BLM demands

The Black Lives Matter organization is starting to make demands of businesses. If any business doesn’t comply, BLM will make every effort to send their customers elsewhere. Perfectly legal, but a shakedown nonetheless.

When they started taking down statues they said that they weren’t trying to erase history. But now leaders in one state want to do that; get rid of history textbooks until one that is not “unfair” to women and minorities can replace it. But these days, you must ask what “unfair” means.

Mentioned links:

BLM issues demands for cut of Louisville business profits, threatens boycotts, sit-ins

Chicago-Area Leaders Call for Illinois to Eliminate History Classes [Bad headline; not calling for eliminating classes, just textbooks]

Vermont farmer returns prosthetic leg that skydiver lost during jump

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Show transcript

The Black Lives Matter protests that have been going on since the death of George Floyd at the hands (or actually the knee) of a cop were meant to shine a light on police brutality, especially regarding people of color. That’s why they marched and that’s why some of them rioted.

So that’s where we started, and as I’ve said many times I believe most of the country was behind that cause as well, to at least see how often this happened and to help keep police accountable. On this there was much unity.

That was over 2 months ago, this is now. Black Lives Matter protesters in Louisville, KY have issued demands to businesses in the city’s East Market District in order to correct the “lack of representation” of non-whites and “liberate” people of color. In a letter addressed to “Business Owners and Stakeholders in NuLu business district” with a subject line of “Reparations and Representation,” the Louisville BLM affiliate has presented a list of demands. They include:

  • 23% of staff should be black in Front of House positions
  • 23% of inventory should be from black retailers, or give a monthly contribution to black local organizations
  • Dress code policy does not discriminate against black patrons and employees
  • Mandated “diversity and inclusion training” for all employees
  • Displays of left-wing messaging to support “reparations”

This they are free to demand. They are also free to threaten noncompliance with these actions they listed.

  • A reduction in Racial Index Score to the Better Business Bureau.
  • Notification, via all social media platforms, of non-compliance.
  • A public boycott, coordinated through social media and mail announcements, of the specific establishment and any other business ventures under the same ownership.
  • A visible, media-covered demonstration or sit-in outside the establishment.
  • Placement of booths or tables outside the establishment where competing black proprietors will offer items comparable to those offered by the establishment.

Again, as long as all this is within the law, they are free to do all of this; demand action and threaten repercussions. In addition, businesses are free to comply or not, and customers are free to patronize or avoid those businesses.

What I wonder about is how close this comes to a good, old fashioned shakedown. “Nice business ya’ got there. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.” Again, as long as this is all legal, there’s no problem, but is this a good look? Is the message that, since George Floyd died, you must visibly support a political stance that will cost about $6 quadrillion (literally)? And I look at these rioters and wonder if they’d show up to send a message themselves; after all, that’s what they do.

This is what we call “mission creep”. And it’s also the difference between the phrase “black lives matter” and the organization Black Lives Matter. The organization has hijacked the phrase to implement their own policies that have nothing to do with police brutality.

Again, as I’ve said, the unity we had is being squandered. Let’s fix what we agree needs fixing. Otherwise, the avalanche of demands will serve only to pull us apart.

Seems like it was just yesterday when rioters were tearing down statues. Actually, just about any time in the next week or so when you listen to this, it probably happened somewhere in the country yesterday. When this whole statue-pulling-down started, critics cried, “Stop erasing history!” to which the supporters replied that they weren’t “erasing” history, just taking down offensive statues.

A minute later, they are indeed trying to erase history. Illinois State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (because of course Illinois), representing himself and other state leaders, wants to take history books out of the schools until they don’t “overlook” women and minorities. Now it’s been a year or two since I left elementary school, but I remember learning about Madame Currie, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and Maxine Nightengale. (Oh wait, that’s Florence the nurse vs.Maxine the singer.) Nonetheless, if we need to shift some of the focus, that’s certainly worth looking into and fixing.

But essentially he wants to erase history, or at least history textbooks, until they no longer, in his words, “unfairly communicate” history. Now I’d be willing to have that discussion as soon as we know what he considers “unfair”. The reason I say that is that there are many words being thrown around these days that come with loaded definitions that you may not be aware of when you speak them. For example, Joe Biden said that if an African-American was thinking of voting for Trump, “then you ain’t black.” Clearly there’s more to the definition of “black” than I was aware of.  I was told recently that the definition of “anti-racism” doesn’t just mean that you are against racism but that you are specifically for all sorts of specific changes to the criminal justice system as well as wealth redistribution, and if I disagree with any of those items, or even if I want to implement them in what I think is a better way, then I’m not really anti-racist, or maybe I’m “anti-anti-racist”. Yup, the redefinition or overloading of words is all the rage, so I really want to know what “unfair” means – this week.

After all, some of this might hinge on what the meaning of the word “is” is, right? So yes, let’s consider a rebalancing of history books, and maybe not chuck them all out just yet, so long as the word “unfair” doesn’t mean “disagrees with my agenda”.

Meanwhile, Chris Marckres, of Hyde Park, Vermont, lost a leg in a skydiving accident. Literally, he lost one of his prosthetic legs after having jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Upon landing, and after the adrenaline rush, I’m sure he quickly realized he’d lost some weight. But fortunately, after putting out the word on social media, a soybean farmer found it outstanding in his field.

Filed under: Economics & TaxesEducationRace Issues