I want everyone to look at those pictures. Take a good long look at them. At the destruction you are causing to your city. Your home. Your neighbors. And I want you to ask yourself a question. Is this what you are seeking to accomplish? Is the destruction of your home and the lives around you really going to effect the change you want to see? Is that really the way to go about creating a positive change in the way your people are treated by the government?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is admittedly more complicated than that. How do you create long lasting change in an increasingly complicated and volatile situation? And I’m not claiming to have all the answers. What I do know is we’re going about it in completely the wrong way. I’ll be the first to admit I have little to no sympathy for the people who are rioting and looting. On the other hand, I have immense respect for the people who are peacefully protesting. It is a sad state of affairs that they are getting the lesser of the news coverage, if they’re getting any at all.
But aren’t the two groups trying to reach the same end? My argument is no they are not. The rioters are selfish. They are part of the problem. I see them and I see useless thugs who serve no purpose but to hurt the people around them. They are criminals and opportunists who saw an opportunity to exploit the people around them. They are not the whole problem, far from it in fact, but they are a significant part of the problem. Why?
I (and many people like me) lose respect and sympathy for them the minute they start propogating the same type of violence they themselves are experiencing at the hands of police. And as a result I have a hard time supporting the people who are doing it the right way. is that fair? No, its not. But its human nature. Why should I fight for these people when another sect of their movement is propagating violence against people like me?
Yes, police brotality against people of color is a problem. It’s a HUGE problem that needs addressed at every level of government, from the local police all the way up to the federal government. I’ll be the first to admit that. But the culture that glamorizes and encourages people like the rioters (and that is what they are, I refuse to call them protesters) needs to change as well. And before you get me started, yes I understand POC have, by and large, been dealt a shit hand in life. So did countless other cultures. Some much worse than what POC have been through, yet this doesn’t seem to be a problem that is endemic to other cultures. Eventually the argument loses traction, especially when so many others have faced similar odds and have ended up thriving, sometimes even more than the “white man” that kept them down. They worked hard, made sure they raised good children, and spoke up in a manner that affected real change when they were being mistreated. And you know what? Shock surprise, it worked! While the state of race relations in this country is far from perfect, there are non white people who have been able to thrive in this country. Our currently elected president being one of them.
While I’m on my soapbox, there is one other issue I’d like to address. White privilege (I’m on a roll today, aren’t I?). Do I benefit from it? Absolutely. Does it negate any opinions I have on this particular subject? No, it doesn’t. People I love and care about are affected by this violence. I have to raise my (future) children in the same world as POC. I will have to send them to the same schools, they will eventually work at the same places(and that’s perfectly fine). We live in this world together. Trying to silence me because I can’t possibly know what I’m really talking about is counter productive and does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. You want us to care about white on black violence, but we’re not allowed to talk about it in a way that shifts some of the responsibility to POC? We have to blindly support you no matter how poorly members of your community act?
That’s not how life works. If you expect us to hold people in authority over you accountable for their actions, then you need to live by the same rules. You don’t get special treatment just because you’ve been dealt a shit hand in life. You get the same resources and opportunities everyone else does. If you choose to waste those resources and hurt innocent people, then you deserve to suffer the consequences of your actions. The change you seek can only be achieved by holding everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or any other protected class, to the same standards we hold everyone else to. Anything else isn’t equality. If that is what you’re after. All this silencing of people’s opinions leads me to believe that isn’t what POC are after, and if that is the case, we have a whole other problem on our hands that I can’t possibly begin to cover here.