This wasn’t the column I’d plan to write this week, but I couldn’t allow Dave Vance’s misinterpretation of the ongoing work and reporting the Washington Post is doing on police shootings to go unchallenged.
Nor could I allow his racist history of Black Lives Matter to go unchallenged. Yes, I called what he wrote racist, and this is why:
Since Emancipation, a portion of white society has been critical of every organization black people formed to fight for civil rights, equality and social justice.
According to white critics, these groups were/are nothing but anti-American, subversive, communist or good-for-nothing criminal organizations whose goal is poison the minds of good simple black folks against whites.
The only exceptions were ones connected with and endorsed by Booker T. Washington, the noted civil rights leader and educator.
Washington’s rise to prominence was because of his adherence to the racist doctrine of “separate but equal,” along with his practice of telling white people what they wanted to hear about what was good and bad for colored folks.
These days, black people who do and say what white folks want will get segments on the Fox network or juicy scraps/handouts from massa’s table.
From the group that met in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and formed the National Association of Colored People in 1909, to the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Urban League, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee and the Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter, the narrative has always been the same — these organizations are anti-American.
The other argument critics made then and now was there’s no way that newly freed slaves, barely educated blacks and not-as-intelligent-as-us “uppity” Negroes could create, organize and run an enterprise such as these without white people being behind the curtain pulling the strings.
Keeping with those practices, Dave does the same thing in his first sentence.
He makes no distinction between those peacefully protesting and those who are rioting and looting.
He uses the words riot and rioters before he mentions protesters, and never uses the word peaceful, which describes all the protests that the Floyd family participated in, as did a plethora of politicians, athletes, entertainers and other celebrities.
After misrepresenting the motives of most protestors, Dave then lies about the quickness in which the officers who murdered George Floyd were arrested and charged.
George Floyd was murdered on May 25, and the video shot by a teenaged witness is widely seen on social media and cable news that night and the following day. Later that same day, the protests in Minneapolis begin and the four officers are fired.
Four days after that, Derek Chauvin, the policeman seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his actions.
On June 3, the other three officers involved in the incident were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
There was nothing quick about the actions of those in power in Minneapolis. Had there been, the rioting and looting may not have occurred.
Dave calls Black Lives Matter a Marxist organization and attempts to diminish the intellect and abilities of the three black women who founded the organization by saying the women and the group are and is a front for un-American organizations.
In an interview on the realnews.com website from 2015, Patrisse Cullors, who admits to being a Marxist (so what), explains the purpose of BLM and gives the reasons to why the group was formed.
“I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk. We don’t necessarily want to be the vanguard of this movement.
“I think we’ve tried to put out a political frame that’s about centering who we think are the most vulnerable amongst the black community, to really fight for all of our lives.
“… The first place I’ll go is the origins come from a deep place of black love and black rage, both — Alicia (Garza), myself, and Opal (Tometi) feeling the impact of George Zimmerman being acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder, what that actually meant for our society, what that meant for this country to allow for this light-skinned, white-passing man to kill a young boy and get away with it.
“We knew this was going to have consequences far greater than that current moment. And so Black Lives Matter originates from a need to intervene in a 500-year story and a plan to kill and create havoc and chaos in black peoples’ lives.”
In an article from Rolling Stone magazine, Cullors say the first meeting came soon after Garza posted her “Love Letter to Black People” on Facebook. It included the phrase, “our lives matter ,”and Cullors reposted it with the hashtag Blacklivesmatter.
But the group they formed then was called Justice for Trayvon Martin Los Angeles. About the time they went to Ferguson, Mo., to protest for justice after the shooting death of Martin Brown by a police officer, the name was changed to Black Lives Matter.
Dave claims the Post database says there is no systemic racism in America and law enforcement. No, it doesn’t.
Here’s a portion of what the Post article really said, “The overwhelming majority of people killed are armed. Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white ….”
“Since the Post began tracking the shootings, black people have been shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates — both in terms of overall shootings and the shootings of unarmed Americans.
“The number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015, but whether armed or not, black people are still shot and killed at a disproportionately higher rate than white people ….
“White people, who account for 60 percent of the American population, made up 45 percent of those shot and killed by police. Black people make up 13 percent of the population, but account for 23 percent of those shot and killed by police.
“Hispanic people, who account for about 18 percent of the population, make up 16 percent of the people killed. For 9 percent of people, the Post was unable to determine their race ….
“In 2015, the first year the Post tallied these numbers, officers killed 94 unarmed people, the largest group among them black men: 38.
“The following year saw a large drop in the number of unarmed shootings, declining to 51, with 22 of those killed being white and 19 black. The number has remained relatively steady each year since.
“In 2019, 55 unarmed people were shot and killed by police, with white people accounting for 25 of them, while 14 of them were black.”
(Dave’s numbers for 2019 in his column are not the most recent listed on the paper’s website as of this writing).
Dave mixes in information from other places alongside the data from the Post article; some of it is from reputable sources, some not.
Go to the websites he mentions and come to your own conclusions.
In other places in the column, he lies about and uses statistics out of context and switches from percentages to real numbers in ways that fit his conservative right-wing white nationalist narrative.
This sentence is an example of what I mean, “Every year, criminals kill about 120-150 police officers.” Not true.
According to the statistics I read from the FBI website from 2010 through 2019, 511 officers were killed in the line of duty by assailants.
You don’t have to be as smart as a fifth grader to know that averages out to 51 a year. Nowhere near Dave’s 120-150.
The high number for police murders during that span was 72 in 2014.
And he doesn’t stop there. Here’s another example of Dave playing and lying with numbers, “And we know from FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics that every year, on average, about 35% of these police officers are killed by blacks (fbi.gov).” That’s misleading and doesn’t reflect the true percentages.
Of the 511 officers murdered during this time period, 199 or 39% of the killers were black and 303 or 59% were white.
In 2019, 48 officers were killed by assailants. Fifteen of those charged with their murders were black, 28 were white. That’s a little more than 30% for black ones and 58% for the white ones.
Do you think his failure to mention the percentage of killers that were white was just an oversight or purposeful?
Dave says that BLM is built on a lie by deviant socialists who spew their desire for black supremacy.
Isn’t it amazing that when people of color loudly challenge white supremacy, we are met with charges of wanting black supremacy?
An interesting version of the kid’s game “I know what I am, what about you,” don’t you think?
Attention people of good will, have you noticed that you all have shown up and protested with signs and others have shown up carrying assault weapons?
Holla, if you hear me or have read a recent column!
TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.