Acceptable Forms of Protest

Human Behavior, Politics, Social Issues

Whoa! Alright, that is it…

The protests in Selma, AL and those done by various women pushing for suffrage who were treated rather inhumanely by police, especially after being imprisoned… yes, those were indeed examples of police brutality stemming from peaceful protests.

So, is the rioting, looting and fires in Kenosha a peaceful protest? Is it a violent protest stemming from a peaceful protest or are the peaceful protests completely separate from the violent demonstrations and have nothing whatsoever to do with them? Which is it?

Before anyone is inspired to hijack more MLK quotes, let’s look more closely at the one offered by Mr. Velshi:

I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.

Failure to grapple the underlying cause is exactly what I accuse BLM of. It would be very unprogressive to insist that we continue to engage each other either violently or purely through demonstrations and not address the kinds of things that will solve the actual problems we are dealing with. If you really want to forever shout the mantra “No justice, no peace”, you are essentially talking about anarchy. We will never have a flawless system of justice where everything happens as everyone wants with no conflict. Peace is crucial for a functioning society, so that justice can even happen.

Yes, a lot of violence occurred in the past, but we have to evolve from military revolutions to cultural and political ones. Just because we fought several wars against each other in the past does not mean we need to continue doing such a thing today. It’s like hearing someone say, “Well, they did it, so why can’t we do it?” This country was founded on a revolutionary war and we fought a civil war. Please do not try to create another civil war, especially with the police. You will not win, and you will just attack the very systems designed to protect you.

What is an acceptable form of protest? Hmm… one that does not involve rioting, shooting, or setting buildings on fire? Is that line reasonable enough for you, Mr. Velshi? Or do you need demonstrations that are more chaotic to feel like we are getting anywhere? And again, I do not know if you are saying that the peaceful protests devolved into violent ones or if they have nothing to do with each other.

Why the heck would people burn down a freakin’ Wendy’s in solidarity with a man who ran away from a DUI arrest and wrestled with cops? How incredibly absent-minded of a self-inflicted wound is that? As though I as a black man have a right to attack cops or otherwise give them a hard time but they are the ones who have to be very careful to de-escalate the situation. “Black Lives Matter” seems to often mean “Black lives are more important than others”.

Why is there not even the smallest bit of admonishment for people who create a tense situation? Whenever cops have dealt with me, I have done what they asked and then was left alone. But some would have you believe there are roving gangs of racist police just walking up to people like me and shooting them, or detaining them for no reason. Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, and Jake Blake all made conscious decisions to disregard lawful orders and contributed to a more and more confusing and tense situation.

Had Mr. Brooks followed through with the arrest and he was definitely not drunk, he would have the law on his side. Or if he was drunk, he would have to deal with that.

Had Mr. Floyd simply worked with the officers instead of resisting them (yes, repeating “I didn’t do nothing”, “Please don’t shoot me” and refusing to exit a car so that two people have to pull you out of it is a form of resisting), they would not have felt compelled to handle him so roughly. When police say things like “put your fucking hands up”, “put your hands on your head” and “step out of the car”, just do it. Also, they would not have been there in the first place had he not used a counterfeit bill. But to be very clear, George Floyd ended up on the ground with a knee on his neck because of all of the resisting.

In the raw video of his arrest, note how very difficult it is for him to get into the police car, how he repeats “I can’t breathe” (despite you hearing him breathe rather heavily) well before he is on the ground making clear it was something other than the knee on his neck that caused his breathing difficulty, and that he is clearly on… something. He is literally foaming at the mouth. You will also learn exactly how he ended up on the ground and how he did not stay in the car. No one in a normal condition would act like that and die from simply being put in a car and then on the ground.

Had Mr. Blake not ignored officer instructions to the extent that he was tased and then completely disregard them so as to reach into his car, he most certainly would not have made anyone think he was a threat. It is a shame Kenosha police do not have body cameras because we would get a much more complete story.

I wish these men respected the officers who had no idea who they were and who were forced to quickly react and unfortunately made either fatal or critical errors of judgement in very tense situations. I cannot think of a single black friend who would react to police as those men did, because they value their lives so much that they would never do something to make a cop feel threatened or otherwise put them on high alert.

And so… please be safe out there… especially Mr. Conflicts-Are-Solved-By-Violence over here…

What say you?

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