Social Media CEOs Embrace Black Lives Matter; Censor Critics
Social media is supposed to expand the possibilities of human communication. Yet an alliance of technology executives and black radicals is trying to restrict them. Case in point: Officials of Crowdpac, Netflix, Twitter, Slack and YouTube recently donated funds to the Baltimore mayoral campaign of DeRay McKesson (in photo, left). The sums were modest, but their destination was significant. For McKesson isn’t just any political candidate. He’s the main strategist for Black Lives Matter, a network of demagogues whose menacing campaigns across U.S. cities and college campuses is sabotaging reasonable debate on race. Social media CEOs claim that support for BLM is good for “diversity” and thus good for profits. Actually, its main accomplishment is limiting a diversity of opinion.
To understand why the relationship between corporate chieftains and racial provocateurs is dangerous, it is necessary to summarize what Black Lives Matter (BLM) believes and how it has come so far in a short time. The organization is a nationwide network of black activists whose mission is to achieve what they see as long-delayed justice for members of their race. On closer inspection, it is focused on wresting power from whites. The group’s informal structure makes it seem harmless. It has no CEO, board of directors, or headquarters. Yet time and again, it has measured success by its ability to emotionally connect with excitable, ill-informed young blacks, often college students, who crave validation of a “white oppressor, black victim” storyline. Black Lives Matter deals in slogans, semi-literate manifestos and character assassination. Exaggerating and even inventing facts is fair game if the end result is getting whites to appear guilty of something. Smart phones play a starring role in BLM guerrilla theater productions, facilitating rally meet-ups at warp speed. In a real sense, Black Lives Matter is a tech-savvy reinvention of black shakedown artists such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
National Legal and Policy Center starting this January has published a series of articles on why Black Lives Matter should matter, most of all to its unfortunate targets. The group came together back in July 2013 in the immediate aftermath of a Florida state jury’s sound decision not to convict a white neighborhood anti-crime patrol volunteer, George Zimmerman, for murder in the February 2012 death of a black teenaged attacker, Trayvon Martin. Three black females – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi – each associated with a nationwide activist training group called BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity), decided to ramp up discontent with the verdict and go online. Thus, Black Lives Matter was born.
The group would storm onto the national stage in August 2014 in the wake of another highly-publicized shooting in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. In this case, a local white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot to death an enormous, explosive-tempered 18-year-old, Michael Brown, who represented a lethal threat. For weeks after the shooting, BLM activists and their allies assembled in the streets of Ferguson to create a morality play on race. Oblivious to the facts surrounding the incident, they demanded the resignation of municipal leaders and the prosecution of the cop. They got the former, but not the latter. A St. Louis County grand jury that November declined to prosecute Officer Wilson, who by all credible evidence – and there was much of it – had acted in self-defense. Brown’s alleged famous last words, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” turned out to be an invention. During the August street occupation and again, much more violently, following the grand jury announcement, demonstrators rioted and burned buildings to the ground. Black Lives Matter activists would be involved in an even more destructive rampage in Baltimore in late April of last year following the death of a black career criminal, Freddie Gray, while in police custody following his arrest. Gray died several days after what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to injure himself inside a paddy wagon (in hopes of winning a settlement). As Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a black, was unable or unwilling to quell the riot, DeRay McKesson, among many others, decided to toss their hat in the ring to take her place.
Black Lives Matter has been an especially noisome presence in higher education. BLM student activists on several occasions have created the appearance of a “hate crime” against a black or group of blacks as a pretext for denunciations of “apathetic” campus officials. The end game of these campaigns is power over hiring, curriculum design, grantmaking and other institutional functions. At the University of Kansas, a black female student posted to her Facebook site a description of how she and her girlfriends were assaulted by a group of white males at an off-campus Halloween party. This “incident” had all the appearances of a hoax, as I described at length several weeks ago. Yet the student, Kynnedi Grant, and other black activists at KU led a months-long intimidation campaign against the university, with barely a hint of a resistance from the chancellor, deans, faculty or student government. Meanwhile at Yale, black students and their allies this past fall conducted two weeks of rallies to protest campus “racism” and highlight the “pain” experienced by black students. A key allegation was that the campus chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house had turned a woman away from a Halloween party because she was not white. Aside from showing contempt for freedom of association, the activists neglected to note that SAE fraternity leaders, in response to a police complaint about noise and traffic, turned away all visitors away. Interestingly, Black Lives Matter spokesman DeRay McKesson (alternately spelled as “Mckesson”) – the same DeRay McKesson who wants to be the next mayor of Baltimore – a few weeks earlier had delivered a two-day guest lecture at the Yale Divinity School during which he defended looting as a legitimate expression of protest. Halloween is getting to be dangerous in ways never imagined by pranksters.
In a just world, Black Lives Matter would be known only to police. Unfortunately, such a world does not exist. Indeed, we have evolved to the point where a mere allegation by BLM of a “hate crime” – i.e., a crime committed by a white against a black – is a virtual guarantee of an investigation and likely punishment of at least one innocent person. Rather than rebuke or at least avoid Black Lives Matter activists, certain pillars of our nation are fawning over them. Time, Rolling Stone and other mainstream periodicals have justified their behavior. And have top political leaders. This past February 18, President Barack Obama and trusted top aide Valerie Jarrett played host to Black Lives Matter’s DeRay McKesson and Brittany Packnett, along with Al Sharpton, NAACP President Cornell Brooks and about a dozen other black activists. The White House meeting, lasting about an hour and a half, was a briefing session on race, neighborhoods and policing. Singling out McKesson and Packnett for praise after the meeting, President Obama remarked: “They (BLM) are some serious young people. I told them that they are much better organizers than I was at their age, and I am confident that they are going to take America to new heights. My job is just to make sure that I’m listening to them and learning from them a little bit.”
Of special concern here is the business angle. Multibillionaire George Soros has bestowed some of his wealth on Black Lives Matter. So has hip-hop recording artist/entrepreneur Jay Z. Less known, though more significant over the long run, has been the enabling by information technology executives. As reported by the Silicon Valley news webzine Recode, campaign finance papers filed March 16 by McKesson revealed contributions to his war chest of $6,000 each by the following tech moguls: Twitter Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani; Crowdpac co-founder Gisel Kordestani; Slack founder Stewart Butterfield; and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. YouTube content partnerships director Malik Ducard pitched in $2,500. McKesson, all of 30 years old, who launched his campaign on February 3, is raising funds via Crowdpac. The arrangement seems to be working. Within the first several hours, Crowdpac generated $31,000 from 400 donors.
Why are leaders of some of the largest information technology companies in the world bankrolling racial demagogues? DeRay McKesson not only justifies the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, he helped instigate them. Yet there is a logic to this incongruity. After all, corporations for years have given generously to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Among the technology companies sponsoring the most recent NAN annual convention were Airbnb, Facebook and Google. That’s apart from donations from Colgate Palmolive, Eli Lilly, FedEx, PepsiCo and Verizon and other firms in more traditional industries. While such financial help might be dismissed as simply an attempt to ward off boycotts and other forms of bad publicity, the main reality is that these businessmen really believe in the anti-white activism masquerading as “diversity.” Tech entrepreneurs can be seen as a turbocharged hybrid of libertarianism and Leftism.
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