I can't do a lot of thinking or working lately. The circumstances don't allow it.

But I can't help but be bothered by the internet finding yet another of Martin Luther King Jr's quotes to say what they want him to say.

Yes, in the same breath that Dr. King infamously said "a riot is the language of the unheard", he did also say this:

"I would hope that we can avoid riots because riots are self-defeating and socially destructive."

And he wasn't wrong. But not in the way some suppose.

Riots are indeed unfortunate for all the reasons we currently know. But *so are protests*. You'd imagine that in a world that insists upon a right way to call for justice, it would be said just as loudly by those who condemn riots that they shouldn't need to protest this at all.

You would imagine that when a man is dead, those who just as eagerly condemn riots would say as many words, and as often, about the fact that such a loss is equally condemnable, that refusing to take responsibility for that loss is equally condemnable.

You would imagine that when folks have peacefully protested before this loss in particular, folks would have pointed to those peaceful instances as the moment when things should have changed for the better, before this loss, instead of equally condemning those peaceful instances.

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When Dr. King said that he hoped to avoid a riot, he was saying he wished that a protest would be heard enough. It would appear that African Americans still have not been heard enough.

That is not the fault of those who are mobilising. That is power's fault, not citizens' fault. You can't blame folk for wanting to be heard so badly in the midst of their own suffering & woe because you don't like how they beg to be heard--not if you won't listen to them at all.

One can hope that a community in pain would not have to rely on the last resort of hoping to be heard, and still acknowledge that, as Kwame Ture intuited, unless your opponent has a conscience, being heard will turn to other, more dire measures.

The internet would have you believe that there are folks who love to break shit in times like this. I ask: do you think these communities love to protest? Do you think these neighbours live for the moment when they have to wake up & shout the names of the dead at uncaring police?

Do you think these citizens long for another moment to be afraid of what will happen to them & their loved ones if people didn't gather in the streets? Do you think these people get excited by the prospect of being ignored or brutalised by police officers in the name of the dead?

There is a terrible irony in the internet judging the voices of Black people in pain so harshly that they would go digging in the latter moments of an MLK interview for something to dissuade those voices when he already gave his "final analysis" on the subject.

There is a terrible irony in trying to be sure about whether riots are condemnable, more condemnable than what they flare out in judgment of, when Dr. King already challenged us to condemn the conditions of marginalised suffering "as vigourously as we condemn riots".

Let's be sure of another thing Dr. King said:

"Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention."

Anyone decrying the fire of a riot but doesn't give a damn about the quenching waters of justice is merely ignoring the suffering of their neighbours.

The news guts me in a way that rattles my ability to think or work. I am in pain.

But I know this much: when someone is crying out for you to listen--listen to their pleas to breathe, listen to their pleas for justice--and you do not listen, you do not get to judge how they aim to hold your attention.

@therisingtithes it also got me thinking... I often come across as anti rioting, but I've also never been in a situation where I've been so oppressed that I would see it as necessary. And perhaps because I'm a white guy it's hard to imagine myself ever being in that situation. So I often find myself thinking that any form of rioting if necessary needs to be focused. I don't know much about the riots right now, and I'm realizing it's really easy for me to say that without being there...

@therisingtithes this is amazing thread, cutting through the noise of those who twisted the words and it is very well written. Thank you a lot for sharing with us. I can only imagine how hard it is to read all the lies.

@therisingtithes It's a lot easier to get acceptance if you just agree with everyone. But I don't think one evil act justifies any others as Gandhi-ji put it and I get he's not as popular and MLK these days. An eye for an eye making the whole world blind.

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