Jason Whitlock is speaking out against Black Lives Matter, calling it a “cleverly marketed slogan that provides cover for extremists to undermine racial progress and bully American citizens to support Democrat politicians.”
And that, Whitlock – a journalist at Outkick.com and former Fox Sports commentator known for his controversial takes on sports and race issues – said, is exactly what the Ku Klux Klan was all about.
“Despite the sweet-sounding name, Black Lives Matter acts as a racial divider,” Whitlock wrote in an email to IndyStar on Friday, “no different from the KKK.”
The rise of the Black Lives Matter social justice movement was spurred by the deaths of Black men, women and children across the U.S. during interactions with police officers, inspiring protests and calls for police reform. The Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups have terrorized Black communities, carrying out lynchings and destroying Black schools.
Richard Pierce, a professor and historian at the University of Notre Dame, called Whitlock’s comments a “provocative, inflammatory screed.” Pierce, who studies twentieth century America and specializes in the urban experience of Blacks, told IndyStar he had no desire to break down point by point why Whitlock is wrong.
“Nonetheless, I will say this. The KKK rioters commonly wore hoods to camouflage their identity and mimicked confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest’s marauding practices honed during the Civil War,” he told IndyStar. “Their very anonymity added to their intimidation.”
Black Lives Matter events, by contrast, are permitted events which take place under the protection of the First Amendment, he said.
“Protesters, prior to COVID-19 safeguard measures, were mostly unmasked,” he said. “I’ve never seen a hooded Black Lives Matter protester.”
Pierce added that Black Lives Matter protest marches correlate more strongly with events of inequality rather than the public election cycle.
Whitlock went on Fox News Wednesday night with Tucker Carlson. In that interview, he said Black Lives Matter and Antifa serve as the modern-day “enforcement arm” of the Democratic Party.
Antifa — short for “anti-fascist” — is the name for loosely affiliated, left-leaning, anti-racist groups that monitor and track the activities of local neo-Nazis. The movement has no unified structure or national leadership but has emerged in the form of local bodies nationwide, particularly on the West Coast.
When asked by IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, to expound on his take comparing Black Lives Matter to the KKK, Whitlock said he preferred an email interview due to the “sensitive topic.”
“The Ku Klux Klan was founded on Christmas Eve 1865 by Confederate soldiers dedicated to undermining the racial progress sparked by the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation,” he wrote.
Citing a History.com link, Whitlock talked of how it was at night when the KKK took part in terrorist raids against Blacks and white Republicans. He said they used intimidation, destroyed property, assaulted and killed in an effort to influence upcoming elections.
Federal agency:Supporting ‘Black Lives Matter’ isn’t partisan or political
Whitlock said he believes it is not a coincidence that “Black Lives Matter riots picked up during an election cycle and disappear after the votes have been counted.”
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel acknowledged in July that the Black Lives Matter movement, which focuses on issues of racism, has become a “hot-button issue,” complicated by the use of “Black Lives Matter” as an umbrella term for social movement.
As for his analogy comparing the KKK and Black Lives Matter being far fetched, Whitlock said it is not.
“My analogy is far more substantive and accurate than pretending the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were an armed insurrection analogous to Pearl Harbor and 9/11,” he said. “Black Lives Matter, founded by self-described trained Marxists, has a stated goal of disrupting Western Civilization traditions and values.”
In June, USA TODAY’s Fact Check team labeled the claim that the Democratic Party founded the KKK as false, noting that the KKK was “founded by Democrats, but not the party.”
“The KKK is almost a paramilitary organization that’s trying to benefit one party. It syncs up with the Democratic Party, which really was a racist party openly at the time,” Jon Grinspan, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History curator of political and military history, told USA TODAY. “But the KKK isn’t the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party isn’t the KKK.”
Additionally, in the mid-20th century, both parties’ stances on racial equity began to switch, as Democrats introduced policies to support voting rights and many racist voters who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 left the Democratic Party to become Republicans.
Whitlock stirred controversy in 2018 when he said that in the immediate aftermath of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the Democrats marketed liberalism as the solution to Black people’s problems.
“And liberalism now is like a cigarette. It’s been marketed to us the same as the cigarette — fashionable, sophisticated,” he said. “It’s supposed to be liberating but I think it needs a surgeon general’s warning: Hazardous to your families and all the values you were taught as a child.”
Whitlock said 95% of Blacks “are afraid to even admit that we have conservative values.”
IndyStar has reached out to Black Lives Matter for comment.
Contributing: Lorenzo Reyes, Doug Stanglin, Joel Shannon and Devon Link, USA TODAY