Minnesota is in Mourning. The murder of George Floyd has set of a chain reaction of protest throughout the country. Sadly, some of those protest led to riots. As I’m typing this, Minnesota’s 3rd precinct is burning. I am no fan of riots, but let’s put that to the side for now.
President Donald Trump just tweeted about the ongoing events in Minnesota. He blamed the Mayor, threatened government intervention, and proceeded to call them thugs. He also said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Personally, I don’t think Trump was referring to sending in people to shooting protesters. I believe he was referring to the looters escalating their crime. Either way, this language is absolutely disgusting, dangerous and it’s that type of rhetoric that has plagued the black community for decades.
Now by no means do I condone violence. But I take issue with the fact that more often than not, when a protest/riot erupts stemming from racial injustice, we get called thugs and other derogatory names. Why is that? Is it because the things we choose to be outraged over are deep wounds that this country refuses to heal or even acknowledge? Is it because the things we’re outraged over conflicts with the false image America tries to portray to the rest of the world? Or is It just because society has been told that for some reason, when events like this happen, it’s just not right? I say all the above.
When armed white militia were storming capitol buildings, Trump and others were approving of it and bought up liberation. I guarantee you if those militia looked like us or started shouting “black lives matter,” that whole scenario would have played out much differently. Yes, I understand that protest regarding the lockdown didn’t lead to riots. But guess what; protesting racial injustice will always be more extreme than protesting everything reopening right away. We’re not protesting to get haircuts, to hit they gym or anything like that. This protest is about being done with the excuses as to why cops get away with terrorizing our communities and why police unions have a tight hold on the cities they represent. You cannot continue to ask people to remain calm while people around us are suffering.
Again, I don’t’ believe in rioting. But when you look at cases like this, what are we told when other groups of people riot or shoot up a high school? We’re told to keep in mind how young they are, how they grew up, and show empathy. But us, straight to being called thugs. You can’t pick and choose when to be empathetic. I hate that we have to see riots. But I can also practice empathy. I understand the pain and trauma our people have been going through. The lack of patience and hope for true reform. Politicians can’t stand up there and condemn the riots but not acknowledge the pain it stems from.
White Americans will riot when their favorite sports team win/loses a game. They’re not called thugs. They’re not threatened with military force. They’re just living in the moment. If only African Americans had the same amount of luxury. To live in the moment as much as other people. If those “Re-Open America protest led to riots, Trump would use that for propaganda and continue to demand liberation. With the George Floyd riot, Trump once again is using it as propaganda but this time, to show off his loyalty to his base. Remember how there were “very fine people on both sides?” during the Charlottesville violent protest? African Americans certainly do. So please spare us your “it’s not the same” dialogue. That’s not cutting it.
To my brothers and sisters, do not let them change the narrative on us. Do not let it become about thugs. Don’t you dare give them the satisfaction. We cant just protest and call it a day. There has to be a phase two that involves organization and plans. Protesting alone won’t get you reform. We have to place logic before outrage. To the people who will consider this piece race baiting, all I ask of you is to take step outside your typical spectrum and put yourselves in the shoes of the ones in mourning. One last thing; if even now, you’re more concerned about the looting as opposed to the bigger picture, you are also apart of the problem.