hands up don’t shoot! on nonviolent protest
I just participated in my first Seattle protest march against the murder of Michael Brown and everything that’s happening in Ferguson, MO right now and against police brutality and racism in general.
but before reading my opinions about a no offense but probably meaningless protest, how bout you read:
wow is my feminist media bias showing?!
get educated about what’s happening in Ferguson. get angry. that’s the important part.
less important: a small Seattle protest march against something happening in Missouri. I’m not looking to put down what happened tonight but I’m also not looking to lie. this was not the world’s best protest march. tonight was kind of organized by no one. I think the protest may have been organized by a Facebook bot who noticed trending ferguson posts and decided to take action.
maybe someday Facebook bots will radicalize and overthrow themselves.
tonight, 8pm, I met my shadow at Seattle central community college. I stared inquisitively into the eyes of strangers. I got excited when I started seeing protest signs. BEING BLACK IS NOT A CRIME!
after a half hour waiting in a growing crowd, we decided to get started. we were led by no one. we led ourselves.
there was mixed messaging. sometimes we yelled HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT! and I was down with that. sometimes we yelled FERGUSON IS NOT A RIOT! FERGUSON IS SELF-DEFENSE! and I was down with that. sometimes people yelled about justified violence and that all cops are racist pigs and I was like ehhh think I’m going to go to the sidelines/sidewalk till that chant is over.
that’s another thing: we took the streets. there were just 50 of us maybe but we walked in the road and slowed or stopped traffic going up and down broadway. taking the streets is an awesome way to get attention — more people will notice a roadblock than a group yelling on the sidewalk — but also I think you need a permit for that. I’m not looking to break the law. and I’m not looking to yell about pissing on cops when doing so.
as we marched, some people gave us thumbs ups. some people gave us beeps. I didn’t always choose to turn around to see if they were sharing a friendly or unfriendly finger.
it was nice to be a part of political action. it was nice to show Capitol Hill that they have neighbors and peers who are righteously angry and informed. my problem was the lack of organization and cohesive messaging. I am mad about what’s happening in Ferguson. I am mad about what happened to Michael Brown. I am mad that unarmed black people keep on being murdered by heavily armed cops for no reason beyond the color of their skin. that is what I wanted to address tonight.
and yes there are a lot of problems with the Seattle police department, and yes there are a lot of problems with racism in Seattle, but without specific examples and coherent messaging we are not communicating what I wish we were communicating. shouting things like ALL COPS ARE RACIST PIGS is likely to turn more people off than it is to bring them to our side.
I mean it turned me off and I’m on our side!
and not all cops are racist pigs
and a lot of non-cops are racist pigs
I’ll close with the words of someone wiser than I am. tonight’s action was imperfect, but I won’t give up and this is why:
Black people are dying and it’s not your personal fault that black people are dying because you’re white but if you don’t make a purposeful choice to become a white ally and actively work to dismantle the racist system running America for the benefit of white people then it becomes your shame because you are white and black lives matter. And if you live your whole life and then die without making a purposeful choice to become a white ally then American racism becomes your legacy.” Janee Woods on Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder