhood—we have not achieved the brotherhood that we need and that we must have in our nation. We still have a long, long way to go."
The Pro claims the movement has had its message twisted, however this is clearly not the case because BLM has 10 demands that they have released and have consistently been demanding. And thus this claim has not real grounding.
The Pro presents a sanitized version of Dr. King, the version commonly presented in America today. Dr. King did not present himself as a moderate, he was a radical. While Dr. King was committed to non violence, and said "violence begets violence", however when he was asked about the idea of black power he said:
I contend that the cry of "black power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.
King Further said that you cannot look to the oppressor to liberate the oppressed.
The history of Malcolm X presented by the Pro is also wholly inaccurate, because early on Malcolm X was a black separatist and a member of the Nation of Islam, a black supremacist group, and highly critical of Martin Luther King Jr. Towards the end of his life he founded Organization for Afro-American Unity and renounced racism in all its forms. The Malcolm and MLK only began to agree with each other in the years before Malcolm’s death, and even proposed joining forces on one occasion, Malcolm’s death prevented this. Before his death Malcolm also accepted that white people should be able to help the black struggle, but that the BLACK struggle must be led by BLACK people. As time went on King began to become more like Malcolm. On a number of occasions in 1967 and 1968, Dr. King was photographed wearing buttons which said "Black is Beautiful", the motto of the Black Nationalist movement. While King did not embrace Black power, he began to embrace the Black liberation movement (not to be confused with the Black Liberation Army, the violent offshoot of the Black Panthers).
The Black Lives Matter movement is much the same way. It is in this way the ideological descendant of both Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X.
This parrallel is only furthered when we examin Dr. King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail".
While the Pro contends that Dr. King called for moderation and peace, however this view is what King felt was perhaps the greatest obstacle for the civil rights movement to overcome. In the letter King said:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
The con also highlights the problems within the Black Community itself, his source specifically mention murder rates and black on black crime. This is nothing more than a red herring. By highlighting this issue and focusing solely on this, we ignore the issues at hand. By focusing on this, we allow ourselves to ignore the issues of systemic racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, police militarization, racial profiling, and white privilege. It also must be said that we have only taken notice of the issue of crime in black communities when it serves as a distraction from these issues I listed above, yet on almost every other day of the year we brush this issue under the rug.
When we look to Dr King's words yet again, we find that Dr. King would not agree with what the Pro has stated. In a recently discovered speech Dr. King gave in London, just before he recieved the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King remarked that the problems of crime are actually the results of racist society we live in.
Those people who argue against integration at this point often say, "Well, if you integrate the public schools, for instance, you will pull the white race back a generation." And they like to talk about the cultural lag in the Negro community. And then they go on to say, "Now, you know, the Negro is a criminal, and he has the highest crime rate in any city that you can find in the United States." And the arguments go on ad infinitum why integration shouldn’t come into being.
But I think there’s an answer to that, and that is that if there is cultural lag in the Negro community—and there certainly is—this lag is there because of segregation and discrimination. It’s there because of long years of slavery and segregation. Criminal responses are not racial, but environmental. Poverty, economic deprivation, social isolation and all of these things breed crime, whatever the racial group may be. And it is a torturous logic to use the tragic results of racial segregation as an argument for the continuation of it. It is necessary to go back. And so it is necessary to see this and to go all out to make economic justice a reality all over our nation.
While the official legal segregation may have gone away, institutional racism still exists and the issues that King addresses are the same today as they were 50 years ago.
The original recording full text of the speech can found here.
The term "Black Lives Matter" promote a segregated outlook on general violence in a community; separating "black lives" from "all lives" creates a widely accepted belief that many of the supports believe that when it comes to violence, it only matters when it is against a black person. I RECOGNIZE THAT THIS WAS NOT THE GOAL OF THE GROUP; however the ideology has been greatly twisted and warp largely in part to the biased media representation and the lack of want to explain what the group stands for to the general population.
