The Super Bowl halftime show used to be a source of entertainment for all. Today, however, it’s creating protests, division and even promises of race war.
About 30 demonstrators rallied recently to support the racially charged halftime performance by pop star Beyoncé at this year’s Super Bowl. A pro-police demonstration had been planned, but only three individuals showed.
Despite the small numbers on both sides, the rhetoric was heated.
“There’s going to be a race war, it’s looking like,” said one Black Lives Matter protester. Arguing white people should be outraged about the behavior of police instead of Beyoncé’s act, the protester claimed, “You all keep killing us, we aren’t going to take it, there’s going to be a war.”
Beyoncé’s act during the Super Bowl featured dancers dressed in militaristic garb as an ode to the Black Panther Party. Her backup dancers also held up a sign calling for justice for Mario Woods, a black man killed by police after he allegedly advanced on officers with a knife and threatened them.
Black Lives Matter was also an ideological presence at the Grammys.
Kendrick Lamar, dressed as a prison inmate, delivered a politically charged performance alluding to the high incarceration rates of African Americans, the death of Trayvon Martin, and black anger at white America.
President Barack Obama praised the performance, with the official White House Twitter account tweeting a “shoutout” to Lamar and “all the artists at the #Grammys working to build a brighter future.”
Jesse Lee Peterson, a civil rights leader and the author of “The Antidote,” charged the president with deliberately trying to promote racial division.
“Obama needs Americans to be divided, so he lies and perpetuates confusion in the country,” Peterson said. “From the day he stepped into office, Obama has encouraged anger and distrust toward police. He started with the unwarranted attack on the Cambridge Police by accusing them of ‘acting stupidly’ in the arrest of his friend Henry Louis Gates.
“Throughout his presidency, Obama has used his former Attorney General Eric Holder and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch to harass and sue police departments around the country. Obama is partly responsible for these police shootings because he’s been encouraging the anger directed at officers around the country.”
Obama’s perceived hostility to police officers is drawing new attention after the National Sheriffs’ Association promoted a complaint from Sheriff Jim DeWees.
Highlighting the president’s reluctance to attend the funerals of slain law enforcement officers, DeWees said he had two funerals to attend in one week and sarcastically stated, “I’ll save you a spot next to me!”
In contrast to the president’s seeming indifference to the deaths of police officers, the Obama administration reportedly sent official representatives to the funerals of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, black youths killed in confrontations with law enforcement.
Colin Flaherty, an investigative reporter who chronicled nationwide black-on-white violence in his book “White Girl Bleed A Lot,” said he is not surprised.
“President Obama is no different than anyone else – he honors people he thinks are worthy,” Flaherty told WND. “And does not honor those he deems are not. Michael Brown of Ferguson was worthy, because he illuminated how black people are relentless victims of relentless white racism all the time, everywhere, and that explains everything. That is the central organizing feature of the Obama administration. He does not honor cops because he believes cops are always bothering black people and arresting them for no reason whatsoever.”
Peterson, a WND columnist, said Obama has a political agenda when it comes to promoting black hostility against law enforcement.
“Obama wants to make police officers appear ‘racist’ and anti-black,” Peterson charged. “He wants to keep the idea that police brutality is alive and well in order to redistribute power and wealth away from whites before he leaves office. If Obama starts showing up at police funerals, it will highlight the fact that police are under attack. He doesn’t want that truth to get out. He’s also afraid that it might turn off his Black Lives Matter and far-left supporters.”
Jack Cashill, a WND columnist and the author of “If I Had a Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman,” believes Obama is turning to Black Lives Matter to try to buttress support for a failing administration.
“Failing regimes almost inevitably look for an external scapegoat to ease internal dissent,” said Cashill. “For the Arab countries, it is Israel. For Cuba and Venezuela, it is the USA. For Democrats and the BLM crowd and mindless entertainers like Beyoncé, it is the police, especially white police. All ambitious Democrats are trapped in this narrative, none more so than Obama. For him, it is also a way of asserting his shaky hold on an African-American identity.”
But Flaherty says the rhetoric of Black Lives Matter is now part of the mainstream. Pop culture’s embrace of the movement, he argues, shows conservatives should no longer assume this is a fringe movement.
“Beyoncé’s performance was just the latest example of how black-on-white hostility is now mainstream,” he explained. “This is completely normal, and much worse is being said against thousands of police officers each day. Perhaps her performance and Kendrick Lamar’s act at the Grammys will help people figure that out.”
The issue is likely to grow more important in the 2016 election. On February 12, the Fraternal Order of Police challenged President Obama to expand federal hate crimes legislation to include crimes against law enforcement officers. While Barack Obama has not taken action in response, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has long featured support for law enforcement as a major theme of his campaign.
In December, Trump stated he would implement the death penalty as a punishment for those who murder police officers. At a recent rally in South Carolina, Trump also brought on stage two men who helped remove a foul-mouthed protester from the crowd. One identified himself as an Iraq War veteran and a police officer.
“My departments and the departments around me – we need you,” he was quoted as saying.
Peterson, who often argues whites need to be more forceful in confronting Black Lives Matter, said he “loved” Trump’s approach.
“We need someone who won’t allow BLM and other evil forces to have their way,” he argued. “Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are pandering to Black Lives Matter; they’ll never support law enforcement and the rule of law. It’s good to hear a presidential candidate say out loud that he will have the backs of police officers. We need a president with the type of courage that Trump has displayed so far.”