Black Lives Matter activists on two Southern California college campuses shut down scheduled appearances by anti-BLM critic, pro-police advocate and author of the book The War on Cops Heather Mac Donald.
Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute scholar, was scheduled to give a “Blue Lives Matter” talk at UCLA on Wednesday to discuss her 2016 book and do a Q&A following her speech. The College Fix reports that while Mac Donald was able to get through the first half of her speech without incident, when she opened the floor to questions, all hell broke loose.
A Facebook video posted by Bruin Republicans at UCLA, which organized the event, shows the event in its entirety. When Mac Donald concludes her speech on cops being the real victims, a student organizer stands to open the floor for questions, and people off camera can be heard chanting, “Black lives, they matter here!”
During one heated exchange, a young black woman in the audience asks Mac Donald whether “black victims killed by cops mattered.”
“Yes,” Mac Donald replies. “And do black children that are killed by other blacks matter to you?”
The room reacts as expected, and the young woman repeats her question to Mac Donald.
“Of course I care, and do you know what?” Mac Donald says. “There is no government agency more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.”
(LOL. OK, sis.)
After a back-and-forth between Mac Donald and the protesters, she was escorted off the campus.
On Thursday, Mac Donald was scheduled to appear at Claremont McKenna College to deliver another talk, and according to the Claremont Independent, that event ended similarly:
On Thursday, a raucous crowd of student protesters blocked the exits to Claremont McKenna College’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, shutting down a scheduled lecture and question-and-answer session by Heather Mac Donald, a prominent scholar and critic of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Chanting “Black lives matter here” and “no cops, no KKK, no fascist USA,” protesters massed tightly around the exits, blocking fellow students from entering Mac Donald’s scheduled presentation, entitled “The War on Police.” Even faculty members who sought to enter the building were denied, with waves of protesters screaming and resorting to physical force to repel anyone who drew too close to the building. At one point, a crowd of white students screaming “Fuck white supremacy, fuck white supremacy” pushed an elderly white professor away from the Athenaeum entrance.
When the scheduled start time of Mac Donald’s presentation came and then went, the crowds earned a half-victory: Students wishing to attend the event were unable to hear Mac Donald in person, though her presentation ultimately took place over a video livestream more than an hour behind schedule.
According to the Independent, Mac Donald’s speech was eventually livestreamed.
I take issue with the way both of these stories were reported. In defense of the Fix, it is a right-wing publication, so it is expected that its detailing of the events may have a bit of bias. Fortunately, it also posted the Facebook video, which does, at some points, contradicts the way the publication portrayed the incident.
Comments on the Independent’s story show that people on campus disagree with that publication’s telling of the events as well. Both accounts appear to be slanted against the Black Lives Matter movement; there is no objectivity in either story.
It’s worth noting that neither the Fix nor the Independent is a college publication that receives its funding from a school, so that could explain why they are not held to a higher standard of journalism.
In any case, freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and just because you don’t like the message doesn’t mean you get to shut it down.
As evidenced by the UCLA video, it appears that is what people were trying to do.