To the editor:
(re: “It can happen in Germany, it can happen here, too,” July 2)
Alvin Gordon’s Point of View piece is a mash-up of untruths, distortions, exaggerations.
He writes, “Who the hell does Black Lives Matter think it is to insist that only the lives of Black people matter?” I have never seen such an absurd statement uttered by folks who support Black Lives Matter.
He then declares that such a statement — which he invented — as a “racist position, pure and simple.” He continues that “the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a lie.”
Let’s give that a moment’s thought, shall we? Is Mr. Gordon suggesting that Black lives don’t matter? If they do, how can that “slogan” be a lie? Notice, it doesn’t state that only Black lives matter.
He continues, “Not all Black lives matter to that organization.” First, we need to establish that the movement which supports and advocates for Black lives matter is extremely diverse, and includes many white folks, Asians, Latinos and others.
Black Lives Mater is an extremely broad, loosely aligned movement/network of those who oppose state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black, institutionalized racism.
There is not a singular platform, nor are there designated leaders. No one “speaks for” Black Lives Matter.
Second, to suggest that not all Black lives matter to Black Lives Matter is, in and of itself, a racist, gratuitous, ignorant, highly insulting and deeply offensive comment which is obviously meant to infuriate those engaged in the struggle against racism, a dog whistle to signal fellow racists.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Gordon would claim that all Jewish lives don’t matter to me if I take exception with efforts in Israel to unilaterally annex major sections of the West Bank.
Many millions of people all across America and across the world have joined in protests against racism and police brutality. Without a doubt, some of those protests unfortunately involved a degree of violence — the overwhelming majority did not.
Some of that violence may have been unnecessarily police-provoked, or even worse, provoked by President Trump when he ordered troops to assault peaceful protesters so that he could take a photo-op in front of a church in Washington.
Some may have been provoked by agents-provocateurs.
Some engaged in looting may well have been opportunistic hustlers unconnected to the anti-racist movement.
The Black Lives Matter movement is non-violent. The same cannot be said for the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, fascists or ultra-right wing militias.
Just as we should all be anti-fascist, anti-KKK, anti-neo-Nazis, we should all be anti-racist.
My job as a privileged white person is to educate the white community about the history of racism in our nation, the continuing enormous cost to our nation of this sickness, which has infected us for hundreds of years, and to try to counteract the kind of poison being spread by the likes of Alvin Gordon.
The author is a former principal at DeWitt Clinton High School, and a former superintendent for Bronx high schools with the city’s education department.