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Posts Tagged ‘George Floyd’

Let’s start with these quotations:

From President Obama:

“[T]he small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods… and detracting from the larger cause…. [L]et’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it.”

From Terrence Floyd, brother of George:

“In every case of police brutality the same thing has been happening. You have protests, you destroy stuff … so they want us to destroy ourselves. Let’s do this another way,” he said, encouraging the crowd to vote and to educate themselves. “Let’s switch it up, y’all.”

From Congressperson Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis:

“When we see people setting our buildings and our businesses ablaze, we know those are not people who are interested in protecting black lives… Every single fire set ablaze, every single store that is looted, every time our community finds itself in danger, it is time that people are not spending talking about getting justice for George Floyd…”

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta:

“What we saw overnight was not a protest, and it was not Atlanta. We as a people are strongest when we use our voices to heal our city instead of using our hands to tear it down. . . .  If we are to enact change in this nation, I implore everyone to channel their anger and sorrow into something more meaningful and effective through non-violent activism.”

These statements by African Americans contrast with some of the commentary that I have been hearing and reading in the liberal-tilting media like NPR, CNN, MSNBC, the Times, the Post, and online sources, commentary that effectively tries to ignore or wave away the destruction of public property, private businesses, and workers’ jobs. (When a business is destroyed, its employees as well as its owner lose.)

At this writing (midday, June 2), it appears that the street action involves three groups: One, the largest, comprises genuine protesters legitimately outraged at yet another unwarranted killing and at the persistence of institutional racism. The second are anarchist terrorists, overwhelmingly white and young, fomenting destruction. We in the Bay Area are familiar with them. They show up wearing helmets and Guy Fawkes masks, carrying hammers and incendiary devices, to hijack political protests and to break and burn. The third group is comprised of criminals, sometimes organized in caravans, exploiting the situation to break into upscale stores.

The inclination of well-intentioned whites to airbrush the ugly parts of this scene is condescending and it is bad politics. It helps the Trump administration claim that it is defending the peace against the violent and the appeasers of violence. Modern American history tells us that the political winner of these street confrontations is almost always the side of reaction and repression. So, it could be again on election day, 2020.

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