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‘Free Palestine’ is just as misguided as ‘Black Lives Matter’: political scientist

The “Free Palestine” movement in America makes the same mistakes as “Black Lives Matter” in misunderstanding complex problems as racist oppression, according to Kentucky State University political science Professor Wilfred Reilly.

“In both cases, left-wing partisans who see human interactions in terms of oppressor/oppressed dynamics are claiming their group faces serious problems because of external abuse—and denying that their group has played any role in the controversies involving them,” Reilly (pictured) wrote in the January 2024 issue of Commentary.

However, the deep problems of both Palestinians and black Americans are much more complicated.

The high violent crime rates, low test scores, and major income gap faced by black Americans cannot be the result of oppression primarily because these problems “did not exist to anywhere near the same extent in the past, despite the fact that the makeup of the black population was largely identical and the ethnic conflict with whites was far worse,” Reilly wrote.

“In reality, most issues in modern black America have far less to do with contemporary racism…than with excuse-making about crime and a distinctly disengaged attitude toward school and study,” he wrote.

Similarly, current problems in Gaza cannot be attributed entirely to Israel because Israel has not controlled the Gaza Strip since 2005. Gaza’s Hamas leadership deserves the blame.

However, ideologues in both Black Lives Matter and “Free Palestine” continue to attribute these problems to racism:

In both cases, the idea that oppression is the primary cause of the failure of civil society is forwarded, aggressively and constantly, by persuasive demagogues. The argument that the sole cause of all performance gaps between large racial groups is “racism”—and not, say, culture, regional or religious effects, stochastic random chance, genetic factors, or even the effects of past history—is the core theme of Ibram Kendi’s bestselling pseudo-scholarship. …

In both the Palestinian and black American cases, the critical final point is this: Achieving what is presumably every sane person’s end-game goal—actual improvements in the lot of currently troubled communities—will require total rejection of trendy oppressor v. oppressed narratives and demand a hard focus on what the actual problems in each case are.

In both cases,  elites must resist defaulting to “oppression” as a primary explanation of phenomena and choose instead to identify and address problems realistically and directly.

Read the full article

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