Strange Roots or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Riots

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I am probably one of the only people not condemning the riots.

I think they are misguided, but I support riots, and even the destruction of monopolistic property. So, while I think the people of Ferguson, Missouri are raging without guidance, the rage is real and should not be condemned.

I have probably lost most people by this point, but (as introductions go) I use this (what may even be called crass) support of the riots as a starting point, which I will now try to briefly explain.

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An aside: I think the people who are condemning the riots are also misguided. They hold very strong principles of stabilization. They don’t want to see society unravel, because it isn’t comfortable. Property? Well, are we certain we truly know what property is and who owns what? Law Enforcement? Do we even stop to think of what this entails? This is not peace keeping or security, these are the executioners of the law. Darren Wilson is an officer of making sure laws are kept, and under the law, he was vindicated for shooting an unarmed aggressor. Besides that being a concept we never typically stop to think about, we don’t want to (as a whole society) find problems with our hierarchy. We like things to stay constant. So, I would say most people attacking the rioting based on the defamation of property and condemning the rioters because “justice was served” have never stopped to think what that really means.

Another issue that comes up is the implied racism of the responses I have seen


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Who said that? Who said that EVERY black man is innocent? I am not here to justify Micheal Brown’s actions, but what I find as almost a rejection of this idea, is that typically, police officers are the ones that are given the benefit of the doubt. And for what? Because we are told to deify authority. Does this mean every officer is bad? Of course not, but we have to look at the fact that when white people see black people reacting to injustice, they will make ridiculous claims like “Oh, I guess all black people are saints now!”

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Ah, yes, the meme. How clever.  “It doesn’t even say black people!” Yes, but isn’t that the IMPLICATION. Ferguson is a majority -a super-majority- African american, and it is that old explicit stereotype, that black people are poor and don’t WANT to work, that continues to be implied in the humor of this meme.

(Do we know the difference between implicit and explicit?)

Explicit

racist

racist2 racist3
Implicit
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We continue to go back to the old stereotypes

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The same language that attempts to distinguish us from them

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They are just a bunch of lazy, animals and thugs, that just want to watch the world burn.

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They are monkeys.

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We find it no surprise that this would happen, because it matches our stereotypes of the African American community. And just like when they were “rioting” for the right to vote, we want to respond the same way. “Hose em down!”

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Or worse.

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Just because we aren’t calling the people of Ferguson, Missouri “niggers” doesn’t mean we aren’t still racist, and doesn’t mean we have even begun to address a deeper issues at hand.

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And the deeper issues is why I can sympathize with the rioters.

Are you from a racially diverse culture? I wasn’t, and neither are the people of Ferguson. I have a friend from Montezuma, Iowa that I put this into perspective for: Imagine if you were in your little farm town in Iowa. And you -you know the officers of your town? Yep, Chief Tim- okay, well imagine that instead of having the Barney Fife-type relationship, where the officer knows your mother and spouts out city code at you little rascals, there is a Denzel Washington from Training Day-officer, who assumes you have PCP and might shoot him. And these are all the police patrolling your town. They are hood, and they don’t speak your language. And let’s take it one step further, you have people in your town right now, that DO speak the language of the officers, ARE culturally similar, and yet they have issues because the police do not know their mother because their mother is a meth user who pimps herself out for drugs. Do you think the relationship between the Training Day-esque officers and this white, trailer-trash, misguided, youth are going to be good?

No, and that is essentially what we have in Ferguson on a day to day, between the good-ol country boy officers like Darren Wilson, who pronounce Missouri “Mis-ur-ah” and have no way of effectively communicating with these troubled kids and their family. There is a long history of racial tension and social injustice that sits just below the surface.

That is, before this week.

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The people of Ferguson wanted to see JUSTICE, and what they feel they got was more of the same, except this time the whole world was watching and you know what they did? They destroyed the status quo by literally burning down their village. And most people -most white people- saw that as the real injustice. Are. You. Kidding.

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I saw several people posting Martin Luther King

MLK

Sure, we have to love, we have to not let hate get the best of us, but we also have to not be so ignorant as to continue to allow the underlying problems not go addressed.

MLK said some other words too, some words about rioting and our reaction to it

Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.

But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

Riots are the cry of the unheard. And if there is an injustice or a perceived injustice (and the reaction of many middle-class white folks leads me to believe that it isn’t just perception), and we don’t address this, how can we blame them? How can we sit there and pretend that our actions and inaction didn’t somehow cause this?

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Now, as I said at the beginning, the actions were misguided. Our actions our misguided. I believe the real injustice is in the law, that we deify authority, and that the accountability of the government continues to be ignored. Who did the national guard go to protect? The business owners? The people? NO. They stood in front of government buildings, they stood in front of the Ferguson police department, when in reality, those are the building that the crowds SHOULD HAVE DESTROYED if any. I do think the riots were misguided, but is that really the true injustice?

As you enjoy Thanksgiving, as you spend time reflecting on the wonderful blessings of liberty and prosperity that have been granted to some, may you also hope and strive for a more just and more peaceful society, which means we may have to shake up some of the foundations.

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