On May 25 a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd until he died while three other officers watched.
There have been protests across the country in response. Some had police who joined the protesters, like in Flint, MI. Many had police beating protesters with sticks and rubber bullets, like in LA and Minneapolis.
Halfway across the world, thousands of people marched in New Zealand. That’s how much America sucks. The kiwis are getting involved.
Many were arrested for looting and destroying property, including in Boston. Many cities have reported the destructive people were not part of the Black Lives Matter movement, or even from the state they were being destructive in.
I posted the above comment on FB the other day, and a concervative gun-owning aquaintence responded “Lol….Yeah but the people carrying AR15s didn’t light shit on fire, burn down buildings and destroy police cars.”
To which I said “If those protesters with AR15s had been black, they’d be dead right now.”
And this below is the most effective response to someone asking why people had to be so destructive. As I mentioned, there is evidence that people outside the protest groups were the ones inciting riot. That said, if people of color want to burn the country to the ground? At this point, I say Have at it. Here’s my lighter. I do not want people hurt, I do not want property destroyed. But change is not happening, and if this wakes the powers that be up, I say go for it.
I struggle with things I do not understand. I often won’t state an opinion about something important unless I know all sides. Racism puzzles me. Why can’t we all see each other as equals?
I began to learn and understand my privilege when the Black Lives Matter movement began years ago. I am aware that I am a non-violent, non-blatant racist. I know there are things I haven’t learned. Things that are engrained.
When I was younger I remember someone telling me that black men don’t stay with the mothers of their children. That this behavior is part of their culture.
Now I understand that black men don’t leave the mothers of their children. They are sent to prison for ten years for something a white man who committed the same crime would get probation for.
That is only one in the many countless ways people of color are kept down by the cogs in the racist machine of America. The “rules” set in place are designed to benefit some, and keep down others.
I recently read an account by a white activist who was attending a protest as an ally. The crowds approached a row of police and the leader of the protested announced “Allies to the front!”
The white allies moved to the front of the group, creating a barrier between themselves and the people of color with whom they were marching. The white activist said that the tension immediately dissipated. They said something to the effect of “it almost became a peaceful situation”
When I visualize that scenario and I think “yeah, that makes sense”, it shows me how incredibly wrong the system is. That should NOT make sense.
But in the world we live in, it does.
A friend posted this quote recently and it helps me a great deal in understanding how America is so steeped in racism. Racism isn’t just a white supremacist with a gun and a confederate flag yelling the N-word, or a white privileged woman with a phone and an entitlement complex.
“The problem is White people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” – Scott Woods