This week, in yet another stunning display of utter ignorance, Tomi Lahren went on Twitter to compare the Black Lives Matter Movement to the KKK.
The tweet has since been taken down, but taking down such a divisive, ignoble and quite frankly idiotic position such as this one is tantamount to setting a house on fire and then throwing a cup of water at the burning visage with hopes of dousing the flames. You can’t make incendiary statements like this and think that erasing them changes the effects. It’s just ludicrous.
As foolish as Lahren is, she is neither the first nor the only person to make the comparison between BLM and the American terrorist organization known as the KKK. Both Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have attempted to draw parallels between the movement and the Klan. And once Sean and Bill have formed an opinion and made a decree, it becomes doctrine, worming its way into the conservative psyche were it incubates until it manifests as right wing “fact” on forums with burning crosses and silhouettes of men hoisting rifles. You know…micro-sites that ‘Real Americans’ like Joe Walsh frequent.
In any case, the entire comparison is absolutely asinine, and one has to wonder if people like Hannity, O’Reilly and Lahren are really that uneducated OR are simply pandering to the sympathies of a population that they know to be unenlightened about the horrors of American history in order to pay their own bills. I find it hard to believe that the man who researched and wrote Killing Lincoln would lack the ability to do honest research about the myriad atrocities that the KKK have meted out against communities of color for the past 150 years. I know Bill O’Reilly is a widely read man and I therefore am compelled to assume the latter. I know he is not ignorant, so that can only mean he is unscrupulous.
There are thousands – if not millions of ways BLM is nothing akin to the KKK, and those differences are counted in Black lives lost at white supremacists’ hands. For the sake of brevity, let’s just focus on these six:
The Klan is highly organized and efficient
In as much as it hurts to admit, we have to give the Klan props for its organizational skills. They are and always have been a well-oiled machine. When you come from the dominant class and majority race that controls resources, this is easy to do. It’s difficult to get the Black Lives Matters organization to respond to an email, but then they haven’t had 151 years of training, organizing and recruiting talent for their cause to facilitate the sort of efficiency the Klan has long exhibited.
Now, this may seem like a soft comparison, but it leads to the next point of differentiation which is…
Control of Resources
Structural economic oppression has been one of the KKK’s most effective tools in their terrorist agenda. Historically and repeatedly, Black American businesses and enterprises have been bombed, burned and sabotaged by white supremacist agents. Greenwood Ave, Chicago, Atlanta, Rosewood and even the nation’s capital, Washington DC have all been subjected to race riots and calculated destruction, reducing aspiring neighborhoods to rubble and blood. These are just a few examples of white destruction of Black property on a grand scale. Across the country, countless Black business owners would find themselves driven out of business or killed if their enterprise posed a threat to white prosperity.
Thomas Moss, grocer and friend of Ida B. Wells was lynched with two other men when their business posed a competitive threat to a white grocery store owner in the vicinity. Again, this is only one of numerous examples.
In order for BLM to be anything like the KKK, every white business owner MUST feel that they are under attack. They must feel that members of the Black community can and will harm them fiscally and physically at any moment…and will do so confidently and with impunity. The BLM chapter in New York would literally have to fire bomb 5th Avenue, the New York Stock Exchange and all of Wall Street to mirror the Klan.
That’s not what BLM wants. The group and all those loosely associated with it want equitable and fair treatment from financial institutions and gatekeepers, but this is not going to happen, realistically. The real truth is that until Black people begin making it a policy to spend exclusively (or primarily) in their own communities and supporting Black owned businesses, we will never have the power to neutralize the effects of this oppression.
Premise and policy of racial supremacy
The KKK was founded on the belief that white lives (where ‘white’ means Anglo-Saxon and Protestant), white culture, white religion, white hair (you get the picture) are superior to any person of color. This belief then became policy, affecting not just Black people, but Jews, Mexicans, Native Americans and even the Irish who were considered ‘Europe’s niggers’.
Every group of people feels that there is something inherently special about them…some differentiation that makes them better in one way or another. We can use the jollof wars as a harmless example, if you like. However it is only whiteness that has historically had the power to turn that belief into federal or state policy.
Not too long ago in America’s history, a Black person of either gender could find themselves scourged or maimed for looking a white person in the eye when addressing them. As an inferior, unequal being, you did not reserve the right to eye contact with your betters. Black people were restricted from using public amenities, shopping in particular establishments, and even had their clothing policed. Klan members and the silent, complicit white majority ensured that these codes were strictly enforced.
BLM has no such policy-making abilities. As a Black woman, I have no right to walk up to a white guy and snatch their Sperry boat shoes off his feet because wearing them constitutes a violation of Pig and Jim Crow laws.
Furthermore, all white men/women/children would have to be conditioned to not just fear Blackness, but to understand that offending Black sensibilities could result in the loss of life, property or liberty. There would never be justice because white folk would be too afraid to speak up against atrocities. Intimidation would be the order of the day. A culture of silence and relying on the supernatural to intervene where the law has failed would become the order of the day.
How did the Klan assist with this conditioning? Because….
The Ku Klux Klan, especially in the South, was the beneficiary of state funded financial and political support. In fact, the Democrat party was run by the KKK in the early part of the 20th century. Political kingmakers like Leander Perez (who infamously quoted as saying, ‘The best way to hate a nigger is to hate him before he is born.”), Senator Robert Byrd and David Duke are just a handful of state and federal legislators who were active members of the KKK. I know of no BLM member who enjoys such clout and even if they did, I doubt they would condone, order and facilitate the type of devastation this Good Ol’ Boy network exacted against communities of color. And before you say it, one lone wolf sniper in Texas maketh a policy of widespread terror not.
Which leads us to the final distinction:
The KKK’s policy of employing extreme physical violence
Until BLM protesters begin firebombing white establishment homes, dragging white men from their beds and hanging them in the town square, raping white women and girls, some as young as 12, or mowing down entire neighborhoods under a hail of gun fire, even as residents flee… Until that becomes not only policy but an actionable plan, this comparison is disingenuous. It’s actual BS. The KKK is a terrorist organization, tolerated by the majority of liberal white America because it has never affected them. That tolerance has allowed them to morph and reorganize like a cancer. You can’t compare a couple of unarmed kids with placards and slogans to men on horseback, pick up trucks and nooses to the latter.
All Black Lives Matter protestors want is for the state sanctioned and murder of Black people to stop. How is this hard for such a large population of the country to understand? White people should all be grateful that African Americans have been so longsuffering and forgiving this far. Trust me, you don’t want the tables turned and the shoe firmly affixed on the other foot. Neither do we. It takes too much effort and energy to oppress another group. In the words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that.