The Black Lives Matter movement remains controversial, as racism and anti-police violence have plagued it during the past few years. It was heartening to see someone on the left, writing in The Huffington Post, call for the resignation of an openly racist BLM activist on Thursday. This is exactly the kind of response which might help separate the criminal justice reform activism of BLM from the ugliness which gives the movement a bad name.
“Now, normally my white skin would admittedly preclude me from even suggesting that a black activist should hang up the megaphone, but [Toronto BLM co-founder Yusra] Khogali has made a habit of directing violent, hateful language towards people with white skin, so much so that I feel comfortable calling her out,” wrote James Di Fore, a Canadian writer and producer known for We Run Sh*t (2012).
Di Fore is right on target here. Yusra Khogali, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Toronto, Canada, has gone so far as to suggest that white people are subhuman. Here’s an excerpt from her musings in 2016:
whiteness is not humanness.
infact, white skin is sub-humxn. [sic]
all phenotypes exist within the black family
and white ppl are a genetic defect of blackness
white ppl have a higher concentration of enzyme inhibitors that suppress melanin production.
they are genetically deficient because;
melanin is present at the inception of life …
melanin is directly linked to the strength of neuro systems affecting capacities like intelligence, memory and creativity
melanin enables black skin to capture light and hold it in its memory mode which reveals that blackness converts light into knowledge. …
white ppl are recessive genetic defects, this is factual.
Wow. And some people say “reverse racism” is impossible.
But it gets worse. In April of last year, Khogali tweeted, “Plz Allah give me strength to not cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today. Plz Plz Plz.”
— Jerry Agar (@jerryagar1010) April 5, 2016
Now, Di Fore actually criticized the media for “focusing on that tweet instead of the issues black communities are facing.” He argued that “this was and is a legit criticism of the media. Black people are treated unjustly by the criminal justice system at all levels, and the press is almost, as bad, [sic] and that’s why I support the underlying credo of BLM.”
Nevertheless, Di Fore added, “that can’t absolve Khogali from being held accountable for constantly inserting hate speech into the ether of Toronto activism.”
Finally, Di Fore noted Khogali’s recent comments attacking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a “white supremacist terrorist.” Indeed, Khogali slandered Quebec City as “a white supremacist settler colony,” and claimed that Trudeau’s statement that he would welcome into Canada anyone excluded from the U.S. by President Donald Trump’s immigration action was a lie.
These things are too much for Di Fore. Here’s a key bit from his article: “If I were a member of BLM, I’d hopefully understand that her words are harmful to the movement’s stated goals of ending institutionalized racism, and the more she speaks the less credibility the movement carries.”
Amen to that. Racism is racism, whether employed against black people, white people, or people of whatever race. People like Khogali should not get a pass due to the color of their skin.
But the racism and anti-police violence which mar the movement are far from unique to Khogali. Many BLM protests have degenerated into riots, during which white people have been targeted for the color of their skin. Some Black Lives Matter graffiti also included the slogan “Kill white people.” A man claiming to be the brother of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man killed by a black cop in Charlotte, declared, “All white people are f***in’ devils!”
Furthermore, in October, three police officers were shot in Palm Springs. Two died. Black Lives Matter protesters have chanted “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” Last November, protesters in Austin, Texas, chanted, “What’s better than 14 dead cops? 15 dead cops.” When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro passed away last year, a Medium account called “Black Lives Matter” praised the dictator — because he provided refuge to cop killers fleeing charges in the U.S.
These actions also give BLM a bad name, and if the movement is to achieve its goals, leaders must distance themselves from racist statements, racial attacks, and violent chants and attacks on police.
In his article, Di Fore sought to explain the racism and violence in Khogali’s statements and these events. “There is a strange trend that some activists use to provide themselves cover for engaging in hate speech,” the producer wrote. “They say that because the system they live under has racial problems, they should be absolved from being held accountable when they make violent, absurd statements, especially against whites.”
Di Fore noted that Trump’s immigration order is controversial even among Republicans, “but to saddle Trudeau with a label as hyperbolic as ‘white supremacist terrorist’ is to engage in a kind of activism that belittles your own cause.”
“You are not absolved from being accountable for hate speech just because you hate Donald Trump and want Trudeau to take action on the refugee file,” Di Fore declared.
In a moment of bravery against the likely deluge of liberal criticism, the producer added, “And to be honest, I really don’t care if this comes off as ‘whitesplaining.’ That’s a word designed to get white people to shut up about important issues. It’s part of the lexicon among some activists that doesn’t serve the greater good, which is supposed to be justice and equality for everyone.”
Indeed, after publishing his article, Di Fore received negative reactions on Twitter.
This article may help you.https://t.co/YF2HqOrjQJ
Please ask @HuffingtonPost to remove your piece. <3
— Jeremy (@dumphimsis) February 9, 2017
One liberal shut Di Fore down, writing, “as a white person the onus is on you to understand the term ‘white supremacist’ and what it means, you’ve failed to do that.”
as a white person the onus is on you to understand the term "white supremacist" and what it means, you've failed to do that
— Michael Rancic (@therewasnosound) February 9, 2017
Another responded to Di Fore (a self-described “stay-at-home daddy”) that Khogali “does not sit in an ivory Tower of privilege like you do. I think it is time for you to resign.”
And … the obligatory racist ad hominems. “HOW DARE YOU !? As a white cis-het male you have NO BUSINESS criticizing Khogali!!!!”
Di Fore deserves credit for risking his neck attacking the outspoken racism of a BLM activist, especially as he did so in order to help the movement. If Black Lives Matter harbors anti-white racism, it loses its credibility to help those who are suffering from injustice.
Rather than attacking Di Fore, liberals should coalesce behind him, supporting the reforms of Black Lives Matter while rejecting the racism and violence which are totally unnecessary to their demands for justice.