A notice posted in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York has attracted a great deal of attention on Facebook and Twitter. The charming piece of paper addresses a “white neighbor” and encourages him or her to work on “dismantling white supremacy” or “GET THE F**K OUT OF FLATBUSH.”
DEAR WHITE NEIGHBOR,
Have you been working on dismantling white supremacy?
SUPPORTED BLACK BUSINESSES
TALKED TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACISM
READ BOOKS ABOUT WHITE PRIVILEGE AND INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM
MADE A PLEDGE TO SUPPORT ONLY COMPANIES WHO SUPPORT BLACK LIVESead books about white privilege and institutionalized racism
STOOD UP FOR BLACK PEOPLE
IF NOT, GET THE F**K OUT OF FLATBUSH #BLACKLIVESMATTER
Outraged conservatives joined with proud leftists in sharing the post online.
Donna Johnson, a black conservative in Atlanta, Georgia, advised any white business owners to heed the advice and get the heck out of dodge — errr, I mean, Flatbush.
“White business owners should take the advice of this BLM Flatbush resident/ business owner,” she posted on Facebook. “Get out of Flatbush…that is unless you don’t mind leaving your freedom at home OR you don’t mind risking being looted for attacked.”
Oregon conservative Russ Walker shared the picture with this message: “This nonsense is being posted in Brooklyn today. How does this help improve the world?”
Some Black Lives Matter supporters proudly shared this racist harassment, however.
Little Caribbean, a cultural hub for New Yorkers of Caribbean descent in Brooklyn, shared the image with this message, “PLG, a parish in di ISLAND REPUBLIC OF BROOKLYN for di WIN!”
“Dear White Neighbor, Have you donated, protested, PULLED 🆙 to support your neighbors? Have you supported a #blackownedbusinessed today? If you need some leads, hit the link in our bio. BLESS,” Little Caribbean added.
PJ Media reached out to PLG Apartments, the housing complex in Brooklyn to which it appears Little Caribbean referred, for comment. PLG Apartments did not respond to PJ Media’s request for comment seeking clarification on the notice.
Jamila Aisha Brown, digital communications strategist for The Opportunity Agenda, shared the photo with this message: “From Flatbush to white gentrifiers. Dear White Neighbor… [Black Lives Matter].”
— J.A.B. (@MsJamilaAisha) June 6, 2020
Americans should be outraged about the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and about the “old boys club” that protected the men who shot Ahmaud Arbery in cold blood. Americans should demand police reform in the wake of these horrific tragedies, and they should also help the communities devasted by the looting, vandalism, and arson across America that destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments.
Yet these actions need to be voluntary, and no American should be shamed into taking action merely due to the color of his or her skin. Horrific as the tragedy of George Floyd is, that incident does not prove that America is beset with “structural racism,” much less “white supremacy.” While Americans may have unconscious racist attitudes that need to be faced and fixed, even this does not entitle New Yorkers to harass their next-door neighbors due to the color of their skin.
This notice embodies the kind of public shaming associated with “Karens,” people who take it upon themselves to police the moral behavior of their neighbors. While Americans arguably should help one another in this time — and many, in fact, are doing just that — people do not have a public duty to shame their neighbors if they refuse to act.
Furthermore, this notice demands adherence to a controversial set of beliefs and attitudes — “have you talked to white people about racism?” “have you read books about white privilege and instituationalized racism?” — in an attempt not only to coerce a neighbor to act but to force that neighbor to adopt a certain worldview. This kind of pressure campaign is not only racist — in focusing on white people — but also pseudo-religious.
Indeed, it seems many Black Lives Matter activists are pushing a new kind of inquisition. It is not enough for white people to acknowledge that the death of George Floyd was heinous and that Derek Chauvin and his accomplices should face justice for what looks like cold-blooded murder. No, white people must acknowledge “white privilege” and “white supremacy,” apologize for it, and enlist in the movement to rid the world of this evil racism.
If white people do not confess their racist sins, repent of white supremacy, and embrace the gospel of Black Lives Matter, they must be expelled from the community. This notice declares that loud and clear. Some locals are even proud of this racist inquisition.
As a Christian, I believe it is important for us to examine our attitudes, repent of the sins we have committed against one another, and listen to those who are hurting. We should mourn with those who mourn, and it is right to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. But I fundamentally reject the false narrative of a fundamentally racist police force and the radical demands of Black Lives Matter.
Americans should be able to listen to one another and work toward solutions for complex problems without demonizing those who disagree with the prevailing leftist narrative. Demands of justice for George Floyd need not lead to confessions of “white supremacy” and calls for the abolition of the police force. Lamenting over George Floyd need not entail overlooking the horrific destruction of the riots perpetrated in his name. Americans need to step back, cool off, and work together for a more just society. The last thing we need is a self-appointed inquisition enforcing the leftist view of events and threatening to evict people if they disagree.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.