This may surprise some of my readers, but I have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests; however, I've also seen a dark side of the movement. For the sake of my anonymity I may not give exact dates or locations.
Now, if you came to this article expected either a full-throated defense of BLM, or a complete condemnation of the movement from a Conservative, you are going to be disappointed. This article is going to have nuance in it. I acknowledge that the average BLM supporter is fighting to correct a lot of real injustices in this country, but I also am disgusted with many of the tactics I've seen employed at the protests I've attended. This is almost certainly the first article in a series.
Let's start with the immediate event that made me want to write this article. Recently during a march I took place in we walked past a restaurant that had a deck outside. There were a bunch of people outside drinking beers and chatting. This one young blonde white woman was sitting there and she just rolled her eyes and started waving us past and we walked by. The leader of our protest decided to call her out after we had mostly walked by yelling at her "why are you waving?!?", then asking a series of questions about why she was racist, why she used her privilege to keep black people down, etc. A bunch of protesters start to film her and she and the man with her (presumably a boyfriend or husband) start asking to be left alone. She asks to make sure we get her face on camera. By now the whole march has stopped for this one woman. She begins to film the protesters back, at which point the leader says "No, you can't film us! You can't film our revolution!" and asks for a bunch of people with signs to surround her to block the video camera. The woman says this is harassment as she keeps being yelled at. Eventually the woman throws her beer at the crowd (just the liquid, she keeps holding the cup), and a member of the crowd grabs a nearby beer and throws the entire cup at her as she is walking away, almost hitting her in the head. The leader of the protest starts yelling at the police to arrest the woman, which they do not do.
To be clear, I think the blonde on the patio probably has some views I deeply disagree with. If a (fairly small) protest is passing you by, just ignore them for like one minute and they'll be gone. They have a right to freedom of speech and assembly. They also do have a right to film you - it is a public place. However, the protesters need to understand this goes both ways. She also has a right to be a dick and condescend to us as we pass by. She also has a right to film us, as we are a public protest on a public street. Instead, we created this big scene because we got annoyed and childish. Actually, most of us didn't take any part in that, but our leaders and a few overly enthusiastic people did.
And this wasn't a one off thing. We stopped again to yell at a couple at a restaurant later, although it did not escalate the same way because the people just calmly listened. Finally, we partially surrounded a woman who was filming us to block her phone with signs, until a police escort allowed her to move away.
This was all in one day. This was during a small protest in a small city. This is a tactic of this particular BLM group. This is mind-numbingly stupid.
So how did I become mixed up in all of this, since I clearly did not agree with it? Without writing a whole essay, let's just say that there is something wrong in a country where black people commonly get killed by the police without a good reason. Especially when this happens disproportionately to black people. There is something wrong in a country where black people get arrested at many times the rate of white people for crimes that are committed equally as often by both groups (take marijuana possession for example, where blacks get arrested about four times as often). There is something wrong in a country where black people who commit a crime are much more likely to get the death penalty for committing the same crime a while person did - even when they have the same criminal history. So in theory, I agree with BLM that there needs to be a lot of reform. Many proposed reforms would actually also help white people.
Still, tactics like this are guaranteed to turn people off from the movement, unless the only truth that gets out is highly edited videos. Unfortunately, that will probably be the case, this time.
Please follow for more commentary in the near future about my experiences. As always, I am left-leaning in politics, but highly support freed of speech and honesty. If we have to hide the truth we are doing something wrong.