BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislator is facing criticism after making a now-deleted Facebook post that compared the Black Lives Matter activist organization to the Ku Klux Klan.
Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, made a post on Monday, Aug. 24, that quotes Black conservative commentator Christian Walker as saying "BLM is the KKK in blackface." Becker originally shared the post with the comment "Scathing and accurate." However, he later added a clarification "to be less incendiary."
"I found this quote from a very wise young black man to be extremely bold," Becker said in the edited post. "It was during a conversation in which it was clarified that the organization BLM (separate from the well-intentioned people protesting police brutality) was an organization intent on furthering it's objectives by dividing us by race and by using fear and violence."
Becker, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2016 and leads the ultra-conservative Bastiat Caucus, added in the edited post that Black Lives Matter is "an extremist leftist organization" that uses race as a front to further its objectives. Becker told Forum News Service he deleted the post because one of the images in it had copyright issues, adding that he did not think the post was offensive.
Becker said he believes there is a conflation between the Black Lives Matter organization and the broader movement against police brutality and racial discrimination. Becker said he is adamantly opposed to police brutality and respects everyone's right to protest but added that the organization is "overtly racist" and stokes baseless fears.
"Everyone agrees that there shouldn’t be racial inequality and there should be equal treatment from law enforcement, but I believe this organization cloaks themselves in a virtuous endeavor for something that is totally different," Becker said.
The lawmaker said the organization is using fear and calls for violence to advocate for far-left policies and beliefs like monetary reparations for Black Americans, pro-transgender measures and the idea that the nuclear family is racist.
The organization's website says "we disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and 'villages' that collectively care for one another."
Becker noted that he interprets Walker's blackface comment as figurative rather than literal. Becker said young white people tied to the organization are putting on a metaphorical blackface to "claim moral superiority."
Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen condemned Becker's post in a statement to Forum News Service.
“You can’t be pro-life and pro-liberty and not want to work against the inequity and injustice that black Americans are still facing after centuries," Oversen said. "At least he didn’t claim he was hacked, unlike a fellow member of his caucus."
Becker's post comes a week after his colleague, Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, claimed he was hacked for the second time this year after racist and sexist posts appeared on his Facebook page.