Accompanying article here:

It’s easy to dismiss anyone querying the Black Lives Matter movement as either pointlessly contrarian or — worse — actually racist. After all, who could object to the truism contained within chosen name?

But there are important questions to ask about what the facts show about the scale of ‘systemic racism’, and whether drawing attention to race in such an intense way ultimately advances or hurts Martin Luther King’s vision of people being judged “not by the colour of their skin but but the content of their character.”

Coleman Hughes is just 24 years old, but as a fellow of the Manhattan Institute and Contributing Editor of City Journal, has already established himself as a brave and distinctly level-headed voice during heated times.

It was a pleasure to talk to him, and hear his measured and fair assessment of race relations in America, and the effect of the wider BLM movement.

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  1. Notwithstanding the empirical data on police tactics toward suspects, I suspect there is a level of racism in policing – meaning there are different standards being applied by SOME cops – even if that difference is unconscious. That said, I very much agree that BLM has made a great strategic blunder in racializing police brutality. Not only does its focus on black lives exclude others that face the same or similar police brutality but in so doing diminishes the over all appeal to the general population that needs to understand the problem in light of the best available data, which is that there is a problem with police tactics that often bring out sadistic or authoritarian instincts in cops who are probably already predisposed toward these expressions.

    But the underlying perspective of BLM (at least the founders of the movement) comes from Critical Race Theory (a Marxist class-struggle analysis applied to race) and views all relationships through power dynamics, oppressor-oppressed relationships which they see inherently rooted in institutions – even liberal ones that inherently NOT oppressive (of course any institution may be mismanaged or individual actors may contradict the institutions objectives). The methodology employed by BLM to prove racism amounts to question begging of the term. This is deliberate because they are essentially utopian/Marxist (meaning they are totalitarian in that they cannot co-exist with any other system that does not share their ideology and methods. So what epistemological methodology does BLM employ?

    BLM are racists or racialists (i.e. they believe in the white supremacist concept of categorizing people by "race") and they are racist to the point of rejecting what Audre Lourde calls the "master's tools" (epistemological tools such as empiricism (sensory data) and rationalism (theoretical proofs) and so employ their own methodology. What is it? It is vaguely comprehensible and is grounded in deconstructionism (i.e. an analysis of language used by groups with different levels of social power – which ultimately, again, is question begging). But if you reject the maters tools (which amounts to scientific methods) what are you left with? Subjective narratives, which is why these fragile whiners go into fits of rage whenever challenged by conventional epistemological methods of getting to fact or truth. What their methodology really amounts to is the pre-scientific methodology known as "naturalism" which amounts to observing a phenomenon and drawing a general conclusion about the phenomena as a whole. In other words, the very type of thinking that leads to racism in the first place. E.g. they see a cop brutalizing a black person and extrapolate from that that cops, in general, brutalize black people. Resorting to pre-science (especially on the grounds that science is white/western/tools of the oppressor) in favor of non rational non empirical methods is madness and is no different than the far right denying as "fake news" anything that doesn't fit into their preferred narrative of the Truth, or of religious arguments that can't avoid question begging in order to "prove" their case.

    As I said at the start, I suspect there is some racism going on in policing and I find the deaths of people we're seeing on social media to be disgusting examples of police brutality – and it has to stop. That said, the cynicism on both the far left and right toward classical liberalism (which they incorrectly too often identify as neoliberalism) is both unwarranted and a major error in thinking. We live in a society with a government that we get to participate in. The government is us. And because it is us, and we are so polarized, what should we expect but to see that polarization in government. That said, I suspect the polarization, while real, is not as deep as people might think. I believe it is being exploited by politicians and those who have something to gain from it (Russia, for example).

    Imagine if an advocacy group formed in order to show police brutality and reform it – even if this brutality is a tiny fraction of all policing – where ANY individual brutalized by the police warranted a protest? (Where is Tony Timpa's protest?) Wouldn't this be much more effective? But would it inspire the same passion? If not, what does that say?

    We classical liberals cannot allow the extremes of either side – left or right – to set policy prescriptions and analysis when they violate liberal norms. If the liberal norms are not addressing these problems, advocacy is fine to push the institutions toward the appropriate corrective action – as there clearly needs to be in our policing – and which is done as a matter of course (i.e. no politician runs on the platform that everything is fine). But both the far left (Marxist-inspired) and the far right (alt right) actually are cynical of liberalism because it hasn't resolved their concerns to their satisfaction – how could it given the objectives of either side are diametrically opposed on most issues.

