The insurrection we witnessed today is not the same as the rioting and looting carried out during the George Floyd Protest of the summer. The protesters were fighting for basic human rights and justice. The seditionist today sought to overthrow our democracy and suppress the voice of those they disagree with.
Those on the right want to make them one and the same. They are not. One is insurrection and the other is not. In order to understand the other we must understand the history of oppression and slavery in our country.
The history of slavery is one we tend to whitewash and forget. It is a dark stain on our nation that haunts us to this day. Slaves were brought here against their will and forced into servitude that built this nation into the wealthiest nation in the world. I want to believe that after abolition some believed they would finally be able to partake in the wealth they had created. But once again they were met with more oppression. We are a country that throughout our history have either explicitly or implicitly oppressed and blocked descendants of slaves from the wealth their ancestors created.
For one moment I want you to put yourselves in the shoes of a person of color. Imagine growing in a system that has made you have to work harder to get ahead than your white friends. Now imagine seeing people of your race being beat and oppressed by law enforcement, and a criminal justice system that has disproportionately worse outcomes for people of color. All your life you have suppressed the oppression and racism you face daily. Its just life as you know it.
Then this summer you hop on social media and see George Floyd killed in cold blood, live in broad daylight, eight minutes and forty six seconds. A man that might look like your dad, brother, uncle, friend, or you. Would you not riot? It might be easy to say no, I would ask you to dig deeper. “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years (Martin Luther King jr.).”
I do not condone violence and in an ideal world rioting and looting would not be needed or appropriate. Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world and the ruling class is not moved to action by peaceful protest. We have made this their voice by allowing 156 years to pass since the ratification of the 13th amendment without real reconstruction. We have failed to listen! We are complicit in their oppression and therefore complicit in the rioting and looting.
If you did not want rioting and looting we should have listened and enacted change a long time ago.