And, finally, I naïvely believed that liberals will finally take the threat of people who deny my humanity and call for my death seriously.
Instead, I’ve noticed a growing (and, frankly, confusing) pushback on Antifa from progressives. Suddenly, people who were supposedly on my side are denouncing a group of folks who organize against the people who will boldly march the streets shouting racist and anti-Semitic phrases. Individuals like Cornel West have explicitly said that Antifa activists have saved their lives, yet I see (white) liberals spending more time squabbling about alleged Antifa violence than pondering about what they’re doing to fight fascism and dismantle white supremacy.
There is one dilemma facing progressive calls for action. They can’t grasp that their jargonistic hysteria isn’t the least bit convincing to anyone but them. They argue the point they care passionately about as if to persuade no one who isn’t already desperately on their team, and can’t understand why everyone doesn’t see the world their way. It is, indeed, naive, not to mention unpersuasive, and yet they keep banging their head against the same wall over and over, expecting a different result. You know what that’s the definition of, right?
But the effort to rationalize violence to achieve their ends has taken a new turn in this New York Times op-ed by a group of clergy trying to trade off the legacy of Martin Luther King.
Michael McBride is a pastor and the director of PICO National Network’s “Live Free” campaign. Traci Blackmon is the United Church of Christ’s executive minister of justice and witness.
Frank Reid is the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s bishop of ecumenical affairs and social action. Barbara Williams Skinner is a co-convener of the National African American Clergy Network.
Seems legit. And what’s their argument?
Our complaint here is not about the right-wing media outlets that we know will continue to delegitimize anti-racist protest in any form — whether it’s peacefully sitting during the national anthem, marching in the streets, staging boycotts or simply making the apparently radical claim that “black lives matter.” Rather, our concern at this moment is with our moderate brothers and sisters who voice support for the cause of racial justice but simultaneously cling to paralyzingly unrealistic standards when it comes to what protest should look like.
What are these “unrealistic standards” we demand of protest?
As Christian clergy members, we place a high value on nonviolence….But we know there has never been a time in American history in which movements for justice have been devoid of violent outbreaks.
They then run through occasions back in the ’60s where violence happened, because MLK’s non-violence wasn’t always so non-violent, much in the line of “what would MLK do?”
The civil rights movement was messy, disorderly, confrontational and yes, sometimes violent. Those standing on the sidelines of the current racial-justice movement, waiting for a pristine or flawless exercise of righteous protest, will have a long wait.
The call to violence, not because they adore violence, but because there will never be a “pristine or flawless” protest. So violence is the flawed but necessary thing to do. It’s what MLK would have done.