T Nation

"The Best Men Can Be" Gillette Commercial


#121

First, I’ll speak up in agreement to the way @EmilyQ put things. Very insightful without coming across as self-righteous.

As far as the commercial itself goes, I would wager that a lot of the people who are up in arms about it weren’t the scrawny, geeky, asthmatic little kid who was frequently having the shit beat out of him by the ‘boys who will be boys’. I was, and having a dad who was a typical ‘alpha male’ type but who was a good man, he tried to teach me to fight and toughen me up, but he had no perspective to empathize with what I went through. He never felt the terror of being the littler, weaker kid who was being held down powerless while a bigger kid whaled on him. Oh, and this lasted all the way into high school, when I got my leg broken by a bully football player who had about 100# on me, who slammed into me from behind as I walked away from him. My tibial shelf on my right knee was sheared off, and when I went to the office the coach told me to ‘walk it off’. There were never any consequences for the asshole who did it. I’m 54 now, and my knee has never been the same. I’ve been punched, spit on, held down and kicked, often in front of the adults who were supposed to be there to protect me, and there were never any consequences to the perpetrators other than a stern talking to, or occasionally ‘licks’, since I went to school in East Texas where corporal punishment was a thing, but that the assholes wore as a badge of honor when it happened to them.

Of course, #notallboys, and I had some good friends, some from among the same crowds of football players and other jocks, and they were the ones who protected me more than any of the adults, and who made sure there were occasionally real consequences for the bullies. In fact, the majority of kids are good kids, but adults tend to forget what that part of life was like, or they don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of bullying, and they either consciously or unconsciously turn a blind eye to what’s going on, or it just looks a lot more innocuous than it really is.

As far as the bad behavior around women, in my experience it’s a lot more pervasive than people want to admit. I remember being in my cousin’s house as a teenager, me and my brother, and my cousin was in the bedroom with his girlfriend, no parents around, and I heard my cousin yell loud enough to be heard in the living room through a closed door ‘Don’t you close up on me, bitch!’. This was what I considered to be a stand-up, normal guy. I don’t really know what happened in that bedroom, and I didn’t even dream of intervening, because he was one of those guys who in those days could casually beat the shit out of me. The biggest shame in my life, though, was the first time when, at a teenage party with plenty of drinking, mostly outside, I walked off to take a piss and came across a drunk guy having his way with a girl in the front seat of his truck. The girl was passed out unconscious, so there was no question of consent. I should have intervened but I didn’t dare, again because this was a guy who could effortlessy beat the crap out of me. I decided then that I would never walk away from a situation like that again, and I subsequently intervened and got friends involved when I saw something like that happen, but that shame has always stuck with me. The fact that it was something that regularly happened at teenage drinking parties didn’t strike me as out of the ordinary, which should tell you something in and of itself.

For the girls’ part, it was sort of accepted that if you got blackout drunk and didn’t have someone looking out for you, and something like that happened to you, it was your own fault and you just shrugged it off and went on with your life. Most of the girls and women I’ve been close friends with, the ones I was close enough to talk about this sort of thing with, have their personal experience of something like that happening, rape either endured and moved on from, or narrowly avoided, and never any consequence for the perpetrator. I realize this is anecdotal rather than statistical information, but I’ve got a depressingly large database of anecdotal information to work from.

I fully believe that the vast majority of the guys here are completely stand-up, and they would absolutely intervene if they saw something bad happening to someone. I’d say that most people who are active on these boards are in the top 10% of quality people who do the right thing as a matter of course. However, I also believe that a lot of you don’t have a lot of experience of being on the receiving end of bullying or assault, of being the weak, helpless one who can’t do anything but endure. You might not recognize the situation for what it is.

If I’m completely honest with myself, one of the reasons I decided to become strong is that I never want to be a victim again, and I will never turn my back if I see someone who needs help, and I want to be someone who can actually do something instead of look on helplessly or get the shit kicked out of me for intervening.

I’m not saying this commercial is particularly virtuous. Maybe Gillette is using the cultural moment just to generate buzz about their razor, and any publicity is good publicity. I think the fact that it’s generating conversation is a good thing, but the conversation on this site so far has been an echo chamber of people who know in their heart that they’re not assholes, but might not know what it feels like to be a victim, and might not realize how pervasive some of this stuff is because it’s not a big part of their lives.

