Instigator / Con

Black Lives Matter (movement)


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 4 votes and with 20 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
Voting period
One week
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Pro

Death23 is Con. Resolution: This house would support the black lives matter movement.

Round 1
BLM is a strongly ethnocentric movement. BLM's name implies that lives that are not black do not matter or matter less. On BLM's "what we believe" web page - - "black" is mentioned 29 times. White, hispanic, latino, or asian are mentioned 0 times. The BLM movement draws the lines of its community on racial lines. The United States is a multi-racial society and should not divided by race. The BLM movement, at its core, represents a racially divisive step in the wrong direction. Racially diverse communities operate better when racial identities are abandoned for more encompassing identities. This was found by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, who studied the issue extensively and stated as follows -

in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities.

The BLM movement quick to judge incidents and recklessly accepts false narratives. Even after what really happened is proven, the BLM movement still persists in pushing false narratives. Of the Michael Brown shooting, for example, the Obama administration's Justice Department thoroughly investigated the incident and found as follows:

"The evidence establishes that the shots fired by Wilson after Brown turned around were in self-defense" (page 80)
"The evidence establishes that the shots fired by Wilson while he was seated in his SUV were in self-defense" (page 82)
"this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed." (page 86)

The BLM movement accepted the statements of witness Dorian Johnson that Michael Brown put his hands in the air and was shot. He was referred to as "Witness 101" in the justice department's report. See -

Witness 101 made multiple statements to the media immediately following the incident that spawned the popular narrative that Wilson shot Brown execution-style as he held up his hands in surrender. [...] Witness 101 has a misdemeanor conviction for a crime of dishonesty likely admissible in federal court as impeachment evidence. As described above, material parts of Witness 101’s account are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence, internally inconsistent from one part of his account to the next, and inconsistent with other credible witness accounts that are corroborated by physical evidence. (Pages 44 & 47)

Even after it's clear that the shooting was in self-defense, the BLM movement continues to maintain that the shooting was a murder. In other words, the BLM movement is poisoned with post-truth politics. (See, e.g. - - asserting Michael Brown was murdered) The facts and evidence simply don't matter. The Trayvon Martin shooting followed a similar pattern. A shooting in self defense happens. A false narrative was pushed. The jury acquits, the feds don't prosecute, and the BLM movement refuses to accept it.

The BLM movement is a political lightning rod which distracts from problems of much greater significance. The power to make change by putting pressure on the government through protests (or riots) is diverted toward addressing problems in policing when there are other problems of much greater significance. In 2019, 370 white Americans were shot and killed by police, and 235 black Americans were. Using 2010 census data, if blacks were shot and killed by police at the same per capita rate as whites, then only 79 should have been killed. (An extra 156 deaths)

156 annual deaths. Lets put this in to perspective. In 2016, there were 2,854 white on white murders and 2,570 black on black murders. Using 2010 census data, if blacks were murdered by other blacks at the same per capita rate as whites, then only 608 blacks should have been murdered by other blacks. (An extra 1962 deaths) So? What's more important? 1,962 deaths or 156 deaths? Well, that doesn't gain any traction because it's about who is responsible. When people outside the racial identity are to blame, then it's something that can gain popular traction. In other news, 1,000 people a day are dying of COVID-19, and 2.8 million Americans died in 2018. Perhaps COVID policies should matter so much. Perhaps access to healthcare should matter. That would save lives. The southern governors who refused to expand medicaid no doubt have caused many improverished blacks to die for lack of treatment. But who cares about that.
Thank you for the debate, Death23.

What Does BLM Believe?

From BLM's "What We Believe" page:

“We’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.”

“Black Lives Matter is a movement to address and eradicate not only police brutality against black people, but the racism that inspires it.”
Does BLM believe that non-black lives are inferior?

Con believes BLM implicates that non-black lives are inferior to black lives because they prioritize focus on issues affecting the black community. However, BLM's assertion is not that black people are superior, but that black people are being treated as if they are inferior by society, and that issues affecting them have been largely ignored by society. By focusing on advocating for the specific issues related to anti-black racism, they are not implying that those are the only issues that matter, in the same way that advocates for breast cancer awareness are not claiming that breast cancer is the only cancer that matters.

It is mentioned on BLM's "What We Believe" page, that they do believe in equality for all:

“We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.”

“To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others.” 