    Even though the values expressed through classical liberalism is the dominant position of most Americans (or should be), the extremes are now dominant – at least seem so because as challenges to social and political norms are always covered in the media (in the same way that if you got your view of America from watching the local news, you'd think we're a much more violent society than we are). So it is up to us classical liberals to push back on the extremes because we know what their inevitable end is: totalitarianism expressed as fascism or socialism. And one more caveat: as classical liberals (left of center) we have to address the abuses in capitalism that warrant criticism from either side. We cannot allow classical liberalism and neoliberalism to be conflated.

  2. Any chance Oprah (or some other Black influencer) will give Coleman a platform to get his voice out into the mainstream media? We need more intelligent, rational voices out there to outweigh all the extreme hysteria!

  3. Not acknowledging the tragedies of Tony Timpa and others like him is not only unethical, it is also a tactical error. Policing in the U.S. is entirely too militarized and violent. By framing the problem as entirely black vs white, we miss a tremendous opportunity to draw a far larger, more effective consensus across the entire population that something must be done to better train and use our police forces.

  4. Thank you Coleman for your educated and researched thoughts on this matter. Please keep trying to put your researched ideas out there, so we can direct an educated response.

  5. When Coleman rolls his eyes and says it's not about Blacks being superior etc… THAT isn't true. Many social media accounts with black activists blatantly voice "Black Power" "Black Is Beautiful" "Melanin Rich" and anti-white sentiments. Openly Racist and Supremacist sentiments. If a "White" person did this – they'd be censored, banned, vilified. I think BOTH would be idiots, but only ONE gets shut down, the other applauded.

  6. The Paradox of Anti-racism- The more progressive America becomes, the more desperately black activists need to scapegoat "systemic racism" to explain poor outcomes that are overwhelmingly caused by destructive lifestyle choices and reckless personal life decisions. The emergence of a much more egalitarian system, (55 years of Affirmative action…), also threatens the
    unique cultural fabric of the inner-city. As Denzel Washington discusses, it can be extremely hard for blacks to leave the inner-city when there's enormous social pressure not to, and intense shaming and bullying when you try to better yourself. This is why BLM is, as they claim, an essentially Marxist organization- they don't desire socioeconomic assimilation because that would mean buying into an "oppressive" white culture with values at odds with their own. This type of phenomenon has been seen in Scandinavian countries, where intense progressivism in gender equality policies has led to women rejecting traditionally male occupations more than countries that don't have these prescriptive policies. Basically, women there have rejected the government's attempt to tell them what they should be doing. That's the Paradox folks- the more you level the playing field, the more groups will assert their differences. Equality of opportunity is a great thing, but it will never lead to equality of outcome.

  7. why does no one bring up the fact that resisting arrest has played a part in 99% of the "martyrs" we see the riots breaking out over? we keep hearing that white parents don't have to have "the talk" with their children like black parents do but look at the shootings. so many resisting arrest. are they really having the talk or are their kids not listening or forget the talk?

    it's to the point liberals in charge are trying to hide it because they know it is a major problem. though the cop that kneed george floyd was obviously malfeasant, maybe his death would not have happened if he hadn't resisted arrest. that part of the video was essentially hidden from the public for weeks if not months. jacob blake – "the officer tatum" had a video, very soon after the incident, of the other side of his suv showing blake resisting arrest. i still haven't seen that video that tatum showed on his youtube vid even on fox news much less will we ever see it on cnn. the district attorney said right after the rayshard brooks shooting that he fully cooperated with the police. that was a lie. did he just know that cnn would never play that part of the video where he fought the police?

    breonna taylor had bailed out her boyfriend. she knew he was not a good guy. she still stuck with him and it got her killed. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63943132/breonna-taylor-summary-redacted1 these things could have been prevented and not just from the police side.

  8. Although I would disagree with some of his raw data, I appreciate his willingness to think objectively about polarizing issues even if the outcome runs contrary to the hegemonic group and political agenda. His youth does not afford him the experience to articulate the full black lived experience nor is he familiar with the vasts amount of research that seek to define racism and its impact throughout the life course—- quantifiably. For all those attributing this balanced perspective to the vantage point of a 24 year old student, please take it with a grain of salt. I will leave it at that. I do hope his precocious words are given time to mature as he has chosen a dangerous position to be in our modern times.

  9. Coleman, I agree with u that the claim tat systemic racism exist in USA is falasy. But let's b real n just start with the problem, If white kids r being taught how to respond to police n black kids r not, isnt this the problem? I realized u talk alot about research, kindly approach it that way first by raising the problem n question. Answer them honestly without being bias. So called xperts dont seem to raise the core problem n questions honestly, so than how would find the solution?

  10. After watching this well spoken intelligent man, I can’t believe that he could even think about voting. for Joe Biden.That comment totally negates everything he talked about