The two columns concerning Black Lives Matter highlight the importance of research. Millions of Americans have participated in typically peaceful protests in support of BLM, and as Jean Hastings Ardell points out in her column, the group and its supporters are people of varying persuasions who believe in the ideals of racial equality. BLM is a decentralized network of chapters across the United States. Jennifer Zeiter’s assertions read like fear-mongering innuendos. Fact-checking shows she is wrong about how BLM is coordinated and what it stands for. That 30-second clip bandied all over the internet of Patrisse Cullor’s “trained Marxist” comment is not evidence of an imminent overthrow of democracy. Ms. Ardell’s column rightly points out that such goals are nowhere on the BLM platform. The ten-minute interview that features that quote is available at therealnews.com/stories/pcullors0722blacklives. The interviewer asked if BLM might fizzle out, like Occupy Wall Street. Ms. Cullor’s response concerns her training as an organizer. She also says, “We’ve put out a political frame that’s about centering who we think are the most vulnerable of the Black community.” Let’s all remember to research further than the first five Google hits.
Ms. Zeiter also believes that systemic racism doesn’t exist. If people would only behave, she writes, work harder, be responsible, and just get over their victimhood, then they would prosper. At that point, she is “willing to work for change.” Perhaps the first work she might do is research systemic racism; she will find plenty of evidence that it exists. I agree with her that morals, work ethic, and personal responsibility are important for success. Systemic racism can still get in the way despite these character traits. She does not want to join the “white apologist parade.” Me, either. I think there is room for reflection, however, that being white offers an advantage in our society. That is an easy one to research.
What culture does she mean when she writes that BLM wants to “cancel our culture?” White culture? People of Color want to be heard, and we can make room in our nation for that without cancelling anything. Our country’s soul is at stake because of viewpoints like Ms. Zeiter’s. The late John Lewis said, “Be hopeful, be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Let us keep up the good fight.
Diane Harrison, Laguna Beach