Have you ever been so angry that you punched something? Not someONE… SomeTHING. Like a wall, or a door? I have. Have you ever been so furious that you broke something that belonged to you? Something valuable? I have done that too. People talk about how dumb it is for rioters to destroy where they live… But angry people destroy their own stuff all the time.
Now imagine “where you live” can feel more like a prison you can’t escape from than a home. Imagine looking around everyday and seeing reminders of a system that is designed to keep you poor and powerless.
The video below is six minutes and forty-six seconds long. If you are a person who claims to care about Black lives, but you are spending your time and energy being critical of the protests the murder of George Floyd has ignited, I would like you to ask yourself if you have a little over six minutes worth of time you are willing to give to understanding what is BEHIND the protests when they turn into “riots,” or when things are destroyed, or when people break windows and take things that aren’t theirs. Find six minutes and forty-six seconds, and let this amazing woman EDUCATE you. Let her passion and her knowledge and her right anger break your heart. Please, watch every second of this…
That’s it. That’s really all I wanted to say: Just watch this video. Nothing I might write could ever be as powerful or as poignant as this woman’s righteous rage. Her name is Kimberly Jones, she is an author and activist, and if you are wise, you will look at her words as a GIFT. If you are a white person like me, we cannot allow ourselves, as Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about in his Letter From A Birmingham Jail, to be…
“the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.'”
He wrote those words in an Alabama jail cell. And 57 years later, this nation is still burdened with the same shameful problem. And we’re still asking Black folks to wait… to be patient. If you are focusing on the “what” of rioting instead of the “why,” you are part of the problem. You are doing more harm than any broken window at Target. We have got to be better, and we’ve got to DO better.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to watch that video again. Let it change you… Let it break your heart.
If you were inspired by Kim Jones’ words, and you like to contribute to her work, you can do that RIGHT HERE. Also, if you value this blog as a place that challenges, informs, and inspires you, and you’d like to help support my writing, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can do that ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. You can also follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.