Just my 2c, hope it gives a little different perspective.


#122

That’s a great point. I suppose you could say I am in favor of helping out those women with tax dollars, as I am with widows, the disabled or just about anyone who is facing truly difficult situations that are out of their control. Marital rape laws were a needed change, and they weren’t around in 1964. The irony regarding abusive men, of course, is the greater likelihood of them materializing over the long term when government makes it such a seemingly easy choice to discard fathers instead of working things out and raising the kid together. We didn’t know that then, but we do now. Taken as a whole, the crusty old conservatives were right all along.

I have the benefit of hindsight and, now at least, advancing age when shaping my opinions on this. We can see the outcome now. Doubling and even more than tripling rates of single motherhood in our various demographic slices. If I was an early 20-something back in the mid-60’s I probably would have been really high on Great Society legislation, and probably really high in general.

The allure of government fix-alls can be very great, that’s always been the case. It is easy to say yes, we should help these people, and not so easy to think about how it will play out over generations. It’s also very easy to paint the opponents of [insert vast government boondoggle with superficially good intentions here] as uncaring or even sub-human. That’s why hard-core socialism is still alive and even having a resurgence today, even though we’ve got tens of millions of dead people in the last century and continued examples of tragic suffering from these policies playing out today.

Regarding most modern social “movements” in general, I think most are missing the mark. The superficial message is usually pretty easy to get on board with, but that’s not all you need to consider.

BLM would have been fine if they kept it simple, but they latched on to some cases where cops were in the right. Michael Brown in Ferguson was one big dude who tried to take officer Wilson’s gun in his patrol car, which fired off a shot, got away, then charged him again. I don’t blame him for not wanting to wrestle with a dude my size for control of his handgun a second time, or betting on the indecisive stopping power of a tazer or baton. Burning much of Ferguson to the ground and chanting fabricated slogans based on lies wasn’t a good look for BLM.

The irony of that particular movement is that police are literally policing less in many jurisdictions. I can’t necessarily blame them. Nobody wants to be the next Darren Wilson. This is resulting in measurably worse outcomes for many, many black communities. I follow Chicago news very closely, since it remains the cultural and regional capital of my youth, and if I had to ask “Is BLM helping or hurting black people?”, I’m coming down on the latter.

#Metoo is another example of missing the mark in many cases. I’m not “upset” by it, but I find it deeply ironic to be subjected to lectures by the same celebrities who tolerated scum bags in their very lucrative industry for so long. Now that it’s fashionable (and financially safe) to speak out, they are sharing their new-found values with the general public, while I sit here and think about how this was all basic stuff I learned as a child with a conservative Catholic upbringing in rural Indiana among the deplorables.

I think it’s a bit early to say if #metoo is helping or hurting, but it’s definitely a mixed bag. You’ve got a few high-profile guys who were #metoo’d for what basically amounted to awkward dates, like Aziz Anisari (sp?). I’m not too worried about celebrities, but this is impacting every day people too. Just last year I had a young lady reporting to me at work. She was mid-20’s and fairly attractive. For purposes of due diligence (and, I’ll admit, she was attractive, so a bit of creeping too) I checked out her facebook and instagram profiles. Her cover page was a picture of her regurgitating food with a banner that said “Smash the Patriarchy”. Okay then. Plenty more stuff on her page that’s squarely within radical feminist ideology. Memes and such. That definitely shaped my interactions with her going forward.

I never had a closed door meeting with her, for one. It was honestly awkward to ask her to keep it open when she went to close it, and I could tell she was a bit surprised by that too. I always selected conference rooms that had windows too. She was overall good at her job but I still pulled some punches when discussing things that went wrong and things to do differently because I did not want to give her an inch of room to go to my boss with any sort of complaint that could be at all sexist or discriminatory. In simple terms, I was a bad boss because I started to put my “safety” above her development. She lost out.

It’s the same basic phenomenon as the Ferguson effect. All someone needs to do is shout the right words (Racism! Sexism!) and your career can be over regardless of how the facts actually play out. That will naturally shape behaviors towards avoiding those accusations over doing the job as well as it can be done, whether you’re a white collar schmuck like me or a cop in Chicago.


