If ever there were an argument to explain the need for Black Lives Matter, it would be The Forecaster column by John Balentine (“Here’s Something: BLM should learn to be more like MLK,” Jan. 17), whether Balentine purposefully chose to provoke a response or inadvertently illustrated precisely why Black Americans should never quit being aggressive in defense of their rights.

Using Martin Luther King as his sainted straw man, the BLM movement as violent, riotous and threatening, he said King led “his people out of separate but equal bondage into a land of equal opportunity” with love. Well, let’s stop right there. Racism is alive and well.

Maine is not Texas, nor any of the other places where they ban books and choose the history they want their children to learn. No, sir, we as a nation and society are not even close to eradicating the gross inequalities that burden those who are not white, privileged males. It took George Floyd’s murder by a white police officer to capture the world’s attention about America’s institutional racism and the need to critically assess the historic injustices against Black people.

So let’s discard the tropes of peace by accommodation and aggressively confront the racism that exists in an institutional form. Let’s call out Mr. Balentine’s playbook that teaches how to sideline those who have to fight for what is justly theirs.

To put a fine point on it, on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month, more than a dozen historically Black colleges and universities received bomb threats. A series of coincidences? I think not. The struggle to share in the promise of true equality will not end until such threatening organized behavior ends and commentary such as Mr. Balentine’s on this subject is considered for what it is – shameful.

Tony Payne