Consider This Before Sharing Candace Owens’ Response to BLM Protests
I started seeing a video circling around of Candace Owens condemning recent protests, which she states aim to paint George Floyd as a hero. During this video she elaborates on his criminal history, and expresses frustration with the black community for rallying behind men with criminal backgrounds like his.
It’s not that she doesn’t make some good points, but there are serious fallacies in her presentation. I feel compelled to break those down here, and it will be long, but I pray that anyone who comes across this will take a moment to go through each point and approach what I’m about to say with an open mind and humble heart…
1. Systemic Racism
She doesn’t account for systemic racism which has inevitably effected the ability for the black communities at large to climb out of poverty and crime. I encourage everyone to watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary, 13th, and if you are skeptical, take the time to research what it addresses, so you can be assured that the information they present is factual. You can watch it for free here:
2. Wrongful Convictions
She doesn’t account for the disproportionate number of black men who have been wrongfully accused of crimes (even sentenced to death for them) since the beginning of time. Much like the systemic racism addressed above, there is no shortage of evidence to support the excessive number of wrongly condemned black men, so if you’d like just a summarized preview, please consider watching the film Just Mercy, based on the acclaimed public interest lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, and the cases he handled in Montgomery, Alabama with his organization, Equal Justice Initiative. It is free to rent on most US digital platforms for the rest of this month:
3. More than George Floyd
These protests aren’t strictly motivated by George Floyd or the life he lived before dying (a life that still did not justify his death). These protests are about the lives of black Americans that are far too frequently taken without consequence. His death is one of too many that speaks to the greater narrative that black lives aren’t valued — a narrative which Amy Cooper plainly conveyed this past May… Within the same three months of George Floyd’s death, two other completely innocent black Americans were murdered, and it wasn’t until our communities screamed out for justice that any movement was made towards convicting their murderers.
Ahmaud Arbery was murdered on February 23, 2020 and it was immediately assumed that his white murderers had a right to take his life. It wasn’t until after April 26, 2020 when an article with video footage surfaced, that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation finally stepped in — and that was largely only due to the amount of civil rights advocates who jumped in, clamoring for justice. It wasn’t until May 7, 2020 that Arbery’s murderers were even charged. And let’s not forget Breonna Taylor, who was gunned down in her own home on March 13, 2020, and her killers still have no charges against them.
The fact that it takes hundreds of thousands of people to demand justice before any charges are made against the murderers of black Americans, is the very reason why people shout “Black Lives Matter”.
4. Protest Facts
There is a horribly false narrative being spun by the media to paint protesters as aggressive rioters. On one hand, yes, there are usually a few bad eggs that show up to protests — and when I say a few, I really mean it’s usually only a few, and they usually have nothing to do with the protest. However, I have been on the ground to witness the police instigating fights. I have friends in Los Angeles, Buffalo, and Rochester, New York, who have all witnessed the police charging into peaceful protests — protests that had proper permits — and immediately causing harm to both people and property. And I get it, that sounds like a far-fetched concept to many Americans. But for those of us who have been there and witnessed it, we know it is reality.
In my case, I attended a vigil in Boston on June 2, 2020. We finished an hour early and were walking home when an army of police aggressively drove into the crowd (while we were peacefully returning to our cars), and began blocking us in and preventing us from leaving. They showed up with riot gear, clearly ready to fight. They aggressively lined up across the sidewalk and glared people down as they attempted to walk by. It was clear to everyone there that the police were deliberately trying to provoke violence. I am grateful that the crowd I was in refused to take the bait.
5. White Supremacy
I want all white Americans to seriously think about what they stand for. Far too many times, I have seen white men and women remain silent while communities are systemically oppressed and victimized, and the first time they choose to speak up is only to criticize the oppressed, rather than the oppressors. I strongly urge any white Americans reading this to ask yourselves if you’ve taken the time to acknowledge injustice, or if you only get upset when the victims of injustice remind you that it’s there.
I have personally experienced great trauma at the hands of white men. I’ve been discriminated against by white men simply for being a woman. I’ve been abused by a white man, who is now being protected by white men and women. I too was criticized for expressing my grief and my pain as I attempted to heal from the trauma — trauma which still haunts me today. My trauma has been dismissed by enough white people over the years that I have a glimpse — but only a small glimpse — of what it might feel like to have systemic trauma spanning generations, fully dismissed and further perpetuated.
I am sure racism is genuinely at play here, because those same white Americans who have chosen to protect and enable my abuser, would almost certainly choose to speak against George Floyd for his history of crime, while they continue to coddle the white man who almost killed me on numerous occasions. They are far more willing to give that white man the benefit of the doubt than they are any black man. But then again, it’s also easier to believe a woman is crazy than it is to believe a white man could be a monster, so perhaps that factors in as well… Either way, the white man is always innocent, even when he’s not.
We should take the time to research what Candace Owens claims about George Floyd, and if anyone had to suffer trauma from his hands, then we most certainly shouldn’t condone it. But whatever he did before doesn’t make his death any more valid, and it most certainly doesn’t make this movement null and void. For Candace to claim that this movement is centered around criminals, while there have been countless cases of innocent black Americans being interrogated, beaten, and killed without any cause whatsoever, is a dangerous misrepresentation of the movement, and I am urging everyone not to perpetuate it.
It is worth noting that the only people I’ve seen sharing Candace Owens’ video are white Americans (not to say there definitively haven’t been any minorities doing the same), but while that makes me awfully suspicious, I still do not think all white people are inherently racist. Unfortunately though, there appears to be a significant number that don’t recognize how being born with white skin afforded them certain privileges — privileges that black Americans still don’t have.
For example, I may have less privilege than some of my white friends — being frequently stopped and interrogated at airports because I’m Lebanese and have thick hair (which they’re convinced I can hide bombs in, apparently) — I’m also more privileged than most minorities, because my ethnicity is ambiguous enough that prejudice can often skip right past me (as long as they don’t see my last name). Once we all recognize the privilege we carry, it becomes much easier to see how much harder it is to be a black person in America, and to have compassion for them and this movement.
It is definitely good to listen to different perspectives, and everyone should have a right to share their opinion, but when that opinion doesn’t account for crucial factors of the bigger picture, it is a disservice to your listeners, to this movement, and to social justice everywhere. For that reason, I urge you to avoid sharing her video, especially if you haven’t shared anything else to show solidarity with the oppressed and those in mourning.