#123


#124

You bring up a lot of good points. I didn’t have it as bad as you describe, but I’ve been on the receiving end of a very severe beating. The same basic desire to never be weak, never be a victim and to be able to step in and do the right thing in bad situations is a huge reason why I spent so much time getting as strong as I have and am now accumulating years of jiu jitsu mat time. It’s also fun, but I definitely like the utility.

Strength and physical capabilities, including fighting skills, are probably my main example of good and even necessary attributes that get incorrectly lumped in with “toxic masculinity”. One of my hobbies is bouncing at my neighborhood bar once or twice a week, and part of the satisfaction I get from that job is being the grown-up at what basically amounts to a keg party every Wednesday. Being stronger and better at fighting than the so-called “bad boys” sure makes it easier to confront them, stop whatever is happening, say that they need to leave and make sure it happens in a timely manner whether they agree to go or not.

We just cut ties with another bouncer who was little more than a 6’3", 360 pound bully who sexually harassed female customers and got away with it for weeks because people were scared to say something. When I found out about it I made sure he never got another shift. He wasn’t happy about it but guess what, he never followed through with any of the shit he talked about me. He’s just a chump, a toxic male, and now he’s gone.

Bad behavior definitely is a problem, but the solution is cultivating more strong men, not more soy-boys.


#125

Where does it say “single mothers” in the statement you showed?


#126

We come from backgrounds, but we agree on a lot. That statement is true, as far as it goes. to paraphrase a famous quote, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. It’s a false dichotomy so say the only options are manly men and soy-boys, though. Some people who are willing to do wrong if they can get away with it require someone strong enough to be capable of making them stop. Others rely on people not wanting to get involved, and just need someone willing to say something, or refuse to look the other way, or step up in groups. If everyone is a little better, and more willing to step up, and less prone to look away because it’s not their problem, or more ‘in the moment’ and aware of what’s really going on in front of them instead of buried in their media, it adds up. I think that’s a lot of what the commercial is trying to say, only somewhat effectively though. It used hyperbole to make a point, with the exaggerated ‘boys will be boys’ brigade in front of the grills, and that always runs the risk of being too heavy-handed.

I totally agree about cultivating strong men, but showing kids that it’s not okay to bully doesn’t take anything away from that. Kids are going to roughhouse, both boys and girls, and it’s okay to an extent, but we need to be aware of the difference between roughhousing and bullying, and willing to step in when necessary.


#127

Sometimes stepping in is the worst thing you can do for a child. Kids have to learn how to defend themselves, not necessarily with fists, but defend themselves none the less. Mom and dad won’t be there to help forever.

Sometimes adults need to step in, of course, but equally as important is encouraging kids to stand up for themselves and giving them the space to do it.


#128

That line isn’t always clear, but boys will learn it by living it. Trying to shield boys from the consequence of violence isn’t going to instill any sense of good judgement or respect for what violent behavior can lead to. Breaking up a wrestling match in the grass when nobody’s getting hurt, to me, isn’t in the long-term interest of either boys. Me and the kids I grew up in the neighborhood wrestled quite a bit, usually on the neighbor’s trampoline but also in the pool, the grass and just about everywhere else. Playing ninja can escalate quickly!

The lessons you learn from navigating those situations stay with you, and sometimes you don’t get them unless things go a little too far. I remember wrestling with my neighbor when we were maybe 10 or so and I ended up smashing his face really hard into the floor. I wasn’t trying to hurt him, it just went a little too far. He cried, went home, and I felt terrible. I had to reflect on my actions and face the fear that I may have lost my best friend. My dad saw him running out of our house, asked what was wrong and suggested I go apologize. I did, things quickly went back to normal and I learned right there what going too far can mean.

When I was 13 I stood up to a bully who took my gym shoes. He was the classic early bloomer. 6’00 tall with a full beard and chest hair when he was in the 6th grade. He knocked me out with one punch. I was fine, but a few days later he apologized and gave me props for having the balls to stand up to him (I was maybe 5’4" at the time). We were best friends all throughout high school, and I gained an out-sized reputation as someone who doesn’t take any crap in my small rural school. I never got bullied again, even though I couldn’t fight or wrestle for crap.

These situations between males pre-date our evolution as a species, and suggesting that they should be stamped out will not have the desired outcome. Men have aggressive impulses and they always will. You have to learn to manage them, and part of that comes from navigating violent encounters that I think every boy will face in some shape or form in their childhood.


