A POLL conducted in early June by the EdWeek Research Center, which is affiliated with the prestigious trade publication Education Week, suggests that 83 per cent of ‘white American teachers, principals, and district leaders’ ‘somewhat support’ or ‘strongly support’ the Black Lives Matter movement.
About four per cent of those polled say they ‘strongly oppose’ BLM, with around ten per cent saying they ‘somewhat oppose’ it. If we add educators of colour to the statistical mix, we find the percentages remain virtually unchanged.
Those educators who participated in the poll did so on the assumption of anonymity. Had that not been the case, it is difficult to imagine those who indicated lack of support for BLM would have responded as they did.
Indeed, only educators with private incomes or close to retirement or who possess the emotional fortitude to withstand accusations of racism and the loss of social standing resulting therefrom, would dare express publicly even the slightest reservations about BLM, most especially since the death of George Floyd.
As is abundantly clear by now, there are only two options for a person who happens to be white in contemporary America: You are either racist, or you are anti-racist; there is nothing in between.
Claiming to judge others by the content of their characters is no longer acceptable and can be injurious to a person’s security of employment. And, as BLM is forever reminding us, ‘silence is violence’ – a slogan that slanders the vast mass of Americans who despise racism and strive to respect the dignity of all.
To accuse people who choose to live quiet but morally grounded lives of being complicit in racist violence is a wicked libel and does considerable damage to the noble cause of racial reconciliation, which the vast majority of Americans desire. Yet such accusations now abound, and the activists of BLM and their fawning sycophants among the cultural, political, and corporate elites are primarily to blame.
While I am not surprised that a majority of educators support BLM, it is perhaps more surprising to learn that a Pew Research Center poll, also conducted in early June, found that 67 per cent of Americans say they ‘somewhat’ or ‘strongly support’ the movement.
When considered alongside those for educators, it would seem that around 75 per cent of people living in the US support an organisation founded by self-described ‘trained Marxists’.
I find it impossible to believe that three out of four Americans endorse a Marxist organisation that seeks to ‘disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure’, ‘defund the police’, ‘end all jails and prisons as we know them’, and launch a ‘global liberation movement’ to overthrow what it calls ‘the interlinked systems of white supremacy, imperialism, capitalism and patriarchy’.
Neither would most Americans endorse a movement that burns American flags or shows disrespect during the playing of the national anthem, Americans being among the most openly patriotic in any Western nation of which I am aware.
No, something else must be going on here and I fear it does not augur well for the future of free speech in a nation whose Bill of Rights protects the exercise of free expression with unsurpassed clarity.
Although I am not able to read the minds of those who indicated support for BLM, my suspicion is they fall into three categories: Those who genuinely believe in the movement and for what it stands; those who feel internal and external pressure, even in private, to show support for an organisation that is being eagerly endorsed by the rich and powerful; and those who confuse the concept with the movement, believing that supporting an organisation called Black Lives Matter is tantamount to believing what every decent person on planet Earth believes, that a black person’s life is as sacred as any other person’s life. Common decency and the golden rule are no longer enough.
A more recent poll, conducted in early August by Marquette Law School in Wisconsin, suggests that support for BLM, at least in that midwestern state, has dropped significantly, no doubt due to the looting and destruction that often accompany what much of the US media continue to call ‘the mostly peaceful protests’.
If the riots continue and the violence gets worse and spreads to the suburbs, that support will diminish further. I have great faith in the common sense of ordinary Americans and feel confident they will see BLM for what it is: A self-appointed group of well-funded activists, drunk on power and celebrity, who seek the radical transformation of the American way of life and the eradication of its history.
I have less faith, however, in the teaching profession in this nation. By saying this, of course, I do not mean to indict individual teachers, many of whom are dedicated and well-meaning professionals.
My problem is with the organisations that control public education in the United States. Having imbibed BLM’s agenda enthusiastically and uncritically, the ideologues of the educational establishment are now more powerful than ever.
What they are doing with that power has yet to play out fully in American schools. Still, it is my guess that by essentialising an individual’s race and indoctrinating schoolchildren in ‘systemic racism’, ‘white privilege’, and ‘intersectionality’, they will only make matters worse, jeopardising decades of progress in race relations, both within the classroom and beyond.