North Carolina councilman says ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogan is racist
A city councilman in Wilmington, North Carolina slammed the phrase “Black Lives Matter” as racist, refusing to vote for the city to authorize a mural with the motto.
“The thing that has always bothered me throughout this process is whenever anybody said something besides, ‘Black Lives Matter’ they were castigated as being racist. I think this is probably this most racist and divisive thing I’ve seen come before us,” said Charles Rivenbark to a council meeting this week, according to Newsweek.
“If Black lives are the only ones that matter, you got a problem, that’s racist. Because you got Hispanics, we have a melting pot of people here in this town, and I could imagine a small white child seeing that like, ‘What about white lives,’” he added.
His remarks were during a meeting that the Raleigh News Observer described as “sometimes tense.”
The meeting discussed two proposals according to the Wilmington Port City Daily.
“During the agenda briefing, councilmembers heard a two-part proposal that will be up for a vote Tuesday evening. The first part of the proposal would erect an art installation, with letters spelling out ‘Black Lives Matter,’ in Jervay Park on the northside of Wilmington. The second part would turn a largely unused block nearby into a ‘public forum for all expression,’” reports the Port City Daily.
Councilman Kevin Spears, who is Black, countered Rivenbark by saying that the country often treats Black Americans like they aren’t important.
“All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter. All lives don’t matter when you’re seeing a man kneel, someone kneel on his neck, a police officer kneeled on his neck for nine and a half minutes and killed him,” Spears said of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis that further sparked widespread debate about police use of force and racism.
Rivenbark, who is white, says that he wants a mural that would be more welcoming and portray the area as friendly and feel-good.
He suggested an “All Lives Matter” sign would be more appropriate.
Wilmington Mayor Margaret Haynes also expressed concern that making an area as a “public forum” for free expression would subject the city to policing controversial or unpopular messages.
“Haynes also questioned letting ‘one group have twelve-foot letters and others can have a piece of plywood on a stick … I don’t know if it’s fair,’” says the Port City Daily.
President Trump has derided the progressive expression, saying that he thinks “Black Lives Matter” is an expression of hatred.
Former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani agreed, saying: “Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization. Black Lives Matter has been planning to destroy the police for three years.”
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