Black Lives Matter co-founder: “The first time we were called terrorists, I remember seeing our names on Bill O’Reilly’s show”

Patrisse Khan-Cullors: "I knew that -- who Bill O’Reilly would empower: people like a Dylann Roof. And then I would, see our names on Breitbart... And then governors start calling us and elected officials start calling us terrorists and start call

From the January 16 edition of Pacifica's Democracy Now

PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS (CO-FOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER): Yeah. I think what we’ve seen over the last four-and-a-half years, as this movement has grown, is a continued, you know, backlash from the right and “alt-right.” And the first time, you know, we were called terrorists, I remember seeing our names on Bill O’Reilly’s show, and our faces. And I thought that that was frightening, because I know who watches Bill O’Reilly, and I know what kind --

AMY GOODMAN (HOST): Or watched him.

KHAN-CULLORS: Who watched, exactly. We got him off air.

GOODMAN: And it was women who took him down.

KHAN-CULLORS: Exactly. And so, I knew that—who Bill O’Reilly would empower: people like a Dylann Roof. And then I would, you know, see our names on Breitbart. And it was the first time I’m learning about Breitbart and who’s behind this. And then governors start calling us and elected officials start calling us terrorists and start calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization. And, you know, some don’t know this, but we’ve also been sued, several times, because of the Dallas shooting, saying that we incited the riots there, or because of the Baltimore uprisings.


GOODMAN: Let me play some of the comments that have been made about Black Lives Matter. These clips were featured on the CBC’s Fifth Estate.


BILL O’REILLY (FORMER FOX NEWS HOST): Hi. I’m Bill O’Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. How Black Lives Matter is killing Americans, that is the subject of this evening’s talking points memo.

RUDY GIULIANI (FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK): I think the—the reason that there’s a—there’s a target on police officers’ backs is because of groups like Black Lives Matter, that make it seem like all police are against blacks. They’re not.

PETE HEGSETH (FOX NEWS HOST): But this isn’t raising awareness.


HEGSETH: This is stoking—this is stoking fears. It’s stoking hatred. This is a movement that has devolved into fearmongering, hatemongering, in so many places, had an opportunity to raise some legitimate issues. Instead, we’re talking about, you know, killing cops.


GOODMAN: A leaked memo from the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit claims so-called black identity extremists pose a threat to law enforcement. The memo, from August 2017, reads, quote, “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” That, an FBI memo. asha bandele?

ASHA BANDELE (CO-FOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER): You know, Amy, I really want to say, too, that the majority of police shootings in this country happen at the hands of white men. And in most cases where police are at the most threat is when they’re dealing with white men. And so, you know, it’s interesting. I took my daughter to see 1984 when it was on Broadway earlier this year, and it reminded me—I hadn’t read the book in a long time—about how we just turn language around and sort of the Reagan-era disinformation and the purposeful putting out of things that are just abject lies. And so, there are no “black identity extremists” who are a threat to this nation. There are white identity extremists who are—


GOODMAN: I mean, we just read this—read this headline today.


GOODMAN: In Tennessee, a member of the white supremacist gang the Aryan Nations was arrested for the alleged shooting and wounding of a police officer last Thursday. The alleged shooter’s name, Ronnie Lucas Wilson.

BANDELE: There’s a whole bunch of them with three names like that out there, who are—look at what happened in Las Vegas. I don’t know what that was about—

KHAN-CULLORS: Look at what happened in Charlottesville.

BANDELE: —or if that was white supremacy. But I just thought, “My god, my god, I mean, it’s just unbelievable.” And the fact is that we have to get the truth out, right? The truth is that the threat to police does not come from the black community. The threat from police—it certainly doesn’t come from black activists. It certainly doesn’t come from us. It comes from, typically, aggrieved, angry, crazy—whatever we want to call it—white men. And so, this rewriting of history is why it’s so important to tell these stories, and not just when they call you a terrorist. We want a thousand flowers to bloom. Otherwise, history will be told only by those who are lying. And so we have to document what really it means to live in this time and in this place.


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