Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to be totally and very publicly clueless on the subject of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Giuliani’s claim to fame was being mayor of New York City at a time when that city’s crime rate plummeted. In hindsight we now understand that the crime rate was falling pretty much everywhere during that period and we only first noticed that trend in New York City. This has created a false perception that Giuliani is some kind of great crime-fighter, even though he’s not, and it’s why the press frequently turns to him for comment on matters of crime and punishment, especially inasmuch as he also was once a public prosecutor.
And while frequently at a loss for insight, Giuliani is never at a loss for words.
At the heart of Giuliani’s tone deafness on the subject of Black Lives Matters is his failure to understand that the very term really means “Black Lives Matter, Too.” What he doesn’t grasp is that it is clear that while white lives matter to police officers and departments around the country, in too many cases black lives do not. That is the message of Black Lives Matters, but Giuliani just isn’t sharp enough – or honest enough – to understand this.
And that lack of understanding leads to all sorts of nonsense.
Like Giuliani’s focus on the idea that “all lives matter” when we are seeing with our own eyes that in too many cases that’s clearly not true.
Like Giuliani’s observation that black folks should focus on black-on-black murders even though we know white-on-white murders are just as common and as if the very existence of that problem means no one should pay any attention to the tendency of white police officers to use black people for target practice.
Like Giuliani’s complaint that Black Lives Matters divides us – as if the performance of too many police officers and too many police departments isn’t one of the reasons we’re divided.
Like Giuliani’s complaint that Black Lives Matters focuses only on police shootings of black people – as if that’s not a significant or worthy enough problem to merit the exclusive focus of an organization.
Like Giuliani’s suggestion that black parents are failing to teach their children to respect the police – as if it’s not clear that some police don’t respect black people and that black people are better served by distrusting and fearing the police until that changes.
It’s unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani is the source the press turns to for comment on such issues because his reputation was built through public relations, not achievement.
But what’s more unfortunate are the foolish things Giuliani says when it does.