Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen armed White protestors confront police. We’ve seen them bombard a capitol building dressed in fatigues and holding sawed-off shotguns and rifles. Not because of the government’s failed response over the coronavirus, but because they wanted to open their states back up and defy the stay-at-home orders designed to keep them safe. This is what’s important to them, no matter how many people across the country have died.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen the faces and hashtags of Black people who were unjustly killed by those who were supposed to protect and serve and White racists. And when police departments hire White racists, well, we all know how that story goes. From Breonna Taylor to Ahmaud Arbery and now George Floyd, a national pandemic can’t even stop White people from killing us.
So what do you do when you’re fed up with an unjust system? When the boiling point has reached Fahrenheit levels that don’t even exist? You use that heat to burn it all down.
Rioting and protests are nothing new in America. From White people rioting during the Boston Tea Party and looting a whole ship to Black people having to constantly protest and riot every time a Black person is killed—this is what America was built on.
What have peaceful protests taught us? What have they accomplished? When Martin Luther King, Jr., walked across that bridge in Selma during a peaceful protest, I’m sure he didn’t expect his life to end in a violent haze of bullets.
There will be some watching the protests and looting in Minneapolis in disgust. And that’s their prerogative. Be disgusted. But be disgusted about the fact that millions of people witnessed George Floyd’s senseless murder at the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin as his comrades looked on. Be disgusted that Floyd’s death was witnessed by a little girl, who will forever be scarred. Be disgusted that instead of protecting protestors, armed police officers are currently protecting Derek Chauvin’s house. Be disgusted that in 2020 Black people are still disenfranchised in the United States. Be disgusted that Black people are dying at an insurmountable rate because of the coronavirus.
Until these things disgust you, we riot, we protest and do whatever it takes to get your attention—including burning it all down.