What Should We Take Away From The Charlotte Protests
(Cover photo credit: NY Times)
Yesterday I took the entire day off from doing any work just to watch as much of the live feeds/streams available of the Charlotte protests. What is becoming a routine scenario in modern America it was easy to safely assume how yesterday was going to pan out.
To properly give the backstory here... Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year old man was shot and killed by police this past Tuesday. There are two different stories here, which contradict each other for the most part.
- Was the officer that shot Keith black or white? (In my opinion, why does this even matter?)
- Was Keith armed with a gun like the police say? Or did Keith have a book in his lap that fell once he exited the car (as eye witnesses and family say)?
- Did Keith disobey police orders to drop said gun or did he [Keith] actually forwardly approach police with the gun pointed at them?
Early Wednesday afternoon protestors began to assemble in the Uptown area of Charlotte. Initially (as expected) the protesters started out with simple posters/signs, and the intentions of having their voices heard in a civil manner. In addition to those individuals that started out peacefully, students also held a lie-in protest at the University of North Carolina as well simultaneously.
One would think that these are the good protests that avid supporters of the Black Lives Matter organization and social injustice activists speak of... and they are right! During the afternoon/evening time, individuals did exactly what they sought out to do without any violence at all.
Then the entire narrative change once the sunset on the city of Charlotte.
What started out as a great way for Keith's life to not be forgotten in vein less than 48 hours of his death took a wild turn. Rioters seemed to have clocked in for their night shift and completely undone all of the good that protestors earlier in the day set an example for.
The typical looting, destroying property around the area, and even lunging of rocks (and other items) at the cops ensued. Rioters showed up with full face masks and bandanas/scarves on and around their faces, mouth, and nose, which helps them breath through tear gas bombs and mace sprays (to a degree).
This is exactly what the Black Lives Matter opposers (and a good amount of right-wing/conservatives) speak of when talking about the violence filled within urban/African-American communities. This is exactly what those who say "don't trust the media, they are lying about us" prove by providing them with the footage and stories to put out in the first place.
Now if you are wondering "Well Kenon aren't you black? Don't you feel or understand where the protestors (rioters) frustrations are coming from?"
Remember... if we are not supposed to generalize people based on factors that do not favor them, then do not generalize me personally when it comes with the notion of being a benefit or "in my favor to complain." Yes I am African-American (obviously), but in no way shape or form do I agree with what the rioters did last night. Thankfully I have never in my life experienced racism in any way shape or form.
While I respect Skip and Shannon as journalists, it is clear how they recently tried to guilt and put Lil Wayne into a box of playing "victim" to something he has never experienced personally is the same way I feel. (Minus the kids... I don't have any right now, but when I do, then you can adjust this statement as such.)
Just look at these next two videos. People are mad at what the police did to Keith is the main picture here (and I get that part). Why harm people that are white people (or anyone for that matter that has a non-black shade of skin tone) just because of their skin? Then turn around and complain that the cops are wrong for specifically target individuals based on their skin color and not their actions.
Unlike a good amount of individuals in America today, I prefer to wait until all of the facts are laid out instead of jumping to conclusions. This is not the first scenario of this kind and unfortunately it may not be the last. What I do know is that both side (police and family members of the victims) have both been found to fabricate their stories (in separate occasions not this one in particular) to try and not be seen as the side that is wrong.
Until the full investigation is complete here (including the SBI, which is looking to become a major player in this as well) I believe no one. It is unfortunate that Keith had to die at all in this manner. However, I will not be on the side of the rioters that caused more negative discernment to the people that already don't trust them.
Instead of media in the country and around the world focusing on the good protestors during the early afternoon/evening sessions, they will all most likely focus on the night session of violence. Don't blame media or "the man" or the government for how we (African-Americans) are being perceived rioters (and people that support the night rioters).
You had a clear example of what to do from your counterparts earlier in the day... and you failed miserably. To the protestors that were out during the early afternoon/evening hours, thank you! You are appreciated and you will have to get your voices heard from a different perspective because your violent counterparts are going to keep overshadowing you.