Mike Huckabee's "Black Lives Matter" Comments Try To Speak For Martin Luther King Jr, & It's Embarrassing
Mike Huckabee joins a whole list of presidential candidates whose comments on racial equality are downright embarrassing. Speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, Huckabee addressed the Black Lives Matter movement, criticizing it by saying that Martin Luther King, Jr. would be appalled at it even existing. Huckabee harped on the fact that all lives matter, which is true, but incredibly reductive of the struggles that people of color go through compared to others. He even went so far as to say that he'd been facing racial injustice his entire life as well:
I've dealt with race issues my whole life ... 35 years ago I fought them as a pastor when I integrated an all-white church and did so against death threats and so I understand how people have great passions but I also understand that the way you begin to resolve them is you do them by loving people and treating people with dignity and respect and you don't do it by magnifying the problems; you do it by really magnifying the solutions.
When I hear people scream, "black lives matter," I'm thinking, of course they do. But all lives matter. It's not that any life matters more than another. That's the whole message I think that Dr. King tried to present and I think he'd be appalled by the notion that we're elevating some lives above others.
Surprisingly, Ben Carson has taken a similar approach addressing the issue of racial equality. When asked directly about the Black Lives Matter movement on NBC's Meet the Press earlier this month, he called the whole thing "silly" and blamed political correctness on the backlash against Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley. O'Malley used the same language verbatim that "all lives matter" during a speaking engagement at the Netroots Nation conference, only to be shouted down by activists. He subsequently apologized hours later:
I meant no disrespect. That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.
Jeb Bush defended O'Malley, further showcasing the out-of-touch perspective that many presidential candidates have when it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement. The New York Times' Andrew Rosenthal makes a great point on the ways that Huckabee, Bush, and the like have failed by assuming that Black Lives Matter equates to a lack of equality by elevating one cause above another. Rosenthal points out the systematic oppression that makes it difficult for African-Americans to gain equal treatment. Rosenthal concludes that "yes, men have rights. And so do white people. They’re just not being systematically threatened."