#129

When I was in high school we had this kid, a big motherfucker for 17/18, that used to pick on smaller kids. In hindsight it was bullying, but at the time I just saw it as a sort of right of passage thing and as far as bullies go, he was pretty tame. Anyway, he used to give underclassmen purple nurples (sp?) until they’d cry (and bruise for sure). He tried that shit with me one time and one time only. Why? Because when he reached for my nipple I punched him as hard my 135 pound frame could manage right in his kidney. The look on his face was priceless. I doubt it hurt him that much, he must have had 150 pounds on, but it definitely took him by surprise. No more issues for me…


#130

I think that’s entirely common. It’s also worth thinking about how all of those fun and sometimes not fun wrestling matches and light scuffles we get into give you the confidence to stand up to an asshole and say “hey, don’t fuck with me”.

Could you ever muster up the stones to do that if every time things got a little rough you had the Gillette dads sweeping in to stop it?


#131

It’s just a playground story, but it illustrates this point pretty well-

My kiddo has a soccer ball that he likes to take to the playground. One day he starts playing with this other kid about his size. Kicking and goofing off, having fun. I was hanging out with other kids mom and we’re just enjoying watching.

Then a group of 5 or 6 other, some bigger kids show up. The one big kid just runs right up and snatches the ball and starts running away. The mom immediately wants to jump in, looks at me and says “did you see that! You have to…” but I just said “nah, just wait.”.

The kids all go scrambling off fighting for the ball and yelling. They made their way back around to us and there’s my kid and his buddy with the ball, happy and victorious. The mom was amazed and pretty damn proud of her kiddo too. Then the whole bunch of them all ran around like a big pack playing and chasing and having fun.

Sometimes boys do have to be boys. As parents we want to shield them from pain, but that can also deprive them of those little victories.


#132

Continuing on with anecdotes. Two years ago we caught my step-son, who is now 18, with a scale and a few bags of weed. Turns out he was running a little enterprise out of his mom’s house. As punishment we confiscated his phone. I had done this before, but I always respected his privacy and never poked around in it. I decided this was the time, and let him know I’m checking his phone to see if he’s involved in anything more serious.

He told me he wasn’t going to tell me the password, and I still remember how his jaw hit the floor when I rattled it off to him (he hadn’t changed it since he got his first ipod years ago).

Luckily he wasn’t involved in anything more serious than slinging dime bags of weed to his hockey teammates and gaining a deserved reputation among girls as a fuckboy at the time. He’s since grown out of both of those behaviors, fortunately.

The most surprising thing I found were his fight club videos. Him and his hockey teammates were putting on pads and gloves and just going at it, gripping up and slugging each other in the face, just like their hockey heroes do. At the end they’d help each other up and hug, slap each other’s backs and everyone was laughing. Then the next couple boys would go at it. They were having a blast.

Toxic masculinity? His mom sure didn’t like it, but to me it was boys being boys, going right up to the edge of taking it too far. I had more feelings of pride and re-assurance than worry. He’s always been a polite and well-behaved kid, ready to stick up for himself and his friends (and especially his teammates on the ice). No issues with violent behavior that I’ve ever seen, which is what you want in your kids.

Would I rather he have asked to take boxing lessons or jiu jitsu, where that sort of thing is in a more controlled setting? Sure. I’m still glad he got the lessons organically with his friends. Those victories and defeats are so important, as is having a (reasonably) safe outlet for all the violent and aggressive impulses that come naturally. Boys will always be boys, and there are a lot of lessons to be drawn from rough play and fighting.


#133

What do you get if you disrupt the norm of two-parent AKA nuclear families? Perhaps orphans and street kids as well, but is that better?


#134

@twojarslave already covered most of your comment here but as for this part, I’m just curious as to what else you feel your father could have done. I don’t support bullying, I was not a bully myself, and I wouldn’t want my kids becoming bullies either. But if you do end up in a situation where you are regularly on the receiving end of abuse and bullying, what else could he really do? Would being soft and emotional help the situation? It seems to me like that is the opposite of what you need at that point, and wouldn’t help to encourage you to defend yourself. If I had a kid in the same situation I would get him to start lifting weights and get into martial arts or boxing.


