Black Lives Matter Poisons a Young Athlete's Mind

WSJ 0 تعليق ارسل طباعة تبليغ حذف

Now that the Olympics in Tokyo are over, everyone is talking about its great, unforgettable moments. I watched my fair share of this year’s Olympic Games, and rather doubt I shall remember much about them, apart from one indelible moment. It took place not on any court or field, mat or ring, but in an interview on NBC between Lester Holt and a 24-year-old American Olympian sprinter named Noah Lyles, who won a bronze medal in the 200-meter race.

In the interview, Mr. Holt informs us that as a kid Mr. Lyles had asthma, attention-deficit disorder and dyslexia, but surmounted them all, as well as the teasing that went with them, to achieve his dream of competing in the Olympics. Mr. Lyles reports, though, that the past year has been tough on him, sending him into depression. Mr. Holt asked about this depression, which Mr. Lyles acknowledged began during the past year when, as he said, “the Black Lives Matter movement started gaining a lot of traction. That’s when the depression took over. You hear on the news every day that you’re not wanted. You love your country, but it hurts even more to see that the country they want you to support is trying to kill you.”

That sad moment caused a wave of depression of my own. Interesting, is it not, that this is how the Black Lives Matter movement translates itself into the mind of a sensitive, athletically successful, and likable young man such as Mr. Lyles? Is Mr. Lyles misreading the BLM message? Do Americans really “not want” Mr. Lyles and his confreres in the country? How has it come about that he came to believe such bilge?

I pretend to no great expertise on the Black Lives Matter movement. I have not examined all the documents it has produced, nor heard every utterance of its leading figures. From the utterances I have heard, I gather that BLM is antipolice, crudely anti-Israel and not overly critical of the cruel looting that has accompanied many of its ostensibly peaceful protests. The organization does not feature the extraordinary progress that has been made in race relations or the progress of black Americans in recent decades.

One cannot mistake the anger in the utterances of BLM, so different from the thoughtful and measured statements of civil-rights leaders of an earlier day: A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins Sr. , Martin Luther King Jr. , Whitney Young, Bayard Rustin —men who were on the front lines when it was truly dangerous to be there.

Which leads one to ask: Why hasn’t a stronger black leadership arisen since this earlier generation of brave and highly intelligent men? How did not only Black Lives Matter but the civil-rights movement generally skitter so far off the track to end up having a young black athlete’s lifelong desire to run in the Olympics marred by his belief that his countrymen wish to kill him?

Everyone will have his own notion of the specific moment that this happened. For me, living at the time in Little Rock, Ark., and working as director of the city and county’s antipoverty program, it came when a then-prominent member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee named Stokely Carmichael eschewed integration as the goal of the civil-rights movement in favor of Black Power.

Integration called for fairness across all American institutions; Black Power for endless struggle and conflict. Integration was a call to conscience; Black Power a call to guilt, which is radically different. Integration implies a vision, the vision set out, specifically, in King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Black Power implies, generally, resentment, rancor and the need for retribution.

So long has the dream of racial integration been on the back burner that I’m less than certain the young sprinter Mr. Lyles, on the eve of his Olympic dream about to be realized, would have even known about it let alone been elevated by its message of hope. I do know, though, that listening to Black Lives Matter cries over the past year, he was right to feel depressed.

Mr. Epstein is author, most recently, of “Gallimaufry: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.”

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Disclaimer that the site operates automatically without human intervention, so all articles, news and comments posted on the site are the responsibility of the owners and the website manages them do not bear any moral or legal responsibility for the content of the site.
"All rights reserved for their owners"

Source:" WSJ "

0 تعليق