Catholic theologian Trent Horn has through an informative podcast called Pints with Aquinas offerred a view of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and racism in the United States that will find agreement with many readers and is worth acknowledging. Horn makes his position clear,
“I fully support the proposition “black lives matter” and condemn individual, generational, and systemic racism wherever they exist. However, I do not support the organization Black Lives Matter because it promotes false pro-LQBT ideologies and that is not a racist position.”
Referring to the organization, Horn views it as a decentralized social movement that does not have chapters or a rigid hierarchy. It does have leaders and a website stating its goals that speaks much about dismantling cis-gender privilege, fostering a queer affirming network, and eradicating the nuclear family.
In light of the many responses to the BLM protests, Horn believes one ought to avoid responding with retorts such as “All lives matter.” Of course all lives matter, but the context of the retort is important, which is that it is being said in response to the BLM movement and thus comes off as dismissive. Horn provides the following analogy,
“I think the phrase “All Lives Matter” is taken as something antagonistic towards Black Lives Matter or is dismissive… If we were to have a movement called “Unborn Lives Matter” and people said well “All Lives Matter”, we would consider it dismissive of the claim that we are making. That’s why I don’t use that claim All Lives Matter as a replacement phrase.”
But what about those who wish to march and support anti-racism, but who also do not want to be a part of the organization bearing the BLM name? Horn suggests that protesters should avoid holding signs with the BLM slogan on it because it is the name of the organization and is identifying with its ideology. This is because on their website, BLM supports anti-Christian ideals that break down the nature of the family. Trent recommends that some alternative slogans should be used on signs, such as “End Racism Now!” or “Racism is Evil!” This is a “clear, core message that we can all agree on and that we should march towards.”
Horn says that there are indeed nasty acts of racism in the United States: “We live in a country with 330 million people, you’re going to find a lot of individual racists out there against all kinds of people, not just against blacks, but against Jews, Asian Americans, against indigenous people… obviously that’s wrong.”
In regards to the notion of generational racism, Horn believes such a thing does exist because the United States has historically had immoral policies. Simply undoing those policies is insufficient to do away with the damage they have caused. Despite racist policies no longer being lawful, there is still residual damage that can be felt by many Americans today. Horn thus maintains that the United States does have to battle generational and individual racism. There is indeed a mission to overcome the remnants of historical crimes. Horn strongly disagrees, moreover, with the claim that the United States is systemically racist,
“Systemic racism I believe would apply to the United States during the age of Jim Crow laws that prevented African Americans from voting and accessing public accommodations or when there was apartheid in South Africa. That to me is systemic racism. If you define systemic racism so broadly that it includes generational racism then everybody is racist. That is why you got to be careful with terms.”
When it comes to the definition of “racism”, Horn notices the change in how some are using the term, particularly to make it so broad that all people, especially white people, are guilty of it. According to Horn this will itself cause damage to overcoming legitimate acts of racism,
“We have to be vigilant about racism but at the same time when people overreact to things it’s like the boy who cried wolf. If you say that something is racist when it is not, you start missing the things that actually are racist. For example, many people who are a part of Black Lives Matter [who] are promoting this idea of systemic racism will try to tie what they call micro-aggressions into being racist. One might be micro-aggressive if you have an African American friend who has very tight, curly hair and if you say something like “Oh, I just love you hair. Can I touch that?” that is considered a micro-aggression. It is a form of implicit racism because you don’t do that to other people… Sometimes it may be an expression of implicit racism but other times it’s “don’t be weird” with other people.”
YouTube. 2020. Socialism, Black Lives Matter, and Systemic Racism w/ Trent Horn. Available.
YouTube. 2020. Should We Support Black Lives Matter? w/ Trent Horn. Available.