Content Notice for Police Violence, Anti-Black Racism, & Anti-Semitism
When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.
― radical activist Martin Luther King Jr. (emphasis mine)
Practical matters first. There is a Baltimore bail fund via Crowd Rise. It has been retweeted by the Bmore United Twitter that links from their official webpage, so it’s verified. I’ve given and I encourage anyone willing and able to do so. If you can’t, statistically speaking, a social media share of the link can be more valuable than even a donation alone, so do that.
Baltimore has been a long time in the making. That black lives have not mattered to law enforcement is old news, however, and the subject of many protests. Baltimore, like Ferguson, is making headlines because the protests there are the loud, unavoidable kind, wholly uncivil, the kind called riots.
Growing up Muslim, I certainly noticed the fact that so-called peaceful and civil protests don’t get you noticed. You can spend most of your youth going to peaceful, well-organized protests regarding the US involvement with Israel, ones where the organizers crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” and obtained every permit possible, yet no one will notice or report on anything but those random guys who showed up at the end to burn flags and chant “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya yahood!”
You could have a Muslim member of Congress and arrested for a cause and yet anti-Muslim bigots will still claim that no Muslims care about it. This is despite the fact that, again, the highest-level (confirmed) Muslim elected official in the US was arrested for his protest of it.
There are certainly worse ways to spend an adolescence than at pro-Palestinian protests that no one seems to know or care about and being aware of issues in places like Darfur. At the very least, my experiences taught me the relative lack of value in wholly peaceful and entirely law-abiding protests, as well as the difference between a riot and a protest. One is the kind of disruption you hear about, and the other isn’t, because it barely qualifies as a disruption at all. Disruption seems entirely necessary to gain the attention required to lead to anything even vaguely approximating legitimate, lasting, meaningful change.
Stonewall was a riot that helped birth the national LGBT rights movement as we now know it. The fight to legalize queer didn’t begin with court cases, and though that is where it is often fought these days, it won’t end there. In antebellum America, aiding and abetting enslaved persons in their quest to freedom was illegal. The American Revolutionary War began with the destruction of property. When discrimination is codified into the law and the law is enforced by bloodshed, that force must be met with force.