A human is a human is a human. And what happens in a society when you have a pandemic that disproportionately impacts people of color? Does that make them less human? What about an economic collapse that disproportionately impacts the youth and people of color? Again, less human? Then wrap all this in deep layers of uncertainty under the reigns of feckless leadership? And then add a catalyst that gives rise to an outlet for people to express their anguish and despair? Less human now? A cop is not an emotional super hero! They do not have the capacity to keep their cool in times of stress and conflict any better than anybody else. It is just a matter of human nature that if a system — albeit, justice or economic — punches down long enough, eventually the people being punched, will punch back.
These protests are not simply about George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery or Christian Cooper. They are not simply about youth unemployment and collegiate solvency. They are not simply about an economic ethos of promoting short-term gains at the expense of long-term stability. Nor are they simply about a climate crisis or a debt crisis or Russian crisis or immigration crisis or voter suppression. It is about a society that has been resolving all categories of decay by meticulously plastering over the cracks, over and over — letting whoever be damned, be damned. It is about committing ourselves to months of pandemic-induced solidarity towards the common global good and then watching a video of a human — yes, a human — with a knee pressed to his neck, face down and pleading for sympathy until he no longer can — a somber awakening to the reality of the picture: Oppression does not shelter in place.
As Martin Luther King continues to tell us, “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” — and at what point does this symmetrical condemnation break into a violent necessity? How many times must the system punch-down before punching-up is not just right, but righteous?
A violent protest is a protest by other means — our wanton desires channeled through anger and frustration. It is ok to be angry and it is ok to be frustrated. These are normal human emotions! A human is a human, remember? It is ok to cry and it is ok to scream. In fact, do it. Scream into the air and let your voice come to life — make your anger known. Take a deep breath and do it again — let your voice rise through the silent noise! Disconnect from the media, fake news, Russian bots and the pimps at Facebook. Decry the ones who’ll profit from our tragedy by fueling dissension, because taking a political stand, god forbid, may sour their shareholders — fuck Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. And decry the ones who use the language of the oppressor and paint the protest as chaotic or a riot — attempting to frame the protestors as less-than-human. Politicians and the media are, also, not emotional super heroes.
Do I condemn the violence? No. Do I advocate violence? No, but that is the point. The economy is violent, our justice is violent, our education is violent and our healthcare is violent. The language of the fucking media and the politicians is violent. And I do not advocate any of this violence — but it is a strangling reality that we cannot condone, nor accept. We cannot sit passively and await for the masters tools to dismantle the masters house! Nations have been, and always will be, shaped in blood — and history speaks of no exception. We the people — with history in hand and the wind at our backs — will make it known: We want to breath. We want to speak. The words of our dissent and the language of our protest is clear: the voice of the people, is the voice of god!