A routine debate on Tuesday hosted by a University of Michigan debate club was effectively shut down after a throng of protesters stormed the event and repeatedly shouted over participants, claiming the topic on whether Black Lives Matter is harmful to racial relations is too racist and bigoted to be discussed.
Holding signs with statements such as “my life is not a debate” and “black lives are not up for debate,” as well as chanting “Black Lives Matter,” hundreds of protesters filed into the room where the Michigan Political Union, a non-partisan parliamentary forum that facilitates discussions about contemporary issues, was just beginning its debate Tuesday night.
Michigan Political Union’s President student Joshua Strup had attempted to hold the door into the venue closed as those at the debate heard the crowd of protestors approaching, as the room was already filled to capacity, but to no avail. The protesters burst through and stood along the room’s four walls as well as the walkways between chairs.
Comments and yelling ensued between the protesters and Strup, as well as student moderator Carlos Owens, both of whom attempted to quiet the crowd. But the protesters would not be silenced. They shouted out a series of chants after they entered the room, including “racists hurt race relations,” “black lives are not up for debate, and neither is mine,” and “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
After their shouting spree, they laid on the ground to conduct a die-in demonstration. Thereafter, whenever a debate participant tried to speak, they would shout over them. Much of their comments were laced with profanity.
In a video embedded in that news account, we hear a robust young Black Lives Matter scholar hold forth on why the debate club has no moral right to question the effectiveness of BLM. She yells:
…How racist all of the fu–ing systems in America is. How racist all of the housing systems is, how redlining is, how every other fu–ing system is. Even in this school, the fact that I had to fu–ing buy my instrument and basically bullsh-t my way into a top-ass school. All of that shit! Muthaf–ka! …. There are no fu–ing questions to be asked. You know the fu–ing answers. White people know the fu–ing answers. What y’all want to do is traumatize us… What we’re not going to do is to continue to traumatize black people on this white, racist, fu–ing-ass campus.