Jason L. Riley suggests a better direction for Black Lives Matter (BLM), what he calls a win-win for BLM and black people. Rather than demonizing police, why doesn’t BLM focus on bad schools and job-killing regulations, two areas that are really harming blacks?
Remember, BLM got its foothold shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin in 2013. But it wasn’t until 2016, when Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., that BLM sprang into prominence. For example, President Obama hosted BLM activists. Today, “major news organizations such at National Public Radio and the Washington Post turn to BLM representatives for comment on race-related stories,” writes Mr. Riley in the WSJ.
BLM now seems to be at a crossroad. Fractions are forming, infighting is common, and objectives are not clear. Riley quotes reporter Darren Sands: “Black Lives Matter is still here. Its groups are still organizing. But Black Lives Matter is on the verge of losing the traction and momentum that sparked a national shift on criminal justice policy … the identity of the movement, its existential purpose and aim, remains unresolved.”
Mr. Riley would have activists play a more useful role “in helping blacks overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities that were unavailable to previous generations.”
But that would mean abandoning nonsensical narratives that scapegoat law enforcement for high black crime rates and instead picking more substantive fights with fellow progressives.”
Why not side with the hundreds of thousands of black children nationwide who linger on waiting lists for charter schools that have a proven record of narrowing the achievement gap? Why side with progressive politicians who stunt the growth of charters out of deference to powerful teachers unions that oppose school choice?
A new National Bureau of Economic Research report looked at the consequences of Seattle’s decision to raise its minimum wage to $13 last year from $9.47 in 2015. The researchers concluded that the increase “reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016.”
“When,” asks Mr. Riley, “are BLM activists going to take the Democrats to task for promoting policies that harm minority workers disproportionately? When the unemployment rate for black teens reaches 100%?”