Disclaimer: I don’t in any way want to glorify/support/spread violence and vandalism but want to shine a light on the fact that African Americans are not responsible for the state of the country today, but racism is. I condemn unnecessary violence, however, support revolution as a necessary means to bring in change. I have completed a detailed study of revolutions, both peaceful and violent, and consider them an important factor in creating charge; most notably the violent French Revolution, the violent American Revolution, the violent Women’s Suffragette Movement, and the Stonewall Riots of 1969. I also acknowledge the injustice done to peaceful protesters, who have every right to protest and I consider their reaction of rioting as justified and, at the same time, I condemn the other rioters, looters, and violent acts committed by the third party that have nothing to do with #BlackLivesMatter Movement. I aim to stimulate the readers to understand the psychology of African Americans rather than condemn their acts of violence outright.
To all those who say rioting/revolting isn’t the way to fight for justice, to all those who call rioters thugs, and to all those who aren’t angered enough to talk against this act of revolting:
African Americans Have Had Enough.
While some lie on their couch blasting tweets off, or posting stories, an African American boy has committed suicide due to fear, an African American girl is scared of the cops and can’t go to anyone for help, an African American mother is scared if her son will ever return home and an African American father has given away last of his food stamps to his family, while he sleeps away hungry at night. Many will now try to educate me about how revolting isn’t the right way to fight for justice and how these revolters are spoiling the memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and most recently, Jacob Blake. So let me just ask a question, before some of you end up eagerly sending me hate mail: Is it right to politicize this? Is it right to weaponize this horrifying incident to support propaganda? Is it right to threaten the black community to bring in the National Guard to arrest and shoot them, especially when they happen to be the most vulnerable ones today? ahem Portland, OR ahem No, I don’t think that is right either.
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts” is a very infamous yet incorrigible phrase used by the POTUS. Do you know who said this first? Segregationist Miami’s Police Officer Walter Headley and Presidential Candidate, George Wallace during the Civil War when looting was used as a form of riot even back then. If this isn’t a hint of Civil War 2.0 backed by Trump, then I don’t know what is.
Many people might now bring up Martin Luther King II., a civil rights activist known for his non-violent methods, which were inspired by Gandhi. Well, what happened to him? He was assassinated and many years later, systemic racism still prevails in America. Don’t forget, the same Martin Luther King II. also said: A riot is the language of the unheard. This is to only say and I repeat:
African Americans Have Had Enough.
Enough bullshit. Enough murders on the streets by those who should be protecting them instead. Enough of saying: I can’t breathe. Enough of people who are threatened by a harmless African American man. Enough of systemic racism and white supremacy. Enough of being treated as subhumans and slaves.
What happened to all those years including these past few months of #BlackLivesMatter movement, a peaceful protest that took place in every major city and every state in the USA? A movement that became a landmark in the history of African Americans. What happened to all of those non-violent ways of fighting for justice? What happened in New Orleans? What happened to the movement and the protests? The songs, the pleads, the poems, the novels, the opinion pieces, the articles, the speeches, the movies, and the documentaries? Who heard them? Who saw them? They tried in every way to say loud and clear: value us, treat us equally, we are your brothers/sisters, most of all, we are also the citizens of the USA and we have the same constitution, the same freedom, the same rights, and guarantees as white people do. They told us this every time they were being threatened. In the mid-1950s. In the early 1960s. In 1970s. In 2012. In 2014. In 2015. IN 2020. But what did people do? Support them for some time, posted stories on Snapchat and Instagram? Show them that they are there for them? And then disappeared. Even I am guilty of the same thing. We all did it.
Until the same police brutality took place again in Kenosha, WI. , where the same peaceful protests also took place. But this time, they decided:
We have had enough.
But this time they were betrayed. People accused them of using violence and threatening societies. They educated them by saying rioting cannot fight injustice and that crimes cannot be fought with other crimes. In many ways, and I hate to say this, they acted like a white supremacist. Yes, you don’t support violence and you are a peaceful person, and you support peace in the world, but did you all of a sudden forget who had declared a war?
Maybe it’s still wrong in your eyes and your mind. You might be thinking of other ways to fight against racism. But, don’t you feel guilty, because you gave them no option? Because it was because of you they had to resort to rioting? Because you forgot they mattered? Because they tried every and any way possible to tell you how they feel, you heard them, jumped on the bandwagon, only to disappear later, but you hadn’t listened to them?
Because if we listen, then another black man won’t have to die on the streets, another black family wouldn’t mourn for days, another white officer wouldn’t be violent or racist. Simply, this wouldn’t happened. And since you and I and all of us decided to just hear them, and not listen to them, this time they decided:
They have had enough.
This article is written by guest writer Utkarsh Mehta. Utkarsh Mehta is a student who is majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington State University.