#135

@chris_ottawa and @twojarslave, I totally acknowledge, and I said so above, that sometimes boys will be boys, and some roughhousing is inevitable and natural. Incessant bullying isn’t, though, and there’s several ways it can go. The kid can get stronger and tougher, which wasn’t an option for me at the time because of a chronic health condition that had me hospitalized for weeks at a time during the winter, and bedridden for long periods of time otherwise, which I fortunately grew out of. The kid can be open and emotionally strong enough to make friends who care enough about them to have their back, which isn’t a perfect solution because they can’t be with you all the time, but that was the way I mostly went until I got older. The kid can become a class clown and try to laugh away the constant misery with jokes and clowning. The kid can withdraw and become a loner and thus even more of a target for bullying, exacerbating the problem. Those are some examples, and I’m not saying that list is in any way complete, but the last 2 aren’t okay, and they happen much too often. Plenty of people also decide to take the ultimate way out because they don’t see any other solution, which also isn’t okay. For every story of a bully getting put in their place or getting their come-uppance, or kids getting in a fight and forging a friendship afterward, there’s at least one story of alienation, degradation and pain.

@Chris_ottawa, I’m not saying my dad did anything wrong, but if all the adults in a kid’s life are more aware of this sort of thing, it wouldn’t happen nearly as much. And if all the adults in a kid’s life are showing that real, genuine bad behavior isn’t tolerated, and teaching the kid what a stand-up guy looks like, there could be a step change in the amount of bullying going on. @twojarslave, a group of high school athletes going at it with each other for the fun of it isn’t what I would consider toxic, but I’m sure there are those out there that would frown upon even that. There’s a difference between masculinity and toxic masculinity, and I agree that people who automatically conflate one with the other are just as wrong as those who think toxic masculinity isn’t a thing. Like I said, my dad taught me to fight and toughen up, even though I was weak and slow until I got healthy enough to start improving myself physically. He taught me to box, and when my little brother and I got in fights, he’d have us put the gloves and and fight it out, and I think it worked pretty well.

Kids will be kids, and when they’re young they can be little sociopaths until the start learning empathy. After that, a lot of the way they act is driven by the way they see the people they look up to acting. There will be fights, and drama, and learning experiences, but if the adults in their lives are showing them that being an asshole isn’t okay by example, that puts them a step ahead on the path to being a good person.


#136

@OTHSteve I still believe the solution is strong men, or if we’re talking school-age, strong boys. It takes guts to stand up and say “this isn’t right”. Women can do that too, but it’s going to take a lot of social engineering before that carries the same weight in a boy-on-boy bullying situation as another boy stepping up and saying “this isn’t right”.

I had my share of mis-steps as a child, but one thing I always took pride in was making sure the kids I played Magic: The Gathering with, plus Dungeons and Dragons and my Academic Superbowl teammates were always considered to be “with me”. Everyone knew they were my friends, and it’s not like I did those “nerdy” things in the shadows, fearing what the jocks might think. It was part of who I was. I was reasonably popular, had the undeserved reputation of being a “tough kid” from standing up to that bully back in Jr. High, and tended to get along with everyone from the jocks to the stoners and the geeks.

In short, people need to treat each other well and have a healthy fear of social and yes, physical consequences if they act like assholes. That’s not a panacea, but better outcomes begin with the people who are stronger physically, mentally and socially setting the tone for everyone.

That’s part of why dads are just as important as moms. We’re wired for that shit and it is our duty to pass it on to our sons.


#137

@twojarslave We’re sort of saying the same thing from different directions, I think. I was the nerdy smart kid who played Dungeons and Dragons (we didn’t have Magic: The Gathering in the 70’s and 80’s), who had to have friends like you to have my back, but there were plenty of other kids who weren’t as social as me who didn’t get that sort of backup.

The ‘solution’ to the issue (I put that in quotes because there will never be a 100% solution to any social problem, just progression and regression along a scale) has to have multiple components, and physically and/or emotionally strong people willing to step up and set the standards is a big part of it.


#139

I dunno man, I wasn’t a jock or top of the totem pole by any measure in my school years. I was good at basketball and didn’t get picked last in PE class, but I didn’t pick up a barbell until I was 33 or so, didn’t take any sort of martial arts until I was almost 37. I lost more backyard scuffles than I won, that’s for sure. One of my neighborhood friends was a stout lad whose father was a Navy SEAL and Vietnam Vet. My dad mostly drank beer and ate bratwurst when he was in the Army, stationed in Germany on a rather enjoyable assignment until his enlistment was up in '67.

