DNI Clapper's As Delivered Remarks at Morehouse College Lecture
Office of the Director of National Intelligence | November 13, 2016
Black lives matter. Let’s start with that simple, positive assertion – black lives matter. I cannot in 2016 come to Morehouse College, one of the most respected historically black colleges in the nation, Dr. King’s alma mater, and a school that is so active in the black lives matter movement that you dedicated all of your Crown Forums this year to it, and not make that clear. So I want to thank Dr. Wilson for inviting me, so that I can say here today – black lives matter. It bothers me that declaring a simple truth is somehow so controversial. I mean, I get it. I understand why it’s controversial. People hear the positive assertion that black lives matter, and they somehow assume there’s a negative connotation associated with it. They seem to hear, if black lives matter, then other lives don’t matter as much, when that’s not what that phrase means at all – at least not to me. So whether we agree with every tenet of the movement or not, noting that I’m not here to talk about the movement and that it’s illegal for any government official – which includes me for another 77 days, but who’s counting? [laughter] – to endorse any movement, it’s important for leaders to assert the fact that black lives matter, because our nation has a long history of black lives not mattering to many people, or at least not mattering as much as other lives.