Back in 2016, a black community and its local police department in Wichita got together to have a cookout. This cookout took place during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and was widely approved of as a good way to form good and lasting bonds between law enforcement and the black community.
The cookout was called “First Steps,” and it became something of a mold for preparing community relations between the two communities which have been so alienated from one another for so long.
However, Black Lives Matter got wind of the attempts to bring the two communities together and expressly rejected it.
“We don’t sit on panels with law enforcement, and we don’t have BBQ’s or cookouts with law enforcement. We feel the best method at this point in history is by holding police accountable by organizing and advocating for police accountability,” said BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
BLM’s DC chapter was so against it that they sent out an all-caps tweet denouncing it.
— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) July 20, 2016
It’s confusing, really, because many people in America believe that this damaged relationship between police and the black community needs to be repaired in order to save lives on both sides, and here we have a great example of how the gap can be bridged, undoubtedly improving relations and ensuring a more understanding and fair coexistence.
Yet, the group who styles itself as the most concerned about the protection and preservation of black life is rejecting it. Why? According to what Cullors said, it’s because they don’t want a relationship, just organizing and advocating against police.
That’s not a solution. In fact, that’s the opposite of a solution. That’s just saying you want to keep reacting whenever law enforcement does something wrong or at least is perceived to have done something wrong.
This effectively makes Black Lives Matter a useless organization, if not an organization that exacerbates the problem. The question has to be asked. What are they even here for if they aren’t wanting to solve anything?
Fast forward to today, and there is rioting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, due to the unjust killing of George Floyd by a police officer who knelt on his neck for nine minutes as other officers stood around, not stopping it. It’s a horrid and disturbing video to watch and it’s understandable that it would elicit anger.
Riots began. Even at the time of this writing, businesses are being looted and burned. This reaction has naturally elected protests against the protesters. Arguments spring up against this, justifying the riots and comparing crimes. Those who are for the riots believe that because no one was murdered, then the riots should be considered okay.
I’ve yet to see one person actually tell me how the riots solve the problem.
What’s more, those in favor of the riots don’t want to see anything positive either.
Earlier, I posted this tweet of a video that had come across my front page on Reddit. It’s a sweet moment of a little white girl dancing with a black bus driver to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” The bus driver had apparently turned the song up for the little girl after she told him it was her favorite.
Can we take a break from the problems we're having in this country for a second to enjoy this bus driver blasting Taylor Swift for this little girl and having a dance party with her because she told him it's her favorite song? (credit: Brette-Ashley photography) pic.twitter.com/jDzKqUhCUX
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) May 28, 2020
As the video began making the rounds, pro-riot folks immediately became furious and even as I write this, I’m still getting angry messages and demands that I take it down. Some say it’s tone-deaf and not a good time. I can’t disagree more.
From my perspective, this scene, at least in part, is the goal. Two races having a warm moment and fun. Like the “First Steps” cookoff, this little girl is going to grow up with this memory of kindness. It will affect her attitudes toward the black community well into her adulthood. She’s going to be more apt to understand and seek understanding because of moments like this.
Yet, people are angry. They don’t want to see it. They have no desire to get to this point. All they seem to want is to be mad. To lash out and resort to base emotions.
They don’t want to solve problems, they want to create a problem in order to feel like the problems they’re facing are justified.
In truth, just like Black Lives Matter did in 2016, the decision to not embrace and seek solutions by people who post the hashtag, hold up signs, and other useless nonsense is just creating more dead black people and officers. If you’re not seeking a solution, and you’re only into the backlash, then you’re a part of the problem.