Racial tensions filled the weekend as conservative figures shared their feelings on Black Lives Matter in light of the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, as well as the shootings of five Dallas police officers.
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly invited Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, on his show to discuss Black Lives Matter, saying, “White Americans despise this crew.”
According to O’Reilly, “I think if you really want, if African Americans really want to bring the country together, and have good racial relations, they have to distance themselves from Black Lives Matter. Am I wrong”
“I believe in my conversations with leaders of Black Lives Matter, and even my participation in a demonstration when we marched from the Capitol building here in Washington, D.C., and to the White House in a very peaceful demonstration with a number of members of Congress in much the same way those marched in Dallas, Texas, we saw things very differently,” Shelton responded.
O’Reilly insisted that “there are very few white Americans who respect Black Lives Matter.”
However, Shelton called Black Lives Matter marches “extremely well integrated” and said white people have a presence at demonstrations as well.
“When I was at the White House, there was not one incident of violence going on,” he said. “People were there because they were equally outraged. This is a human, American issue.”
Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) expressed his belief on Sunday that the Black Lives Matter movement is “inherently racist.”
According to Giuliani, Blacks must explain “how and what they’re doing among themselves about the crime problem in the Black community” rather than focus on police brutality issues, which have been the face of the movement since its inception. He said that “there’s a 99 percent chance” a Black person will be killed by another Black person instead of a police officer.
“When you say Black lives matter, that’s inherently racist,” he said. “Black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. Hispanic lives matter. That’s anti-American and it’s racist.”
He doubled down on these remarks on Monday: “All [Black Lives Matter] cares about is the police shooting of Blacks. It doesn’t care about the 90 percent of Blacks that have been killed by other Blacks. That’s just a simple fact. That is a simple fact.”
According to FBI data, Blacks kill other Blacks at a higher rate (90 percent) than any other race. However, the same is true for white-on-white murders, which the FBI estimates are 82 percent of murders committed by whites.
The real definition behind “Black Lives Matter” has been lost on some public figures. The movement does not strive to elevate one life over another. Rather, the title comes with an implied “too” at the end, meaning that Black lives matter in addition to all other lives.
President Barack Obama alluded to this in his remarks on the events last week.
“So, you know, when people say Black lives matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter,” he said. “It just means that all lives matter but right now, the big concern is the fact that the data shows Black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents.”