Armstrong Williams: If Black Lives Really Mattered…

The radio host and conservative commentator, who reportedly has become a significant influence in the so-far surprisingly successful Ben Carson campaign, delivers a crowd-pleaser in noting how badly the #BlackLivesMatter movement fails to address the pressing issues in the black community

The political strategy of the Black Lives Matter movement is also counterproductive. By protesting and disrupting mainstream Democratic presidential candidates—such as the recent breakup of a Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Seattle—the movement is demonstrating that it does not have the organizational sophistication to form strategic alliances that would ultimately beget political power.

Furthermore, movement leaders do not seem to understand that making such unreasonable demands of individual politicians risks splintering the unity they would need to keep the White House under Democratic control in 2016. These shortsighted tactics are bound to backfire as Republicans pick up independents and undecided voters who might justifiably object to some of the behavior of the activists. Under such a scenario, blacks would probably get the worst of both worlds: an unsuccessful Democratic coalition and isolation from the potential rewards of an eventual Republican victory.

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If black lives really mattered, so would black behavior. High school dropout ratesincarceration rates and teenage pregnancy rates are factors affecting black lives over which the black community has a great deal of control. A huge change alone would be made in terms of black wealth and welfare if births within wedlock increased by a mere 10 percent.

The 2014 documentary 72 Percent, produced by Moguldom Studios, sheds an unflinching light on the epidemic of African-American children born to single-parent households. It explores the fact that black activists have largely rejected the criticism leveled by members of the intellectual class, such as Dr. Ben Carson, President Barack Obama and Bill Cosby, that black fathers are inexcusably absent from the lives of their children.

If black lives really mattered, perhaps it would behoove activists to think globally about which cultural shifts would actually help to increase black labor-force participation. The first priority would be a cultural shift in the emphasis on education.

What’s playing out here is a debate within the black community well more than 100 years old. On one side are the #BlackLivesMatter people, who think the salvation of the black community in America comes from political agitation and political power which can deliver redistributive “social justice” to lift blacks out of poverty arising from slavery and discrimination; that side largely originated with W.E.B. DuBois and the original formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and it’s become more and more radical as time has gone by. On the other is Williams and Carson and other black conservatives who trace their ideological lineage from Fredrick Douglass through Booker T. Washington, who taught that for blacks to rise in America had nothing to do with political clout but rather the possession of skills marketable in the economy. Washington built some 5,000 schools for black kids across the country and created Tuskegee Institute out of an abandoned plantation in Alabama, and he preached that if blacks were mechanics and engineers and construction professionals and possessed other trades the economy needed, social acceptance would come.

Washington ultimately lost the battle within the black community, but his vision has been proven correct by events. Williams and Carson and other black conservatives are continuing the fight and, if the #BlackLivesMatter crowd continues its self-destructive overreach, hope still lives that one day the conservatives will win the war for black America.

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