Look, I get it: If you’re a liberal, this time is about highlighting what you perceive as the systemic oppression of people of color in the United States.
At some level, I’m not even going to argue with that. You do you.
If this is how you think you’re going to quell the riots happening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic while a goodly portion of your electorate is unemployed and is currently busy destroying places that might, at one point in the future, offer them employment, I’m not going to argue intersectional politics or critical race theory with you.
Having watched plenty of cable news coverage, I’d question the efficacy of your approach, but I think you’re pretty well committed to that road now and you probably don’t need some opinion writer on the internet pointing out your inanities. I wish you good luck, and I do mean that.
However, I will say this: If you’re going to blame white men for a goodly chunk of the rioting across these United States, that’s where I’m going to draw the line.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan — a Democrat, in case you had to ask — took to Twitter on Sunday night to deal with an issue that was really chafing at her: The white men involved in the rioting and looting she was seeing:
I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) May 31, 2020
“I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men,” she tweeted.
These individuals experience the height of privilege and are co-opting peaceful demonstrations that were organized by and meant to center people of color, particularly Black Americans.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) May 31, 2020
“These individuals experience the height of privilege and are co-opting peaceful demonstrations that were organized by and meant to center people of color, particularly Black Americans,” she continued.
There are so many ways you can go with this one, none of which shines a particularly good light on Durkan’s thoughts on the matter.
First, is this what, as the leader of the city of Seattle, Mayor Durkan really wanted to focus on?
Of all the problems her city is facing, what she really wanted people to know — the tweet that she had to realize was going to be grabbing the headlines going into the week — was that there were too many white people out in the streets causing mayhem when this should be about peaceful protests by people of color?
Now, let’s be clear: These were, by in large, peaceful protests by people of all colors, but that’s not what the news is going to focus on when, say, police cruisers are getting molotov cocktailed and store windows are being reduced to expensive pebbles by hurled bricks.
Here’s some of the footage from Seattle from KING-TV, which I present for several reasons:
As we can see, there’s fairly extensive destruction going on. However — and I really hesitate to point this out, but I only do because it goes back to the mayor’s own point — it certainly doesn’t seem to be exclusively or even mostly white people involved in this mayhem.
Even if it were, though — what would that mean? What would it mean if they weren’t white, for that matter?
What would it prove either way?
All the last week or so has proved is that a small, concerted group of individuals have used the death of George Floyd as cover to indulge in wanton lawbreaking, and that jurisdictions around the country — so willing, a week or two ago, to impose strict law and order on a hairdresser reopening too quickly or a church that wanted to hold in-person services — are possibly unable and definitely unwilling to deal with it.
This includes Seattle, and it doesn’t matter whether the people are white or not or if they enjoy arrant privilege because of their color.
I’m sure more than one reader has already begun mentally composing an email in which they blame antifa groups using this to bring about the end of the capitalist system or white supremacist groups trying to start a race war, Manson-style.
In fact, here’s the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis — in similarly classic leftist fashion — blaming a large part of the unrest in his city in part on the latter element with a claim that turned out to be wildly untrue:
We are now confronting white supremacists, members of organized crime, out of state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors to destroy and destabilize our city and our region.
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) May 30, 2020
If this is your argument, save yourself the trouble of making it.
Antifa’s involvement is likely but small and white supremacist involvement is possible but even smaller, if it even exists. The salient fact is that Seattle cannot stop the violence in its own streets.
So, its mayor is looking for a politically adequate scapegoat. That this excuse passed muster says a lot more about Mayor Durkan than any of the problems Seattle is facing.
The systemic racism excuse for the violence is one thing. If you can get mileage out of it, by all means, knock yourself.
If part of your way of solving your city’s problems is pointing out there are too many white people in the admixture of the cohort currently laying waste to your metropolis, however, I would posit the situation is probably beyond repair.
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