Shaun King Reveals the Inherent Trap in Black Lives Matter Name

shaun king

High profile Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King’s article on DailyKos titled “Fox News blasts Stephen Colbert for wearing Black Lives Matter bracelet” exposes how even the anti-law enforcement movement’s name is intentionally deceptive.

King’s piece isn’t much—he points out Tucker Carlson criticized The Late Show host Steven Colbert for wearing a Black Lives Matter bracelet—but it does expose the wordplay that Black Lives Matter advocates seem to think is clever.

King ends his piece by saying:

This is our America: Where wearing a bracelet stating that the lives of black people matter is a controversial talking point. We’re learning that 2015 is not nearly as different from 1955 as we all thought.

Here is the genius of the Black Lives Matter slogan in all its glory: it’s designed to make any opposition to the movement or the group sound instantly racist.

Not that logic is King’s strong suit, but he’s committing the logical fallacy of equivocation, which is defined as “the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth.” The ambiquity is baked right into the name “Black Lives Matter.”

Let’s be very clear on this point: the name “Black Lives Matter” can represent three different things:

  1. The official Black Lives Matter group: which has its own website and was founded by three community organizers named Cullors, Tometi, and Garza. There is a specific organization called Black Lives Matter.
  2. The general Black Lives Matter movement: which includes the official Black Lives Matter group plus media-promoted leaders such as Shaun King and DeRay McKesson, plus general supporters and a host of other affiliated people and organizations. This movement is broadly called Black Lives Matter, which is different from…
  3. A general, vague and obvious statement: which every sane person would agree with, that black lives matter, in the exact same way that the lives of all people matter.

Opposing the official Black Lives Matter group or opposing the movement broadly is NOT the same as opposing the idea that the lives of black people matter, of course. But if you say, “I don’t agree with Black Lives Matter (the group) because they support cop killer Assata Shakur,” or, “I don’t agree with Black Lives Matter (the movement) because members mocked the death of police,” you are accused of meaning, “I don’t agree that black Americans’ lives matter.” You suddenly have “admitted’ that you don’t think black lives matter.

Shaun King knows this, but, like the facts of the Mike Brown case, he just doesn’t care.