On the Facebook Live Torture Video and the Demonization of Black Activists

A few days ago, the hashtag “BLMKidnapping” emerged onto social media in response to a horrific video streamed on Facebook Live.

In the graphic thirty minute stream, viewers can see a young white male curled in the corner of a room, bound and gagged with fear clouding his eyes. His sweatshirt was slashed with a knife, and a patch of his scalp was carved off. He was kicked and punched, and his screams for mercy were ignored throughout. In fact, one of the assailants appeared more appalled at the fact she wasn’t getting more attention, complaining to a friend that no one was responding to her actions.

In the video, an abductor can be heard saying “F*ck white people” and “F*ck Donald Trump.” This has led to people online to assume this is at the fault of the Black Lives Matter movement since you know, that is obviously what the entire movement is about. Hating white people and Donald Trump, not disassembling the systematic racism that has been embedded into society since before the Pilgrims crashed Plymouth.

Right.

The fake-activists spewing anger and hatred at Black Lives Matter are clearly not as worried about the victim as they are about demonizing Black people and the Movement. I find it fascinating that thousands of tweets were dedicated to vilifying an activist movement that stands against discrimination and racism, rather than calling it out for what is was: the kidnapping and torture of a man, who was also disabled.

It’s even more ironic that these are probably the same people who are eager to jump the gun and say “not all cops” when a Black person is murdered in cold blood / left in the street like roadkill (rather than standing for the right to life and not being targeted every day because you’re too dark to fit the aesthetic of white supremacists), but turn a kidnapping into anti-BlackLivesMatter propaganda. However (as Twitter user @melaninbarbie perfectly phrases it):

So apparently, the generalization of a vast category of people is okay if it doesn’t apply to white people. That’s what I’m getting from this entire ordeal, because four Black people who torture and abuse a disabled white man stand for an entire movement that had nothing to do with their actions, but a white supremacist who goes into a church and shoots nine Black people praying isn’t representative of all white people.

A man who rapes a baby is off scot free, but said four Black people are automatically prosecuted and charged. A balaclava-wearing terrorist, waving guns around in a propaganda video is representative of brown people and Muslims, but a white man who hides under a pointy hood and burns crosses for a living doesn’t represent Christianity in the white community.

And clearly, this is not a way to condone the actions of these people. The attack in and of itself was cruel and disgusting. Stealing someone’s liberty is wrong, and torture is not condonable by any stretch. But that negativity should not be applied to an entire race and movement that is fighting for people’s lives. Especially when the movement had nothing to do with this crime. All of this should go without saying yet we Black Lives Matter activists are constantly forced to prove that we aren’t just so mad at the world and making this “racism still exists” stuff up.

“This is hate. And hate doesn’t have a color. So for folks to talk about this is somehow connected to Black Lives Matter is absolutely the wrong way to look at this. … And we cannot respond to hate with hate. It’s just going to perpetuate the cycle.”

— Dimitri Roberts, former Chicago Police Department officer

The point is, stop trying to obliterate the name of the Black Lives Matter movement. I, for one, am sick of having to explain that BLM isn’t doing anything except trying to elevate Black people and people of color in society. Sadly, this probably won’t be the last time we have to have this conversation. But, to quote the Chicago chapter of BLM, “We want restoration, healing and justice, take your hate and sadistic intentions somewhere else…”

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Anaisja Henry
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Anaisja Henry is a fifteen-year-old Connecticuter who tends to introduce herself as Kakashi Hatake. A junior, she is her high school’s in-term “social justice warrior,” involved in various extracurricular organizations related to social studies and activism. When not being a broody, “fighting the power” Angry Black Girl, you’ll probably find her obsessing over Naruto, jumping between Tumblr accounts, or squealing over a book being updated on Wattpad. (But it’s probably just Naruto, to be honest.) You can find Anaisja on Twitter and Instagram (@anaiiisja).

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