Matt Grocott

This past Friday, while on an errand, I had to stop at a busy intersection for a red light. As I waited, I couldn’t help but notice two or three people standing on each corner, holding up signs which read, “Black Lives Matter.” A few drivers honked their horns as they went through the intersection, causing the sign holders to get excited over the apparent show of support.

Still sitting at the intersection, I looked around at the drivers on either side of me. Looking to my left, the lady in that car appeared anxious for the “go” signal. She stared straight ahead. Then I glanced to my right. The driver of a delivery van saw me looking his direction and raised his hands from the steering wheel, palms up, and gave a shrug as if to say, “I don’t know” or, “I don’t get it.” What I found interesting about this man and his gesture is he was a person of very dark complexion.

This incident had me wondering how this gentleman felt about what he saw. All those holding signs were white. In fact, most were gray-haired white women. Honestly, if I were him, I would have felt uncomfortable. I’d be asking myself, “Why do I need these old white women standing up for me? Am I not man enough to stand up for myself?” I would see it as an affront, as though I were too weak to stand up for myself. Maybe that is how the driver next to me felt. Maybe he was a little embarrassed.

Up in Portland, the residents of that city have had to endure more than 50 consecutive nights of unrest and rioting. Supposedly the protests are about the murder of George Floyd. This past Saturday in Portland, a man was attacked and stabbed with a 7-inch knife. The man who was stabbed is Drew Duncomb. The man who allegedly stabbed him is Blake Hampe. Duncomb is a self-described “Black conservative” and Trump supporter. Hampe is said to be a member of Antifa and is white.

Here is the element of the story that made no sense: While several witnesses did detain the perpetrator, when police arrived, the crowd was uncooperative and disallowed the officers to do their job. Additionally, some of the crowd acted out aggressively against the police as they tried to establish a crime scene. Ultimately, they could not get one established.

One would think, if these people were protesting the unjustified killing of a Black man that happened two months ago in a city 1,700 miles away, they would show more concern over a Black man in their own city who had just been stabbed by a white guy. For all they knew, this was another scene of a white on Black murder. For justice to be served, evidence would be important. Fortunately, Mr. Duncomb survived his injuries but regardless, a trial will be necessary, as will evidence to convict Blake Hampe of the charges brought against him.

Also this past Friday, a man who gave himself the title of “Proud Unhyphenated American,” died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 71. Lloyd Marcus was an author, songwriter and public speaker. In March of this year, he posted an article to his website in which he asked, “Is there racism in America?” Answering his own question, he continued: “Absolutely! Racism will exist along with every other sin under the sun until Jesus takes us home. But is racism really an issue in the lives of most Americans? Absolutely not. Despite the left’s efforts to make everything about race, the truth is, Americans of all races work and play together extremely well.”

If you’ve never heard of Lloyd Marcus, he was a Black man and an ardent supporter of President Trump. He proudly looked forward to the president’s re-election.

I have to say, I agree with Lloyd Marcus’ assessment of racism in America. To the extent, however, that racism still needs addressing, I also agree with the Rev. E.D. Mondainé. His is the leader of the NAACP in Portland, Oregon. He describes what is going on in Portland as “largely a white spectacle.” He blames all the rioting and unrest on Antifa and other left-wing activists who have co-opted the Black Lives Matter movement. He rightly asks, “What are Antifa and other leftist agitators achieving for the cause of Black equality?” I would say nothing. They are causing more harm than good.

To the lady who wrote in response to my last column that “BLM” really means “Black Lives Matter Too,” if that is what is meant, that is what should be stated. I agree, Black lives do matter too.

A former member of the San Carlos City Council and mayor, Matt Grocott has been involved in political policy on the Peninsula for 17 years. He can be reached by email at mattgrocott@comcast.net.

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(10) comments

Christopher Conway

President Trump is going to do very well with the black vote in America this year. There are many African Americans in this country that don't like BLM and don't like kneeling during our National Anthem. Blacks for Trump.

Tommy Tee

"Blacks For Trump," says the white guy who doesn't believe in racism. LOL

Cindy Cornell

Be wary of being at a stoplight next to Matt Grocott. He's likely to ascribe all sorts of thoughts and opinions to you. He loves the words "seems," "appears," etc. and posits them as evidence. Why he has a regular column in this paper is a puzzle. When it comes to race, he reminds me of a beloved aunt of mine who lived in LA during the riots in Watts. She said that "our negroes" have been quite happy until these outside agitators came along.

wlydecker

The violence in many cities has become the focus of the media spotlight, which then shifts to the feds who come in. I think that is what was meant by "co-opted."

Matt Grocott

Mike Dunham, you are not focused at all on the point being made in the column. It has nothing to do with percentages of support for the president by any artificial division of the American people you may want to create.

Mike Dunham

The title of the column is "Is the movement being co-opted?" and you approvingly cite two Black Trump supporters as part of your evidence. The "point" of the polling data is to show that Black Trump supporters are a tiny fraction of Black Americans, and the fact that you cite them instead of those in the overwhelming majority suggests you are not taking a clear-eyed, objective look at the situation.

If you're looking for more direct data on whether Black people believe Black Lives Matter has been co-opted, here's a CBS News/YouGov poll from late June that shows that 84% of Black respondents support the ideas of the Black Lives Matter movement: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-lives-matter-police-reform-opinion-poll-28-06-2020/

Also, I think it's revealing that you describe race as "an artificial division of the American people." On one level, it's true that race is a social construct and our culture's perceptions of who is part of which race has changed over time. On the other hand, if you talk to virtually any Black person about whether they think race is a significant factor in American life, the answer will overwhelmingly be yes. This is primarily due to the actions of white people throughout our nation's history, who have enslaved, oppressed, and mistreated others based on the color of their skin. It's a luxury that only white people have to think of race as an "artificial division" instead of a major aspect of life here.

Matt Grocott

The title was given by the editor and was not the title of the column when I sent it in to the paper.

wlydecker

"Get your programs here!!! Can't tell the fascists without a program!!"

Mike Dunham

This column contains a bizarre set of cherry-picked examples of Black Americans who support President Trump, as if their existence somehow proves that the Black Lives Matter movement is some unrepresentative farce. Do these individuals exist and support the President? Sure. Do they represent the majority of Black Americans -- or, based on recent polls, the majority of all Americans? Not at all.

The Pew Research Center published a new national survey a few weeks ago. In it, 86% of Black Americans polled disapprove of President Trump's job performance. This is substantially higher than the already high disapproval numbers of the population at large, of whom 59% disapprove of the president's performance: https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2020/06/30/publics-mood-turns-grim-trump-trails-biden-on-most-personal-traits-major-issues/

Anecdotes do not equal data, Mr. Grocott.

Dirk van Ulden

Mike - BLM is neither representative nor a farce but a dangerous anarchist movement. The Pew Research failed to find out whether Black Americans support BLM. Based on TV footage of the supporting mobs, I believe it is mostly bored, white women who wasted their parents' money by getting difficult to monitize liberal arts degrees. BLM also shook down large corporations who paid them off so that they would not be targeted. It is now a major funding source for the DNC.

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