Letter to the Editor: Kacie Brandenburg

Haddonfield Memorial High School alumna responds to earlier letter disparaging Black Lives Matter.

Editor, 

This piece will address information in Chris Maynes’ and Jerelyn Ablonczy’s recent opinion pieces. Maynes and Ablonczy don’t support BLM Philly. Luckily, they didn’t have to contribute, and could have just supported another organization. Instead, they chose to gaslight Haddonfield Memorial High School students and administrators through opinion pieces riddled with logical fallacies, unsubstantiated claims, and victim blaming.

Maynes stated that HMHS didn’t, “challenge the students to more closely scrutinize” BLM Philly, and Ablonczy urges students to, “read about the history of Marxism.” Neither provided evidence to support claims that HMHS didn’t critically assess BLM, that students do not understand Marxism, and that BLM is violent and Marxist. This is gaslighting. 

In fact, BLM is not overtly anti-capitalist, and its support for gender identity politics sets it vastly apart from Marxism. Furthermore, the ACLED, a nonprofit that researches political violence and protests globally, found that more than 93% of BLM protests have been peaceful

Maynes also claims that the BREATHE Act would prohibit law enforcement from, “prosecuting sex trafficking…using non-lethal tools such as body cameras and …operating within 1,000 feet of schools.” 

In reality, the BREATHE Act doesn’t condemn the prosecution of sex traffickers. It supports, “schools free of police and full of trained counselors,” and cites, “less than lethal” forms of crowd control like tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades that could result in injury or death. Although there is a slight differentiation in lexicon, “non-lethal,” which Maynes utilizes, is distinctly different from what the Act considers “less than lethal.”

Maynes also asserts: “Floyd’s death was a tragedy, but” BLM is an insult to officers who risk their lives, “to protect people of all colors.” Maynes uses colorblindness and whataboutism—a variant of the “tu quoque” fallacy—to “discredit” defund the police arguments (i.e. reallocation of resources) without disproving facts. 

Then, Ablonczy faults targets of police violence for the violence they experience, stating that teaching people, “they are being targeted for demise by their fellow citizens…invite[s] potential violence.” Here, Ablonczy enacts victim blaming to try to refute people’s lived experiences. 

Both letters also contain elements of casual racism, respectability politics, and white saviorism, but I’ve run out of words to address these in this letter. 

I’ll leave readers with this: if you are worried about being, “automatically branded racist” when voicing opinions, perhaps it is time to reassess your opinions and biases.  

Kacie Brandenburg

Haddonfield, N.J.