As quiet protests over prejudice and police brutality have transformed around the nation into senseless rampages and looting, some officials now believe that the violent crowds are instead being influenced by third-party factions like white supremacists. You may wonder, why would those well known for spewing racial hatred want to join a throng yelling “Black Lives Matter”? I can assure you; it is not to see an end to racism but rather to encourage and instigate the vicious uprisings, ultimately overshadowing the BLM movement.
Worse still, officials think that they are not the only organized group at work behind some of these demonstrations, finding suspected signs of well-known anarchists and anti-fascist followers at the sites.
The New York Times cited the Attorney General William P. Barr from a public statement confirming, “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent and extremist agenda,” meaning they are simply grabbing at any chance to cause social unrest, even though their motives are not aligned with that of the original protest. This could begin to explain the ongoing destruction in cities around the globe with burning cars, fighting in the streets, and an onslaught of pepper spray and rubber bullet rain. The National Guard has already been deployed to 23 states, with at least 5 deaths and over 9,000 arrests of protestors and extremists, leading to heightened animosity of authority.
As it is well known by now, these demonstrations began after a man named George Floyd was manhandled by police during his arrest, leading to his death. On June 1st, his brother Terrence Floyd visited the memorial site for his brother to speak to surrounding protestors, pleading for a more peaceful approach to their cause. BBC news uploaded a clip of his speech addressing the people, crying out, “I understand you are upset, but… I doubt you are half as upset as I am. So, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff… if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are y’all doing? Y’all are doing nothing!” Newsweek also mentioned his disappointment over the crimes taking place, as he continued, “My brother wasn’t about that. My brother was about peace.” He and his family members continue to give stirring statements about their loss and the discriminate interactions taking place in our society, while still condemning the unnecessary violence.
At Floyd’s memorial on Thursday, Daily Mail captured the Reverend Al Sharpton illuminating this idea in his signature philosophical style, saying, “For those that have agendas that are not about justice, this family will not let you use George as a prop. Let us stand for what is right.”
Meanwhile, the President has been doing little to calm the agitated public but has instead been encouraging the shooting of looters through the social media giant Twitter, in a tweet that resulted in a warning towards the President to not promote violence on their site. He has tried to assign the blame to others and boast about all he has accomplished for the black community, without truly attempting to listen to his people. Even if the protests have spiraled out of hand, the president should be trying to understand why so many American-born citizens feel unsafe and unwanted in their own country.
Of course, it would be unfair to say that racism exists today purely because of Trump’s presidency, but he really should take notes from those like the senator of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. In a recent debate over a proposed anti-lynching bill, she spoke candidly about what it means to be a white person empathizing with the campaign, quoted from CNN as saying, “I have not lived their life. I can listen, and I can educate myself, and I can try to be a healer when we need to be healed.”
The cop responsible for George Floyd’s death has been heavily charged for his crime of taking a life, but Trump needs to reinstate federal investigations into excessive police force across the globe. Many of those pledging to serve and protect the people are starting to forget what their badge means. Nevertheless, they do not stand to represent all uniformed officers, which the police department of Fayetteville, North Carolina hoped to prove through a display of understanding to their protestors. Just as their standoff on Monday began to take a dark turn, all 60 officers unanimously knelt on one knee to show that they were not there to do harm and that they, too, wanted nothing but justice. This small action of solidarity brought several people to tears, as it immediately defused the face-off, and everyone got to walk away unharmed. The department took to Twitter to applaud the officers, assuring, “We are committed to listening and treating everyone with dignity and respect.” The Charlotte Observer found one of the protestors, named Mimamo Monika, proudly posting about it on Facebook, proclaiming “These are moments that will go down into history and will be taught to future generations.”
While it’s tragic to see the unethical treatment that black people are still facing around the world today, these acts of vandalism and domestic terrorism are not the solution. Everyone has a right to a peaceful protest, but it’s time to try something bigger. The way of the future needs to be an educated approach to this inequality, changing the system of our society from the inside-out. With a Presidential election quickly approaching in November, activists could do plenty of positive things to make it count, such as; form petitions to government and make donations to impacted families, draw up platforms of issues for our new presidential candidates to tackle, address letters seeking help from senators, propose new rights amendments and see new bills enacted through smart voting, and most importantly, communicate with younger generations through peace promoting programs. Teaching children about what isn’t working in our society will ensure they grow up empowered to fix it. More conflict-free, yet passionate tactics like these may finally establish equality and a sense of harmony to bring into the next generation and years to come.