Contesting the Protesting.
By now you should be aware of the massive protests occurring statewide in response to the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Most recently and closest to home, Berkeley protestors blocked traffic on I-80 for the second night in a row. My initial reaction to this was, “Fuck these protestors”. After much thought, my reaction is, “Protestors, WHAT THE FUCK?”. Now let me explain why before you blindly classify me as the “oppressor”.
I am all for people peacefully banding together to send a message. However, I will not support putting innocent lives in danger. It makes you no different than those you are protesting against. Bringing children onto a freeway is NEVER a safe idea. Just. WHY? Secondly, you are not just disrupting white families or the cops. You are also intervening with families of color, many of which are struggling to go to work or go back home all in all to provide for their families.
This isn’t an argument to defend how inconvenient protests are. Although annoying, two hours in a car is nothing compared to the injustice people of color may face on a daily basis. This is a post asking, “What now?” I believe one outcome from any protest should be to inform the unknown or those who disagree in an attempt to gain their favor or at least open their eyes to a different perspective. I’m afraid these protests have only garnered more opposition than support. And once the dust settles, and people get tired of protesting I don’t see much changing.
You can call me insensitive or ignorant, but I much rather see people put in effort where real changes can be made. The current strategies I’ve seen aren’t unifying the gap, they’re making it bigger and creating more unrest. While I respect those willing to make public displays of activism, I whole-heartedly agree with photographer Nina Parks when she asks: What groups are crafting tangible demands from inside the community to the policy makers? THESE are the types of changes that will make an impact, and last longer than a march down I-80. Not only is this more effective, it also weeds out fake supporters that only want to vandalize and steal.
The best part? No one has to give birth in the back of a car because of it.