Founder of the “Black Lives Matter” movement
When George Zimmermann was acquitted in 2013 after the fatal shots at Afro-American teenager Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Khan-Cullors refused to accept it. The three black women founded the “Black Lives Matter” movement (BLM), which is now known worldwide. In the years that followed, BLM gained international fame through demonstrations against allegedly racially motivated police violence against African-Americans. Since the death of George Floyd last year, these protests have regularly escalated into riots and looting.
Time magazine put the trio 2020 in its list of the 100 most influential personalities of the year. But who are these women who are said to have such power and influence?
The ideological classification, especially of the media-savvy Khan-Cullors, is not particularly difficult because of an older interview. In 2015, she described Garza and herself as “trained Marxists” and “super-savvy when it comes to ideological theories”. However, the very wording of this self-positioning raises doubts about their understanding of complex social theories.
First of all, the family is supported
Most recently, Khan-Cullor’s multi-million dollar real estate portfolio caused outrage in its own ranks. She herself sees no contradiction between her “Marxist education” and the accumulation of private wealth: “I find this criticism unfounded. Through my lifestyle, I also support other black people – including and above all my black family members.”
Since BLM immediately declared that it would not pay Khan-Cullors a salary, US media suspected in the past few days about the origin of her prosperity – but this mystery seems to have been solved.
Since 2014, several tech billionaires, including shareholders from Twitter, Facebook and Netflix, have made generous donations totaling around $ 7.5 million to non-profit organizations led by the BLM founder. These organizations in turn paid substantial fees to Khan-Cullors and her partner for various consulting activities.
It smells like opportunism
In American social discourse, there is a term for people like Khan-Cullors: race hustler. This means people who use every ethnic conflict in the country to present themselves in a media-effective way. They pose as advocates of their own group; and enrich themselves in the process.
The African-American economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell warned in the 1980s against the so-called “community leaders” – the supposed advocates of the black population. These often have an economic interest in the increasing escalation of social conflicts.
Khan-Cullors may have good intentions – and a limited understanding of Marxist theories – but her activities smell very much like cynical opportunism. She wouldn’t be the first to benefit from the difficult relationship between black and white Americans.