That kid whooped us all 100 percent of the time. He wasn’t a bully and he’s grown up to be a stand-up guy and a professional firefighter, but he definitely owned my rural country road back in the day. He knew shit we didn’t and was stronger than all of us. Looking back on it, I can only think of it as good medicine. He never hurt us, not to the point of injury, but he definitely dominated all of those encounters. That was just how it was in my little slice of Indiana.

We agree on the need for strong adults who raise strong children that can shape their childhood social dynamics positively (and I believe the same basic paradigm applies to women, who can be equally toxic but in different ways). The same basic dynamic exists in adulthood, and the need for good behavior and strong people to model that for everyone else is no less urgent.

I deal with it on a weekly basis in my silly side job as a bouncer. I’m often feel like I’m too old and the extra money’s not worth it, but the work still involves real people I live very close to dealing with real problems that come up at our hopping neighborhood bar. Perhaps I’m still a bit immature, but there’s something extraordinarily gratifying about telling a complete asshole that he’s no longer welcome, then making sure he leaves. Adult life isn’t a neighborhood dive bar, but the basic dynamics in play aren’t too far off if you ask me. Someone has to stand up and say something when things aren’t going well, and if that person ends up being the police or a prosecuting attorney, things have probably gone way too far at that point.

What I’m not clear on are the other components you refer to. What are the other forces in play? Honest question. I think you can go in a lot of directions with this. I’d like to hear your thoughts.


#140

Do you suppose there may be a difference having to do with that the police are paid with tax dollars to protect the members of their communities? That they are public servants rather than upset community members?

Teachers mustn’t touch their students’ private parts; meat processors mustn’t allow rats to mix into their ground beef; cops mustn’t shoot unarmed people or disadvantage one segment of their communities over others. If any of these groups are consistently doing the things they shouldn’t do, an outcry is appropriate. Teachers can be reported to the police or child protective services, meat processors to regulatory agencies. In the case of the police it becomes more complex, as they are the authorities charged with the protection of community members. The mouse is guarding the cheese.

The “What We Believe” section of the BLM global website ends with the statement “We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.” So I dunno, does that not officially eschew violence? But regardless of whether they prefer to turn a blind eye to acts committed in the name of the movement, these people are not a profession, with professional regulation and oversight. With the exception of the handful of people at the top who are building websites I’d imagine they’re individuals who probably largely have no idea what “BLM” means to others. They simply believe that black lives have not mattered enough to the people in power. In skimming the site I’d say that the group has some pretty out-there goals and ideas, but hasn’t that been the case with every movement? When I call myself a feminist I certainly am not yearning for a society without men or wanting sex roles eliminated. I’m thinking I’d like to get paid the same hourly rate men do for the same work and then go home to my husband, who is in charge of stereotypically male household tasks while I happily do most of the traditional women’s work (of making sure he doesn’t touch the good dish towels). People who spend vast amounts of time organizing under an ideology without pay are typically not moderate in their beliefs. The guy showing up for a protest because “sure, I agree that black lives matter” is probably not aware that there are questions about the goals and tactics of the leadership, and may not even be aware that there is a leadership rather than a #UBU-type feel-good slogan.

So rather than shutting down, why not reflect for yourself whether you think black youth are at unreasonable risk, or whatever, and whether something should change since you “don’t think that women should be raped or have obscene comments made to them in public and such”? Why not figure out what they are and then do the right things without worrying about the approach some of the people in the various movements are taking?


#141

I was just applying your reasoning to the situation with the police. I don’t think that everything they do is fine and there is no problem, there obviously are problems.

As for what BLM says on their site and what they do, the same thing could be said about police and various white supremacists/nationalists (whatever they want to call themselves). You have to look at what is actually going on and not just focus on one single line that gives the impression that they might not support certain things.

You seem to think that I either support police brutality or just don’t care, that is not the case. My issue with BLM is that many of their actions are counterproductive to their main goal, and in addition to that they have a bunch of other goals which are highly questionable. Maybe they just have a PR problem, but when they can’t stop their protestors from attacking white bystanders and never make any statements to oppose that, it gives the impression that they are an anti-white movement. Is turning white people against them a good way to help their cause?

Search “white bystanders attacked by BLM” and see how many incidents come up.