Arguably, no progressive movement with that much support from the elite power structure can claim to be truly revolutionary
Since 2020, BLM has also received more financial backing than ever before. Amazon, Facebook and Apple all pledged millions to anti-racism groups. Liberal funders such as George Soros, Rob McKay and other Democracy Alliance donors have given millions of dollars to groups associated with the movement.
With so much support, you would expect to see big changes being made. One of the unrelenting cries of the BLM protests across the US was: “Defund the police”. However, research by Bloomberg shows that, while a few major cities like New York and Los Angeles have made large cuts, more than half actually increased spending or kept it unchanged as a percentage of their discretionary spending.
Recent events have also made it difficult to gauge how much real-world impact the movement has had in the US. In the year since Floyd’s murder, at least 229 black people were killed by police officers. In 2021, officers killed 1,136 people in the US – one of the deadliest years on record, according to new analysis by Mapping Police Violence.
There is also little evidence to show that BLM has improved the state of race relations in the US. Nearly a year after Floyd’s murder, only 17 per cent of Americans believed race relations were better then than they were a year ago.
Critics have said the findings are a symbol of waste and corruption. To me, it is less a question of what is legal or illegal, or what is deemed to be moral or immoral. No laws or rules have been broken, but the way in which the donation money is being spent is worthy of stringent critique. In a recent interview with AP, Cullors acknowledged the foundation was ill prepared to handle the influx of outside financial support.
Nearly $26 million of its expenses were grants to dozens of foundations, including $200,000 to the Florida-based Trayvon Martin Foundation. But some who are closest to the movement still feel this isn’t enough. Mothers of murdered black men have also called out BLM for spending millions on real estate and “benefiting off the blood of our loved ones”.
Over the course of two years, BLM has been given more money than it knows what to do with. Addressing the criticisms aimed at her, Cullors admitted she had made mistakes with the “white guilt” money BLM had received. She is not wrong to refer to that money as such. Wealthy white philanthropists were donating ridiculous sums of money to a cause that didn’t have a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve in an effort to – let’s face it – appear to be “doing something” about racism.
With race relations no better than they were prior to Floyd’s murder, efforts to defund the police largely abandoned, and various brutalities against black people still making headlines, it begs the question whether BLM still has any kind of legitimate future as an anti-racist campaign group. Public support for the group is waning.