Promoting an "All Lives Matter" fight is not a way of ignoring the issues of race and racism in our society it is a way to prevent any further division amoung the races. The real issue is the willful ignorance of the black community to ignore where the real problem lies: in their own homes. Black people in the United States are more likely to be victims of violent confrontations with police officers than whites because they commit more violent crimes than whites per capita.
" FACT: Despite making up just 13% of the population, blacks commit around half of homicides in the United States. DOJ statistics show that between 1980 and 2008, blacks committed 52% of homicides, compared to 45% of homicides committed by whites. More up to date FBI statistics tell a similar story. In 2013, black criminals carried out 38% of murders, compared to 31.1% for whites, again despite the fact that there are five times more white people in the U.S.
" FACT: From 2011 to 2013, 38.5 per cent of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black. This figure is three times higher than the 13% black population figure. When you account for the fact that black males aged 15-34, who account for around 3% of the population, are responsible for the vast majority of these crimes, the figures are even more staggering.
" FACT: Despite the fact that black people commit an equal or greater number of violent crimes than whites, whites is almost TWICE as likely to be killed by police officers. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, between 1999 and 2011, 2,151 whites died as a result of being shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks.
" FACT: Despite being outnumbered by whites five to one, blacks commit eight times more crimes against whites than vice-versa, according to FBI statistics from 2007. A black male is 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse. These figures also show that interracial rape is almost exclusively black on white. "Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied," wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their widely cited 1985 study, "Crime and Human Nature." "Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be over-represented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes."
Poverty does not drive a person to become a criminal, poor choices drive someone to become a criminal. Stealing food to feed your family is not the same thing as stealing cigarillos from a convenience store and physically assaulting the store operator when they try to stop you which is what we saw in the Michael Brown case. To claim that black people who commit crimes are wrongfully incarcerated because they had a rough past of being brought up in a poor community is a poor excuse. I have known poverty for more than half my life and yet it has not driven me to commit an act of violence against someone else. And although poorer communities have statistically poor educational institutes, it still does not provide an excuse to be poorly educated. We live in the most technologically advanced age with the most access to free information through the use of personal or public internet access which can be found nearly anywhere: there is nothing holding someone back who wants to break the cycle of poverty from doing their best to make sure that they are educated and prepared for the real world but themselves.
It"s true that while when it comes to the average white American they make more money than the average black American, but these statistics do not include celebrities, a large group of which are black athletes that make hundreds of millions of dollars by playing a sport. As for the statistics presented below in concern with job applications, this is an utterly false statement presented by a biased liberal media. First of all there is a federal law that strictly forbids employers to allow this kind of discrimination:
"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered. The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits."
As far as my "sanitized" version of Dr. King, I am not sure where you are getting your quotes because I got mine from his official biography. As far as the quote you used, you have taken it out of context by not completing the statement made by Dr. King which goes on to say that "although King was hesitant to criticize Black Power openly, he told his staff on 14 November 1966 that Black Power ""was born from the wombs of despair and disappointment. Black Power is a cry of pain. It is in fact a reaction to the failure of White Power to deliver the promises and to do it in a hurry." The cry of Black Power is really a cry of hurt"" (King, 14 November 1966). As the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and other civil rights organizations rejected SNCC and CORE"s adoption of Black Power, the movement became fractured. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Black Power became the rallying call of black nationalists and revolutionary armed movements like the Black Panther Party, and King"s interpretation of the slogan faded into obscurity."
Malcolm and Dr. King greatly criticized each others work but avoided public confrontation so as to not distract the population from the real issue which was Civil Rights. "Despite his repeated overtures to King, Malcolm did not refrain from criticizing him publicly. "The only revolution based on loving your enemy," Malcolm told an audience in 1963, "is the Negro revolution"That"s no revolution" (Malcolm X, "Message to the Grass Roots," 9)."
As far as Con is concerned, he has pulled his so-called "statistics" from several unreliable and unbiased sources. While most media outlets are biased especially when it comes to politics, it"s not an effective way to argue by using these as a sole base for your information. Personally, I wouldn't solely base my references on these, but rather back them up with UN-opinionated official sites that show statistics in a non-biased way. CNN and YouTube are not reliable sources of information and the BBC is a British network that cannot accurately given an account of on-goings in the United States.
