Social Justice and Progress are the Absolute Guarantors of Riot Prevention

Social Justice and Progress are the Absolute Guarantors of Riot Prevention

Riots are the language of the unheard.

“Large segments of white society are more concerned with tranquility and the status quo, than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

“In a sense, our nations summer’s of riots are caused by our winter’s delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these occurrences of riots and violence over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”

Martin Luther King JR., 1967

53 years after this famous MLK speech, there is still mass injustice.

People of color are being openly lynched in America. History keeps repeating itself again and again. This isn’t anything new, we just have cameras and social media now. The cameras don’t just show us an incident, they show us how bad it’s always been.

For 400 years people of color have been subjected to murder, brutality, inequality, and unfairness. Yet, the top priority of some white people this morning is to bitch about the the way black people protests. Yet, when protests are peaceful, no one is focusing on the protesters or the reason why they are protesting.

For more generations than most of us can count, black mothers have had to worry about their sons, because at any moment someone could decide he don’t belong, he doesn’t deserve, or he looks like a “thug.”

It’s painful.


People are tired, they are emotionally worn down. This isn’t just one time, this isn’t just one incident. This is centuries of times and incidents stacked on top of each other.

Yet, there are some white people who still don’t understand justice, who jump on social media and talk about protesting nicely. These Karens lecture the people at last night’s riots while wagging their finger in anger, completely disrespecting the feelings of the people; disrespecting their anguish and their loss.

Also, white people who are constantly getting their feelings hurt because #NotAllWhitePeople… just knock it off. This is not about you.

Mothers are afraid every day of their lives that they might not be there to protect their children from racism, legalized lynching, and open season on skin color.

Despite of that, some white people are more worried about stores, which can be rebuilt and about merchandise that can be replaced. But you can’t replace a life once it is snuffed out, as George Floyd’s life was snuffed out in Minneapolis on Monday.

Stop social injustice.

One of the best social injustice analogies I have ever heard was from Tupak in 1994.

“If I know in this hotel room, they have food every day, and I knock on the door to eat, every day. They open the door and let me see the party, and let me see them throwing salami, just throwing food around, but they are telling me there is no food in there.

Every day, I’m outside trying to sing my way in. We are hungry, please let us in. We are hungry, please let us in. After a week, that song is going to change to, we hungry, we need some food.

After two or three weeks, that song is, give me all your food or we’re breaking down the door. Then after a year, I’m picking the lock and I’m coming through the door blasting.

We asked 10 years ago, we were asking with the Panthers, we were asking with the civil rights movement. Now those people who were asking way back then are all dead or in jail. Now what do you think we’re going to do? Ask?”

Social injustice comes in many different forms. This analogy by Tupac was over 25 years ago. Yet some white people are still expecting black people to ask police to not murder them.

George Floyd

Ahmaud Aubrey. Breonna Taylor. Philando Castile. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. Sandra Bland. Treyvon Martin. Tamir Rice.

The murders of these men and women should traumatize us all.

“…After all, acknowledging unfairness then calls decent people forth to correct those injustices. And since most persons are at their core, decent folks, the need to ignore evidence of injustice is powerful: To do otherwise would force whites to either push for change (which they would perceive as against their interests) or live consciously as hypocrites who speak of freedom and opportunity but perpetuate a system of inequality.

The irony of American history is the tendency of good white Americans to presume racial innocence. Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege.

In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.” – Tim Wise

Systematic Racism

This video you are looking at is dozens, perhaps even a hundred cops surrounding the home of the murderer who killed George Floyd. They are trying to protect him.

A few days ago several cops on this same police force stood there while one of their own murdered a man in handcuffs on the street. They did not try and protect him. This is not what justice looks like.

These Minneapolis police officers are supposed to serve and protect. But who, if not the citizens of their city?

“If they’re not ready to clean up their house, they shouldn’t have one. It should catch fire and burn to the ground.” – Malcolm X (regarding a policeman killing a black man 60 years ago)

Like many of these previous murders we have seen, the cop that killed George Floyd has a previous history of complaints and suspensions for brutality. Again and again, with every single one of these incidents, we always later learn it was in the cop’s character.

Perhaps if police forces instituted a one strike, you’re out system, black and brown lives could be saved.

There cannot be good apples if the tree is rotten.

While it seems that Minneapolis has had many struggles with police brutality and lethal force over the years, in all areas of the country, other communities share that struggle.

Police culture, policies, and practices must change.

  • Police officers must wear body cameras which they cannot turn off and on themselves.
  • Communities need to have a civilian review board of police departments and officers.
  • Hold public disciplinary hearings.
  • There needs to be further mental health screening and background checks when officers are hired.
  • The police should have community representation, meaning each community should have a police force that represents cultural, racial and gender diversity.
  • Demilitarize police forces.

What about now? What about Minneapolis?

Below are live streams that are happening right now, as of 3pm on 5/28. The 3rd day of protests and unrest continues. And they will continue until George Floyd’s murder and the cops that stood by and watched are arrested.

The world is watching and we’re with you, Minneapolis.

Often, what the Black activists are asking for, is to amplify their voices, “like, comment, and share” content. So many good powerful voices are not heard because of social media algorithms. Any chance you get to amplify Black voices, do it. Email letters to police departments, find out what local issues are for black Americans.If you cannot speak for the experience of others, support the voices trying to speak, whose words are more important, and more authentic.

I’m not black, but I see you.
I’m not black, but I hear you.
I’m not black, but I’ll stand with you.
I’m not black, but I mourn for you.
I’m not black, but I mourn with you.

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