You’re Missing the Point – a Way Too Long Facebook Response on the Unrest in Kenosha

I don’t condone it, but I understand it.

I’m a 32 year white male who is not rich by any means, but I live a very comfortable life. I haven’t experienced racism first hand, but I have likely benefited many times due to my race, especially with the law/police.

This is the gist as I see it. It isn’t meant to be linear, but instead provide a thought process.

Black people tell their stories of racism, how they have been profiled, how they haven’t been given a fair shake in the US compared to their white counterparts, and how government policies have been enacted to keep them down.

White people tell them it’s not happening, or that if it is, it’s not often, or that they started with nothing, and still made something of it, and that slavery/jim crow laws/lynchings/segregation/red lining/war on drugs/racist judicial system/racists in power/white flight/defunding public schools and services had nothing to do with it.

Black people see their own race killed by police for unknown reasons, and cry outrage and demand justice.

White people say yeah that’s kind of bad, but no reason to really change anything. He was just one bad cop.

Black people tell their stories of other bad cops who appear to be policing using racist tactics.

White people say you’re probably exaggerating, or embellishing your stories. There are some bad cops, but not that many. No reason to really change anything.

Black people see their own race killed by police for not following orders, cry outrage, and demand justice.

White people tell them the cop was in the right, because the black man didn’t follow orders, not following orders means he deserves whatever he gets, the cop felt endangered because he could have had a weapon – even though this situation nearly always end in non lethal force being used when it’s a white suspect, and our state allows for concealed carry which essentially means everyone could have a weapon, and practically always gives them a reason to shoot first, and be judge/jury/executioner. Plus the guy was super shitty anyway so he probably deserved it. (Aside: I’ve heard this way too often for it to be only a few crazies who think this.)

Black people, and their allies protest to demand more transparency, and accountability from their police force. They also look to reduce the funding for the very same police force which had their funding cranked up during the war on drugs, and consumes most of their city’s taxes and to reapply it to public services which had been defunded.

White people complain that it’s blocking traffic or making their lives uncomfortable. Plus there is no need to really change anything.

Meanwhile the protests are unsuccessful because the white republican government at the state level refuses take action (and still refuses to take up bills 140 days later). Bills are passed in the US house, but stall in the white republican controlled US Senate. The protests result in no meaningful change.

Black people and their allies: OK we’ll vote them out of power!

Wisconsin republicans are one step ahead, and have carved out small chunks of democratic leaning Milwaukee, and added them to very conservative suburbs. This produces a gerrymander where they own each house of government even though they don’t get more of the vote.

Black sports athletes and their allies try to bring awareness to issues and pressure their government to do something about it.

White people tell them to stick to sports, and they are boycotting their sport, because politics don’t belong in sports.

Additionally Wisconsin republicans in the legislature echo this sentiment, “gavel in” for their forced special session, and leave. They take up zero of the governor’s bills that have been sitting for months. These so called “pro local control” republicans have the audacity to release details on bills they are thinking about proposing that not only ignore the calls for reform, but include a point of emphasis on a “maintenance” addendum which threatens to reduce state funding for cities that reduce their police funding. They hope to have something prepared in 4 months.

4 MORE MONTHS. That’s another 122 days on top of the already 140 days they wasted doing nothing.

At this point people feel outraged. They feel like you’re not allowed to take part in the system, They feel like they haven’t been given a fair shake in the country. No one is listening. And you really don’t have anything to lose. Why wouldn’t you want to burn it down? What’s in the system for you?

This isn’t just poor black people feeling this way. As I said prior, I am a comfortable 32 year old white male, and I don’t know what to do with all of this energy. This frustration. This outrage. This overwhelming need to do something about it.

I’ve protested. I’ve talked to people. I’ve blogged. I’ve donated. I’ve reached out to my representatives. I’ve tweeted. I’ve tried to bring awareness. I’ve now started to do side projects using my web development skills hoping that a different medium would be more effective. I don’t really know what more to do.

If you’re only outraged at the destruction/vandalism then you’re missing the point. Where was your outrage during anything else I wrote?