People protested peacefully — and things got worse

Why is Black outrage treated so differently in the news media? (And the worst looting is the corporate bailouts.)

Look these damn people tearing up their community…burning shit… what does all this rioting accomplish?

I’m not sure — but when people were kicking up dust in places like Hong Kong they were hailed as heroes. People swooned over them and showed signs of solidarity and encouraged them to keep fighting oppression. In fact, Time Magazine had a photo of protestors fighting a cop and they were deemed “Persons of the Year.” The protestors were called the “Resistance.”

Protesters confronting cops in Hong Kong are portrayed as heroes, winning the public poll for ‘Person of the Year’ in 2019

In Venezuela, people turned up and folks were invited to the State of the Union … Nobody said, “gee guys, you’re tearing up your community and preventing people from working.” There was none of that stupid talk. People were hailed as freedom fighters who were doing whatever it took to end what they deemed as oppressive conditions.

Wanna know where folks were told not to kick up dust, but instead be calm? In South Africa when folks were fighting Apartheid. Yep, that’s right.

Folks who are old enough recall that Nelson Mandela and his crew from the African National Congress were deemed Terrorists. President Reagan said violence was not cool and we should have what he called “Constructive Engagement” to end Apartheid.

Let’s go back to 1976, when the Soweto Uprising took place. Check out the local newspaper coverage from an event where anywhere from 176 to 700 kids/students were killed by the Apartheid government. Words like “plunder,” “death riot” and “mob” were used to describe these kids fighting Apartheid. There was no redeeming value to their action at all.

Black people fighting Apartheid in South Africa were dismissed as a ‘mob”

Compare those headlines and news coverage to the coverage given to other unrests that took place in 1976.Thailand and in Poland are two newsworthy ones that come to mind. These two uprising took place within weeks and months of Soweto. In Thailand the news headlines referred to the students as “folks who were massacred.” They estimate 100 students were killed by the Thailand government, but we were sympathetic. They weren’t called a mob. We didn’t see that with the students in Soweto.

Same thing in Poland, where there was several days of unrest, the news coverage talked about these valiant people as folks fighting to stop unfair price hikes in food.

Seems like every single uprising done by lack folks is widely condemned from South Africa to here. From the Black soldiers fighting racist cops in Houston during Jim Crow in the early 1900s after being terrorized up to last night in Minneapolis. From Harlem to Watts to Ferguson to Oakland… It’s the same song, same outrage and righteousness directed at Black folks for expressing rage.

In 1979 in Miami there was a police killing of motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie. The officers involved were acquitted in 1980, and Miami exploded. The same condemnation we are leveling on folks in Minneapolis today is what was levied on Blacks folks in Miami 40 years ago. They were deemed a mob, thugs, hooligans uncouth and hurting the cause.

Folks in Miami to this day are still being scolded by salty individuals over what took place in the aftermath of Arthur McDuffie. They were never, ever seen as folks who were betrayed by the system. Just thugs who set back Black progress.

So all this outrage about what’s going on Minneapolis after folks witnessed a public lynching by smirking cops is troubling. Folks seem to forget that Minneapolis did everything by the book after Philando Castille was killed on FB live by a cop who was acquitted.

Protester in San Francisco, May 31, 2020. Photo by David Schnur

Folks peacefully protested, marched, sat in at police stations, boycotted businesses like the Great Mall of America, voted, kicked off a project to bring about changes in the police department and what’s happened? Things have gotten worse — and here we have folks getting all haughty and doing the most with Respectability Politics while cheering everyone else on.

I gotta be honest the worst looting I’ve ever seen take place happened a few weeks ago when corporations collected over $500 billion dollars in stimulus money while everyone else was left with a $1,200 dollar check and having to decide if they pay for food or rent.

Keep in mind it was mean spirited leader of the senate Mitch McConnell who had to be dragged to even allow that much to be given. The same folks who gave corporations $500 billion fought to not extend unemployment benefits as folks are still sheltered in. Over 40 million people are out of work.

And again: Imagine if they had simply arrested and charged those four cops for murder. Think of where we would be at this time.