The Pro claims that I do not understand the basis of his argument, however the Pro has not addressed the actual grievances that BLM has or any of their goals, simply making the lofty claim its supporters have "misinterpreted its ideology". He links this directly to his argument that it should really be "All lives matter", which as I have previously stated is nothing more than a red herring and a non sequiter.
To reiterate the point that this is a non sequiter, I will once again quote comedian Felonious Munk "If I break my leg, I do not want the doctor telling me, 'All legs should be healed.' I want the doctor to fix my leg."
The Pro-Reiterates the red herring, pointing to murder in the black community and violent crime, however I will AGAIN point to Dr. King's own words on this issue:
"Those people who argue against integration at this point often say, "Well, if you integrate the public schools, for instance, you will pull the white race back a generation." And they like to talk about the cultural lag in the Negro community. And then they go on to say, "Now, you know, the Negro is a criminal, and he has the highest crime rate in any city that you can find in the United States." And the arguments go on ad infinitum why integration shouldn’t come into being.
But I think there’s an answer to that, and that is that if there is cultural lag in the Negro community—and there certainly is—this lag is there because of segregation and discrimination. It’s there because of long years of slavery and segregation. Criminal responses are not racial, but environmental. Poverty, economic deprivation, social isolation and all of these things breed crime, whatever the racial group may be. And it is a torturous logic to use the tragic results of racial segregation as an argument for the continuation of it. It is necessary to go back. And so it is necessary to see this and to go all out to make economic justice a reality all over our nation."
This was the argument Dr. King made himself, and while the Pro may disagree, this only goes to further my point that Dr. King would be a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
And while the Pro makes the claim poverty does not have any link to crime, the evidence actually says the opposite, and poverty is actually closely tied with violent crime.
The Pro also rebuts the fact that black people make less than white people by saying there are many black athletes who make millions, however this argument makes no sense and addressing it only further proves my point. First, what is being discussed is average wages, not outliers like millionaires and billionaires. Additionally, these outliers only further prove my point, as the number of white people who make the same amount utterly dwarf the number of black people. If you look to the Forbes 400, only 1 of them is African American.
While federal law outlaws discrimination in hiring, that does not change the facts of the study, which is not a false statement presented by the "Liberal media", it was a study conducted by researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research in conjunction with the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
As to Dr. King himself, the quote I used about Black power was actually used in the same interview as the quote used by the Pro, as highlighted in my article from CBS news. I never did say that Dr. King embraced Black power, quite the opposite infact, I simply stated he acknowledged the genuine grievances that its supporters had.
The Pro also does not actually addressed the argument I have made about Dr. King and Malcolm X, and I encourage the Pro to reread this argument and the source I cited as well.
I would like to point to the Pro's negation to my sources as "biased" and his allegations that I made up the quotes from Dr. King, However this is utterly ridiculous. My sources for Kings words are all provided. I will repost them simply for clarification.
Furthermore the Pro claims that the sources I have used are "biased", however the con has cited the Project 21-Black Conservative Leadership Network, Infowars, the website of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and American Renaissance, an openly white separatist publication which is recognized as a white supremacist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. In addition to this, the Pro relies heavily on cherry picked (usually posted verbatim) quotes from the King encyclopedia, claiming it contradicts the points I have made. The reality is however that these citations do not actually contradict my contentions and when weighed alongside the evidence I have provided, they actually support my case.
In conclusion, the Pro claims that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would agree with him and would be ashamed of the Black lives matter movement. However when we look to King's own words, we see that Dr. King would actually be a supporter of the black lives matter movement. Dr. King's words show us that BLM is a continuation of the civil rights struggle of the past. It is a struggle to make lives which do not matter to our society finally matter. It is a fight not to elevate one group above another, it is a fight to make one life on par with another. The con claims that really it should not be "Black Lives Matter" but "All Lives Matter", but until black lives matter to our society, all lives do not matter.