A Father’s Questions for Black Lives Matter

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Dan Collins is the proud father of thirteen children. Eight are white and five, adopted, are black. He’s inclined to support the Black Lives Matter movement but would like some questions answered before he commits.

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I consider myself to be a typical, “Main Street” American. 

One thing that is different about me is that I have a big family—not so common in America these days. I'm the proud father of thirteen children. Eight are white and five, adopted, are black.

My family is my greatest joy, and my life is dedicated to their well-being and happiness. I'm struggling right now, because I genuinely don't know how best to support my black children through this tumultuous and painful period in our history. Some say I should get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement, while others say I should avoid it at all costs. To help me figure this out, I have some questions for the Black Lives Matter Global Network. Before asking, let me preface my questions with some background.

In the summer of 2020, a peaceful BLM demonstration in my hometown of La Mesa, California turned violent as protesters began rioting, looting, and setting fires. The next day, I took my 14-year-old black son downtown to help with the clean-up. As we walked past the charred remains of Chase Bank, I noticed the letters "BLM" graffitied onto a wall amid the rubble. It was unsettling—as if Black Lives Matter was claiming credit for the bank's destruction. I didn't want to believe that. 

Just as any parent who has adopted and biological children, I love them all the same. Obviously, I never want to see any of them wrongly accused, mistreated, or targeted because of their skin color. I would happily support any peaceful movement that helps to secure racial justice and equality. 

I also recognize the need for law and order. No community can survive, let alone thrive, without that. This is the source of my conflict and confusion: Is it possible for my family to support the Black Lives Matter movement while also supporting the police? I went to your website, looking for answers. But I came away with more questions.

You state that your mission is to “…eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes." But you don't explain how you're going to do that. What is your definition of "white supremacy"? Of "local power"? By "state," I assume you mean police. Who are the "vigilantes" you're referring to? And how do you propose to "intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities"? Honestly, I can't tell whether you intend to pursue your mission through peaceful or violent methods.

Until recently, your website also declared that you will "disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure." Does my family fit that description? Why would you want to disrupt my family structure?

That language has been quietly removed. Does that mean that you no longer hold that view? Or was it just the expedient thing to do?

I reached out to my local chapter of Black Lives Matter, hoping to speak with someone who could help me sort all this out. I then contacted your regional and national headquarters. I got no response. So I began doing my own research. 

That led me to an interview on the internet with one of your founders, Patrisse Cullors. "We are trained Marxists," she said. "We are super-versed on ideological theories." Which theories are those? Is Black Lives Matter a Marxist-inspired organization? Marx advocated for the "forcible overthrow" of our civilization. Is that what BLM wants also?

I have a few more questions. As an organization, do you believe in and support the Constitution? Do you honor the flag, or do you view it as a symbol of oppression? Do you believe that people should be primarily judged by the content of their character or the color of their skin? Do you support or condemn destruction of personal and private property of others? Do you believe in the defacing and destruction of statues, monuments, and other public property? Do you believe that police departments need to be reformed, or to be defunded, or to be eliminated altogether?

I am one of countless Americans who want answers. But I can't seem to get any.

From all reports, you've raised millions of dollars in support of your organization. What are you doing with that money? Are you using that money in some way to help black communities? No one seems to know.

I humbly propose that you use some of that money to help black people who have been harmed by the destruction that has accompanied BLM protests. I'm thinking of the many black business owners whose shops were destroyed by riots in your name. I'm thinking of the family of David Dorn, the black retired police captain who was shot and killed while trying to protect a friend's pawn shop from looters.

With all my heart, I believe that black lives matter. I would like to support Black Lives Matter, the organization, in an effort to support my black children. But it's hard to do so if I don't know your beliefs and goals.

Speaking as a father and as a typical American, I look forward to your answers.

I'm Dan Collins for Prager University.

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