Shutting Down the Most Common Attacks on Black Lives Matter

September 2nd 2015

The fatal shooting of a sheriff's deputy in Harris County, Texas, over the weekend has evoked many feelings—sadness, confusion, frustration—but at Fox News, the death of 10-year deputy veteran Darren Goforth has given rise to unsubstantiated allegations about the relationship between the gunman and the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Monday night, Fox host Bill O'Reilly asked his guests whether or not they thought that Black Lives Matter should be labeled a hate group, leaving no room for interpretation as far as his own opinion was concerned. "I think they're a hate group, and I'm going to tell you right now, I'm going to put them out of business," he said. "And any media person who supports them, I'll put them on this program and put their picture right up there on the air."

The recent "hate group" debates surrounding the Black rights movement surged following the killing of the Texas sheriff's deputy, which has no apparent connection to Black Lives Matter movement, as investigators have pointed out.

O'Reilly and others have also cited Minnesota protestors briefly chanting "pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon"—referring to police—during a march against police brutality, at a state fair earlier this week

"We're not going to be distracted by their attempt to minimize our movement and focus on a chant that lasted 30 seconds," Black Lives Matter organizer Rashad Turner told the Associated Press.

Due to the fact that march followed the killing, the conservative news outlet was quick to draw conclusions about the shooter's alleged political motives. As previously mentioned there is no apparent correlation.

In essence, these television personalities believe that the anti-police rhetoric of some Black Lives Matter activists reflects the overarching ideology of the movement, superseding its criminal justice reform objectives. These are highly speculative suggestions, and Fox hosts are not the only ones making them.

Here are three of the worst myths about Black Lives Matter.

1. #BlackLivesMatter only cares about Black lives.

"When I hear people scream 'Black Lives Matter,' I'm thinking, of course they do. All lives matter," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in August. "It is not that any life matters more than another. That's the whole message Dr. King tried to present."

The name of the movement—Black Lives Matter—has itself been a source of contention, with many critics arguing that "All Lives Matter" would better serve the interests of racial equality in America. But "All Lives Matter" gets away from the point; it might appear more inclusive, but distinguishing between Black lives and the lives of other races, namely white, is crucially important as there is a need for targeted discussions about the impact of racial inequality in our justice system.

The idea is that Americans generally operate under the assumption that white lives matter. They should be reminded, in the face of ongoing injustices against Black people in this country, that Black Lives Matter, too.

2. #BlackLivesMatter advocates for violence against police.

The O'Reilly segment ran hours after Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a co-host on the network's popular program, "Fox and Friends," asked her guest, "why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified as a hate group?"

"How much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?" she continued.

The notion that Black Lives Matter protestors are advocating in support of violence against police directly contradicts the movement's stated objectives. As part of its Campaign Zero plan for criminal justice reform, which was drafted by several leading Black Lives Matter figures, the group suggested that the relationship between police and Black communities could be improved through the adoption of a community-based policing strategy and the diversification of the American police force.

3. #BlackLivesMatter supports looting and other criminal activity.

"At the end of the day, the protestors in the streets of Ferguson and elsewhere around the nation argue that inequities, which have long existed in our criminal justice system, are simply too great to gloss over," MSNBC host Ari Melber reported.

One of the first myths of the Black Lives Matter movement came about last year during demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Amid the protests, rioting and looting took place, and although those responsible for the crimes were not connected to the Black rights group, that didn't stop Black Lives Matter critics from sounding the alarm and grouping the rioters and advocates together.

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