Embracing a more concrete reality


To the editor:

(re: “It can happen in Germany, it can happen here, too,” July 2)

The recent Point of View by Alvin Gordon is so filled with distortions and hysteria that it is hard to know where to begin.

He labels the Black Lives Matter movement as thuggish, fascistic and radical leftist. He states, “Who the hell does Black Lives Matter think it is to insist that only the lives of Black people matter?”

The first problem is that while there is a formal organization under that heading, the term applies to a broad-based, heterogeneous, decentralized movement of people concerned about racism in this country, similar to the civil rights movements in the 1960s. What would it mean to say, “Who the hell does the civil rights movement think it is?”


Secondly, I have never heard anyone supporting the movement say that other lives don’t matter. The slogan essentially means Black lives matter too. “All lives matter” statements, though true, have become a way of diluting and dismissing the call for racial justice by burying it in a meaningless truism.

Of course all lives matter. But imagine a movement in Europe in the early 1930s, as hatred and discrimination was building toward an eventual Holocaust, saying Jewish lives matter. I doubt that Mr. Gordon would want that to be buried into an “all lives matter” truism.

Finally, there are a wide variety of political views — about the police, about the nature of protests, about other nations and groups of people (Israelis, Palestinians, etc.). The movement is not characterized by any particular fringe. I am sure that some people protesting support boycotts of Israel. I am also sure that there are ardent Zionists. (Like all movements for social justice, there are many Jews, such as myself.)

And there will also always be crazy, evil people attaching themselves to mass movements, and protests often lead to some opportunistically using for their own benefit, such as looting — which movement leaders try to stop.

Characterizing the movement by such people is a distortion of reality only used to discredit it and to undermine the call for racial justice.

Gordon concludes: “It happened in Germany. It can happen here.” Genocide against Jews led by or enabled by the Black Lives Matter movement is a paranoid fantasy. Having 40 million Americans being treated as less than fully human — and wanting to change that — is a concrete reality.

Peter Wolf

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Peter Wolf,