close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

June 1, 2020

Race war

Opinion

June 1, 2020

The moralizing has begun. Those who have rarely been the target of organized police gangsterism are once again lecturing those who have about how best to respond to it.

Be peaceful, they implore, as protesters rise up in Minneapolis and across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd. This, coming from the same people who melted down when Colin Kaepernick took a knee – a decidedly peaceful type of protest. Because apparently, when white folks say, “protest peacefully,” we mean “stop protesting.”

Everything is fine, nothing to see here.

It is telling that much of white America sees fit to lecture black people about the evils of violence, even as we enjoy the national bounty over which we claim possession solely as a result of the same. I beg to remind you, George Washington was not a practitioner of passive resistance. Neither the early colonists nor the nation’s founders fit within the Gandhian tradition. There were no sit-ins at King George’s palace, no horseback freedom rides to affect change. There were just guns, lots and lots of guns.

We are here because of blood, and mostly that of others. We are here because of our insatiable desire to take by force the land and labor of others. We are the last people on Earth with a right to ruminate upon the superior morality of peaceful protest. We have never believed in it and rarely practiced it. Instead, we have always taken what we desire, and when denied it, we have turned to means utterly genocidal to make it so.

Even in the modern era, the notion that we believe in non-violence or have some well-nurtured opposition to rioting is belied by the evidence. Indeed, white folks riot for far less legitimate reasons than those for which African Americans might decide to hoist a brick, a rock, or a bottle.

We have done so in the wake of Final Four games, or because of something called Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire. We did it because of $10 veggie burritos at Woodstock ’99, and because there weren’t enough Porta-Potties after the Limp Bizkit set.

We did it when we couldn’t get enough beer at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, and because Penn State fired Joe Paterno.

We did it because what else do a bunch of Huntington Beach surfers have to do? We did it because a “kegs and eggs” riot sounds like a perfectly legitimate way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Albany.

Far from amateur hooliganism, our riots are violent affairs that have been known to endanger the safety and lives of police, as with the infamous 1998 riot at Washington State University. According to a report at the time: :The crowd then attacked the officers from all sides for two hours.... Twenty-three officers were injured, some suffering concussions and broken bones."

Twenty-two years later, we wait for academics to ruminate about the pathologies of these whites in Pullman, whose culture of dysfunction was taught to them by their rural families and symbolized by the recognizable gang attire of Carhartt work coats and backward baseball caps.

Back to the present: To speak of violence done by black people without uttering so much as a word about the violence done to them is perverse.

Excerpted from: 'Protest, Uprisings, and Race War'. Counterpunch.org