BLM’s Bloody Bill Comes Due
The movement failed in a way that got lots of people hurt and killed because its core premise is wrong — but there is a better way to help our countrymen.
NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE L ess than a decade back, Black Lives Matter arrived on the national scene with a two-part message: A near-genocidal campaign is being waged against black Americans, and virtually all contemporary problems in the black community are the fault of white people.
This is no exaggeration. BLM spokesman Cherno Biko appeared on prime-time Fox News to argue that a totally innocent, presumably unarmed black person is “murdered” (his words) roughly once per day. Ben Crump, perhaps the nation’s most prominent attorney, published a best-selling 2019 book actually titled Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People. At one point, as I noted in my own book Taboo, the Black Lives Matter website called for “re-payment to Blacks of all wealth ever extracted from a majority-Black community” by means of “racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination . . . and capitalism.” And so forth.
Now, the receipts for the effect of this movement are in. And what they show is the remarkably complete failure of a Narrative. As crime-data resources like Disaster Center and the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program make clear, murders in the United States increased from a low of 14,164 in 2014 — the year Black Lives Matter truly kicked off — to at least 22,900 in 2021, just seven years later.
This surge can be directly tied to the BLM-linked “Ferguson Effect” and “Floyd Effect.” In 2021, University of Massachusetts researcher Travis Campbell found that cities that experienced Black Lives Matter protests and riots — and surely often attempted to accommodate the demands of the marchers — did see some decrease in police homicides . . . but also experienced “a huge overall increase in murders.” The resulting murder surge was at least 10 percent overall, “equaling 1,000 to 6,000 additional murders” when expanded to the nationwide level.
Using more prosaic but equally effective methods, Jason Johnson of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund found exactly the same thing: a direct and statistically significant correlation between declines in the kind of proactive policing hated by BLM and surges in homicide. In New York City, arrests of criminal suspects dropped by 38 percent while murders rose by 58 percent — increasing by more than 100. In my hometown of Chicago, arrests declined by 53 percent, while the corresponding surge in homicides was 65 percent. In the metroplex city of my new Kentucky home, Louisville, arrests plunged by 42 percent and stops overall by 35 percent; murders rose by a staggering 87 percent.
Even more remarkable than the existence of what is sometimes just called the “crime wave” was how targeted its effects actually were. While I have seen few mainstream pundits bold enough to discuss specific trends here — perhaps because very heterodox writers like Steve Sailer have — the United States has not in fact seen a rise in total crime since the last decade. Per the report “Criminal Victimization, 2021,” based on the victim-reported Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey (the BJS-NCVS), which is widely considered the gold standard of American crime data, crime overall did not increase significantly that year.
As presented in Table 14 of the authoritative report, 2,734,700 Americans were victims of serious (“index”) violent crimes — as compared with 2,599,620 in the Covid-19 lockdown year of 2020, 3,059,060 in 2019, 3,254,250 in 2018, and 3,106,346 back in 2017. Felony property crime also did not increase across this set of years, and neither did white-on-black or black-on-white crime (with this analysis beginning in 2018). Even black crime overall, heavily concentrated in the South, wasn’t really up: Contra internet memes of the “13/50” variety, identified blacks committed 974,378 — or just about 25 percent — of the 3,995,668 total violent crimes that took place in 2021. All of this data, which is totally noncontroversial, can be read in the report.
What did increase was hyper-violent, specifically black-on-black crime — murders, public shootings — concentrated in large and mostly blue cities that basically gave up on the idea of enforcing the law (“white” cities that did the same, such as Portland, Ore., saw similar results). Between the late 2010s and 2022, black Americans went from being responsible for less than 50 percent of 14,000–17,000 murders annually to being responsible for 60.4 percent of the 22,900 annual murders sourced above. Per easily available FBI data, the black homicide rate increased by roughly 50 percent in just the few years since the death of George Floyd. This is, notably, a purely “culturalist” result that has nothing to do with genetics or racism. It is, also, one of the most significant legacies of BLM.
I present all this statistical wonkery because I am a statistical wonk, but it shines light on a deeper point. Black Lives Matter’s solutions (“pull back the cops in dangerous neighborhoods”) failed in an obviously predictable way that got lots of people hurt and killed because BLM’s core premise is wrong. In 2023, contemporary racism is simply not the main barrier holding back black folks, or any other groups of Americans — whether Chinese, Italians, Jews, Mexicans, Indians, Nigerians, or anything else.
Evidence of this is all around us. We would see it if we stopped slap-fighting our countrymen, who are often wearing the same designer shirts and shades as we are, long enough to look for it. Today, either seven or eight — depending on how you decide to count South Africans — of the ten richest ethnic groups in the U.S. are nonwhite, including some of the populations I just listed. For that matter, East and South Asians — and probably Jewish Americans and West Africans, who are harder to break out of broader racial categories — outperform Anglos on today’s meritocratic SAT, averaging close to 1200 as versus an 1118 for “whites overall.” Over on the physical side of things, high-dollar professional sports are among the most integrated enterprises on the planet, with Major League Baseball and the NFL being diverse in the literal sense and the NBA clocking in at around 72 percent black.
Of course, none of this changes the brutal reality of history. “Systemic minority barriers to college admission,” and the like, obviously don’t exist these days — rather the opposite for that one — and in the United States of 2023, most people can make it. People sail here on bedroom doors to try. But it empirically is harder to achieve financial or social success if you start out poor. And owing to past conflict and race war and oppression, many more black kids, proportionately, are poor than is the case for white kids.
But here’s the thing: That’s also accurate almost verbatim for immigrants from Ukraine or Bosnia, or güero Mexicans, or plain Appalachian folks (trust me!) — and the actual non-secret path to achieving success is identical for all of these countrymen. It’s easy to mock the hokey old Success Sequence that almost every single ’80s or ’70s kid heard from a coach or priest/rabbi or (coughs) their father, but it really is true that you have a 1–2 percent chance of ever ending up poor if you do just four things at the start of life.
Those are: Take any job and work until you get a better one, wait until marriage (or age 25, for the cynics) to have children, avoid getting convicted of a felony, and graduate high school with any marks that make that possible. It’s also literally true that the biggest group-level predictor of success in school — again, contra both racialists and hereditarians, and per the Brookings Institution, of all places — seems to simply be how much kids study for class. Who knew?
Banter aside, the answer is that every sane person knew that. In Reality World, much of what the critical Left insists on calling “whiteness” — like showing up for business meetings on time — is prevalent in Japan and Nigeria, and in every minority-owned business I have ever worked at, and in what could more efficiently be called “civilization.” It would be a mitzvah indeed to start teaching this reality instead of fake oppression narratives, which lead nowhere or to chaos, to all of our kids and fellow citizens. Looking at the results BLM actually produced, let’s start . . . now.