Today’s ‘unruly’ & ‘disruptive’ #BlackLivesMatter protesters are in very good company.
50 years ago, the “moderate” mainstream media concern-trolled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, intimating that his “disruptive” direct action protests were irksome and essentially unnecessary because white people should be trusted to eventually do the right thing. One interviewer’s words reveal the level of paternalism black Civil Rights activists had to contend with: “The former president, Harry Truman, recently said this, and I quote, ‘If anyone came to my store and sat down, I would throw him out. Private business has its own rights and can do what it wants.’ Now, Dr. King, President Truman is an old friend of the Negro, I believe. Isn’t it an indication that the sit in strikes are doing more harm than good?”
Civil Rights, Allies, Riots and ‘Now vs Then’
There is surprisingly little different today when paternalistic, so-called “progressives” still infantilize #BLM activists and their supporters, many openly stating that we have no idea who our “allies” are, and don’t know what is in our own best political interests. These same people claim to be our friends and “allies” who allegedly agree with our goals and want an end to racial injustice,but somehow they can’t quite agree with direct action activism because it’s just too gosh darn disruptive…for them. Could you imagine if one of your neighbors came to your house banging on your door begging for help, saying that their home is on fire and you calmly responded that you really would like to help, but because of all their yelling and screaming, you think less of them and then you admonished them for not being polite as they’re experiencing an immediate life-or-death crisis?
(SN: right now might be a good time to google Dr. King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and see what he had to say about paternalistic, “moderate whites” possibly being a bigger impediment to racial justice than any Klu Klux Klanner)
Back then, many white leaders said they agreed that racism was wrong, but complained that simple sit-in protests were too disruptive to achieve any meaningful change. Today, many white people say that they agree with #BLM protesters, but then say that simply interrupting a speech is far too unruly and won’t achieve any change. Back then, the government spied on Dr. King. Today, Homeland Security is spying on prominent #BLM activists like DeRay McKesson and several others. Back then, the media weighed black lives against property damage. Now the media weighs the value of black life againstproperty damage. Then, the police incited riots in cities like Watts, Harlem and Detroit. Now the police incite riots in cities like Baltimore, St. Louis and Ferguson.
Other than social media, technology and a more agile, decentralized leadership structure, the only significant difference between Civil Rights activism now and then is that back then, Dr. King was alive to speak for himself. Now, many of our political enemies and too many of our political “allies” just throw down some self-serving, completely out of context Martin Luther King quote - like he’s some MLK Pokemon pet - to silence any “disagreeable” black person who is justifiably enraged or in distress as unarmed black people continue to be randomly murdered by the police, with no accountability, and for no reason other than the color of our skin.