Does BLM rely on false narratives to support its cause?

Con asserts that BLM relies on the narratives of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin to support their cause. The issue of police brutality against black people is not always meant to be a case of whether or not the black victim was 100% innocent in every encounter. The movement is also about protecting criminals. For example, there is a disparity in how white resisters and black resisters are handled by police. Data from the Chicago PD found that white people tend to resist more than black people, but police officers use more force when dealing black arrestees (

BLM does not just rely on individual stories, but on data/studies to support that there is an issue of racism in our legal system and law enforcement. For example:

Is BLM distracting from other issues?

Con argues that BLM is a distraction from larger issues, comparing the death rate by police against that of COVID19 as an example. As pointed out above, BLM is not focused exclusively on issues of police violence, but also anti-black racism as a whole.

I disagree with the logic that because a larger issue exists, that smaller issues should be ignored. This is the same argument that anti-maskers use to downplay the severity of COVID19. Indeed, BLM has a section of their website devoted to COVID19 resources:

Con believes that BLM is distracting from issues regarding healthcare. Healthcare is one of the focus points for BLM's #WhatMatters2020 campaign ( BLM has also allowed for greater awareness in the racial disparities that exist within healthcare communities ( 

Con then compares the violence resulted from police with “black on black” violence. Intraracial (within same race) violence happens at similar rates regardless of the race involved. Why don't we then speak on "white on white" violence? We simply refer to it as "gun violence." BLM does wish to address gun law issues as they pointed out as part of their focus for their #WhatMatters2020 campaign ( Also, the Chicago chapter of BLM teamed up with the Violence Interrupters to disrupt violent altercations before they escalate ( 

Black Lives Matter is not a single issue movement, but a multi-issue one. The issues it wishes to address do not only benefit black communities, but all communities. Black Lives Matter does not wish to pay "special" attention to black people, but to simply pay attention to black people in a way that society has failed to do.
Round 2
Pro hasn't constructed a case. Pro has merely critiqued my case. So, Pro has given us no reason to support the BLM movement.
Pro talks about "superior" and "inferior". Lets be clear, I didn't use those words and I wasn't talking about superior physical or mental traits, which is what those words typically refer to in a racial context. What I was talking about was the relative importance of black lives or anti-black racism versus all lives or other forms of racism. When it's racist police brutality against Hispanics, it doesn't matter to the BLM movement. Why not? Because the victim wasn't black.
The BLM is strongly ethnocentric, and this has not been denied by Pro. The BLM movement divides America on racial lines. If you're black, then black people are your community. If you're not black, then you're not part of that community and can never. It is pretty standard for people to value the members of their community above those who are outside their community. In other words, for the BLM movement, black lives matter more. White, Hispanic, and Asian lives matter less.
Breast cancer awareness advocacy is not comparable. It is a health issue. There isn't any blame. There isn't any racial or ethnic divisiveness. There is some gender division, but not really since men can get breast cancer. There is a slight divisiveness to it (why not raise testicular cancer awareness?) but men and women don't have a history of voting as political blocks or politically aligning themselves on the basis of sex. If awareness of breast cancer was being advocated by hardcore feminists who despised men, and it was being done because they valued men less and women more, then I suppose it could be divisive, but I just don't see that happening.
The words cited from BLM's page by Pro are just lip service. They only fight for black people. They claim that this is fighting for all people, perhaps to deflect allegations of ethnocentrism. But fighting only for blacks isn't fighting for everybody. Black is the priority for the BLM movement. If you're not black, then you don't matter to them.
Pro doesn't deny that the BLM  movement uses false narratives. Pro simply changes the subject. The fact is that the BLM movement lies, and continues to lie. Facts and evidence don't matter and are trampled over.
Pro compares my argument to anti-maskers and COVID-19. This comparison is not accurate. COVID-19 is a big deal, and a high-impact issue that I specifically cited as significant. COVID-19 is a big issue because of the high number of deaths. (1,000 people a day-ish now?) Police brutality against black people is a relatively low-impact issue because of the low number of deaths (250ish per year-ish).
The reality is that black people dying at the hands of police simply doesn't have enough of an objective impact to justify the focus placed on it by the BLM movement. This is a misplaced priority, an undue focus, an overreaction, etc. Problems in policing are important and shouldn't be ignored, but they're not THAT important. Pro characterizing my position as "smaller issues should be ignored" is a straw-man argument. I didn't say that.
Pro points to a bullet list on the BLM website stating that healthcare is a priority. This is lip service, really. There is no action on that. And lets be clear: I was talking about the decision to expand medicaid under Obamacare, which was up to governors. If the governors expanded medicaid, then non-senior adults earning less than $14,000 dollars or so per year would be eligible for free healthcare. Because black people are generally poorer, the decision to expand medicad or not had a greater impact on black people. When it was not expanded, those who didn't get medicaid coverage as a result didn't get access to life-saving treatments. This resulted in over 15,000 deaths, disproportionately black ones. ( ) Any BLM movement protests about that? Nope. OK. Thousands of blacks die, no protests. Yet, one black person dies from a racist cop, RIOTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. This illustrates how the priority is misplaced.

