Written by Patience Griswold
In a recent video from TakeCharge Minnesota, Rashad Turner, a former leader of Black Lives Matter explained why he left the organization. “I believed the organization stood for exactly what the name implies,” Turner said,
Black lives do matter. However, after a year on the inside, I learned they had little concern for rebuilding black families, and they cared even less about improving the quality of education for students in Minneapolis.
A year and a half after he founded the Saint Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter, Turner left and is now engaged in a movement that is seeking to rebuild families and expand access to quality education.
Until recently, Black Lives Matter stated on their website that one of their goals is to “disrupt the nuclear family.” This goal is incredibly harmful. The data shows that marriage reduces poverty in every racial demographic, and family breakdown consistently harms children and communities. Last year, World magazine’s Tim Lamer drew attention to the international data on fatherlessness, pointing out that throughout the world, fatherlessness hurts kids. Even if the economic disparities are removed, kids who grow up without a dad still face hurdles that their peers do not. No program can ever replace fathers.
Family breakdown has affected all demographics in the U.S. — currently, nearly a quarter of children in the U.S. do not have a father figure in the home and 50% of births occur outside of marriage for women under 30. The black community has been hit especially hard by this trend, with the rate of fatherlessness recently hitting 75%. Take Charge MN has pointed out,
skin color is not the consistent variable for low performance… Fatherless homes is the consistent variable. The disparity is spreading in the Hispanic and White communities as well. It is prominent in the Black community because of a 50-year head start.
And as Take Charge MN has also noted, government policies that have disincentivized marriage have played a significant role in this trend.
In addition to Black Lives Matter’s ambivalence toward, and even promotion of family breakdown, Turner has pointed out the organization’s failure to pursue policies that expand access to quality education. Turner was raised by his grandparents after his father was shot and killed when he was two years old and his mother was no longer able to take care of him. They instilled in him a love of learning and emphasized the value of education. “I am living proof that no matter your start in life, quality education is a pathway to success,” he said. “I want the same success for our children and our communities.”
In 2016, Turner left Black Lives Matter when the organization called for a moratorium on charter schools and an end to the “privatization of education.” Turner is an outspoken champion of school choice and has rightly pointed out that for students to succeed, families need to have the ability to put their children in educational settings that best fit their needs.
A student’s access to quality education should not be limited by their zip code, but without school choice, this is the reality for many students. Minneapolis-area schools have been failing black families for years, but when black children from those same Minneapolis neighborhoods attend private, faith-based schools, they score above the national average on exams. BLM’s 2016 decision to call for an end to the “privatization of education” put them at odds with student success.
Turner left Black Lives Matter because he saw how the organization’s goals were hurting, not helping the black community. In his words, “I was an insider in Black Lives Matter, and I learned the ugly truth.” It is impossible to help families and communities while encouraging family breakdown and shutting down educational opportunities.
This article was originally published by the Minnesota Family Council.