It’s been an interesting 48 hours as I watch people quickly deflect from George Floyd’s death to saying “These riots are not helping your cause. These riots are doing nothing but burning down your own house and not changing anything.”
It’s been interesting watching people (especially Michigan United for Liberty who canceled their Sunday protest by blaming the riots and lecturing people on what the proper way to protest is) use selective quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr and even President Obama to deflect from the main issue.
How about we use quotes from those great men the right way and leave in the full context. For those who point to Obama’s 2015 reaction to the Baltimore riots, how about we look at his 2020 reaction to Minnesota’s:
“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly, ‘normal’ – whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.
It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done But it falls on all of us, regardless of our are or station – including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day – to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and equal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”
And from MLK:
“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it American has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear what the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humility.”
So if you’re going to lecture black people on what the proper way to protest is going to be … get your quotes right, without the spin, and maybe you’ll have a little bit of credibility.