Is BLM necessary?

To explore if BLM is a necessary movement, we have to look at  evidence that anti-black racism is pervasive in our society. Here are some examples:

These examples, in addition to the examples of racism within our legal system/law enforcement that I provided in round one, show the racism that BLM speaks of is not just about police brutality, but extends far beyond it. These examples show a prevalence of racism large enough that it needs to be addressed.

Con Michael Brown Argument:

I won’t argue the findings of the DOJ on the Michael Brown case. I don’t believe he was innocent. But it was public reaction to his death that led the DOJ into an investigation of the Ferguson Police Department and found that “officers in Ferguson routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city's residents, by discriminating against African Americans and applying racial stereotypes, in a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department that violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law.”

And it was St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell who agreed with the Justice Department’s findings on Michael Brown, but still had this to say:

Is BLM effective?

We have seen BLM raise awareness and conversation about issues affecting the black community through protests, rallies, media attention etc. Here are some examples of how BLM has made positive impact:

Should BLM prioritize all races?

Racism is not an issue that is exclusive to black people, but that does not mean that all races experience discrimination in the same way. It is important for marginalized voices in our society to voice their own experiences so they can educate those outside of their communities. When organizations try to speak for the generalized public, they tend to prioritize voices that represent the majority, and that leaves out the voices of minorities.

It’s important for individual groups to exist so they can speak to their own specific issues, and not risk their voices being drowned out by the experiences of larger communities. In the case of BLM, it is a diverse movement comprised of different races in support of largely ignored issues that affect the black community. The black and Hispanic communities do have issues that overlap, but not all of their issues overlap. The Hispanic community would benefit from many of the initiatives that BLM supports, but not all of the initiatives BLM is pushing for represent large areas of concern for the Hispanic community.

BLM does support non-black victims of police brutality. For example, BLM showed up for Andres Guardado, and Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez in the wake of their deaths. Two Latino men killed by police.

Con's Medicaid/Covid Argument:

Con uses the examples of the failure to expand medicaid, and the COVID19 death rates as argument as to why BLM should not be prioritizing issues of police brutality. The difference with COVID19/Medicaid issue is they are already issues supported in the political sphere by powerful groups. Police brutality was not a mainstream issue until the BLM movement came to fruition. The point of BLM is to prioritize under represented issues (which includes but is not limited to police brutality), not issues that already have large platforms supporting them.

Round 3
Con has forfeited the final round. I’d like to, again, thank them for the debate. I’ll offer some closing thoughts:

Black Lives Matter has shed light on the racism that exists in many areas of society, and most specifically within the law enforcement/legal system. In pushing these issues into mainstream discourse, BLM has inspired positive change within political platforms, media, and many large organizations/businesses. 

BLM is a diverse movement, not a divisive one. We have seen the diversity within the many different types of people who have shown up to protests, and other events. We have seen the BLM movement show up for victims of police brutality who are not black, and we have seen them pay honor to public figures who are not black.

If you wonder why BLM prioritizes certain issues within the black community, it’s because they choose issues that had not yet been highlighted/prioritized by other large political groups/organizations. They choose issues that are underrepresented in mainstream politics. The focus on victims of police violence is to reveal a legal system that has routinely treated black people (both innocent and non-innocent) poorly when compared to their white equivalents, and not just in the case of when a victim dies, but across the legal system. 

In my arguments, I provided studies, data, and other evidence to support these views. I believe I was able to show the necessity behind the BLM movement, as well as the value in supporting the movement.

Thank you to all who took the time to read this debate.