‘It Took Me by Surprise’: Academic Critical of BLM Movement Had Article on Her Paper Removed

March 10, 2021 Updated: March 11, 2021

Sonia Orlu never expected that an article about her recent paper on the Black Lives Matter movement would be promptly deleted by a Vancouver radio station after it was published following an interview with the station.

But that’s what happened on March 5 to the PhD candidate in political science at Simon Fraser University and author of the paper “Why I do not support the Black Lives Matter movement.”

News 1130 deleted its article, titled “BLM resorts to ‘emotional blackmail,’ argues SFU academic,” shortly after publishing it and before Orlu even had a chance to read it.

Orlu, who came to Canada from Nigeria in 2010 to begin her post-secondary education, told The Epoch Times that the removal of the article “took me by surprise,” adding that she was offered no explanation by the radio station or the journalist who interviewed her.

“News 1130 has deleted a tweet about an article regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. The article, also deleted, did not meet our journalistic standards for balance, and its potential negative impact was not fully considered,” News 1130 said in a March 5 tweet.

The deleted tweet had read in part: “In an effort to ensure fair and balanced coverage, we are seeking additional voices for this story.”

Orlu shot back: “Support for Black Lives Matter has dominated the mainstream narrative, so I’m at a loss as to why my informed opinion (backed by data) on the movement and its organizations doesn’t contribute to ‘fair and balanced’ coverage.”

In another tweet she noted that her paper had been peer reviewed by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, which published the essay on its website.

By citing American data and “given the dearth of race-specific data on crime in Canada,” Orlu’s paper chronicles her journey starting from when she “fully embraced the BLM movement, endorsing the protests and riots” following the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, when she was an undergrad.

But over time she began to question the BLM “rhetoric” that there is a “war against Black people” and that “Black lives” are “systematically targeted for demise,” and her subsequent research revealed something different. “Black Lives Matter and their White liberal allies have monopolized and weaponized the mainstream discourse on race,” she wrote.

“I had family and friends who were distraught over last summer’s events—the death of George Floyd. They felt like their lives as black people didn’t matter because society was out to get them,” Orlu said in her Epoch Times interview.

“That didn’t ring true to me, so I began to collect evidence and piece them together to create some sort of cohesive arguments that I could present to them and say, ‘You know what, you’re more likely to die by lightning than to be killed by the police.’”

On its website, BLM describes itself as a “global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

Orlu counters this view.

“So why are black people quote-unquote over-represented in the statistics? Because they have much more contact with the police. Why do they have much more contact with police? Because black people mostly exist in environments that are high-crime, high-violence-breeding environments,” she says.

“So there’s the idea that it boils down to specific problems that could be addressed, be they economic or social.”

BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors has described herself and fellow co-founder Alicia Garza as “trained Marxists” who have “an ideological frame.”

In her paper, Orlu says she “became disturbed by the neo-Marxist bent of the movement’s rhetoric.”

“They argue that capitalism and the system of white supremacy are not mutually exclusive, therefore to liberate Black lives is to tear down the system. I find this ironic because capitalism presents the best chance of lifting all peoples, including Blacks, out of poverty and disadvantage (and it has!),” she wrote.

Orlu summarizes the movement’s basic message to impressionable young people thus: “That all cops like nothing else but to terrorize and systematically exterminate Black people. All White people are complicit in fostering this system of hate.”

Regarding having her story “cancelled” by News 1130, Orlu says she was “taken aback” by her first encounter with mainstream media, particularly its reaction to her ideas, but she vows to continue engaging with media.

“I was taken aback by having my opinions being considered as something that would bring harm to a group—a group [for which] I seek to broaden the conversation about what’s being fed to them. So it’s really been a revelation,” she says.

“I’m interested to see how it all plays out. Right now I am firmly planted in participating in this cultural war in North America.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misspelled Sonia Orlu’s name in some mentions. The Epoch Times regrets the error.