How Would It Have Ended If They Were Black?
An armed St. Louis couple just illustrated protestors’ point.
At first, it seems laughable. A white couple in front of a ridiculously large house, wearing ill-fitting outfits, and brandishing weapons they have no idea how to hold. All in the name of defending their lives and their opulent, palatial manor.
But their lives were never in danger. No one stepped a foot onto their perfectly manicured lawn. They certainly didn’t crash through the iron gates to the neighborhood, as the homeowners claim. The couple didn’t see an angry mob crash down a gate, get scared and run for their guns, as they claim. They didn’t grab guns to protect themselves after protestors threatened to burn down their house.
I have heard numerous comments in the last 24 hours about the rights of private property owners. There a whole lot of people willing to defend that couple’s right to stand in their front yard and point guns at people.
What I never expected was how perfectly Mark and Patty McClosky would serve as examples to the point of why people were marching down their street in the first place.
One bold person in my social media feed said, “They have the right to protect their house. If someone stepped on foot on my property, I’d shoot immediately.” Well, sure. That sounds like a solid thought process coming from an American citizen with a gun license. Unless your name is Kenneth Walker or Breonna Taylor. We see how well this idea worked out for them.
White people will make comments about the reasonableness of using force to protect oneself with any acknowledgment that attempting to do so while being a person of color doesn't end well.
No one is arguing this wasn’t trespassing. It’s what happened after that becomes an issue of systemic racism.
This couple, and all of these comments, illustrate the point. The same behaviors in different sections of a city, by different races, have very different outcomes. It has always been this way.
People’s inability to understand this point is the reason why a group of angry citizens was marching past the McCloskys house, to begin with.
Simply put, if you don’t want angry people marching in front of your house, stop giving them perfectly obvious reasons to be angry.
The issue is that the reasons aren’t obvious to people who don’t suffer from the double standard. People are still angry because others deny them their anger and tell them they have no right to it, all while reaping the rewards of the privilege to do what others can’t.
Think about it this way. People say that the McCloskys have a right to stand there on their own property and do as they please. This is a fact. Protestors were trespassing. Telling them to leave was not out of line. Pointing guns at them was.
Think back a month ago when people in black neighborhoods stood on their own porches, watching over their own streets, and were told they could not stand on their own private property and were shot at with paint pellets until they went inside. There’s the outrage.
If you can’t understand why a person of color becomes outraged watching that happen and then watching a rich, white couple stand with an AR-15 style rifle, it’s a problem.
The applying of whitewashed logic isn’t even ironic anymore. It’s expected. We wait for it.
I live in Phoenix where a group of opportunists took over the fanciest mall in the state and looted without much police intervention. The rumor spread that there would be raping and pillaging in several white neighborhoods. It was never a threat. It was a small group of people intentionally inciting anger. It worked.
This was the first time I noticed the fallacy of the protection of property rear its ugly head.
As I watched the news feeds, I read the comments, mostly made by middle-aged white men. If I may paraphrase, the comments sounded something like this: “If anyone dares to mess with my home or my family, I will open fire. I will hunt them down. I will destroy them. My anger will not cease.”
It’s a gut reaction. It may not be a rational thought process but it’s valid. Hurt my people, and I will make you regret it. Yet, these were the same people who could not understand why an angry group of protestors showed up at a police precinct in Minneapolis and tried to destroy it.
It wasn’t the building they were mad at, it was what was inside. They were doing nothing more than what that white guy said he would do if you messed with his house or his people.
We took persons of color, messed with their people, and then condemned them for being angry about it.
There is one emotion that is universal to all humans, regardless of race. It’s anger. We’ve all felt it, displaced it, acted on it, and let it control us. In our moments of anger when need to be able to recognize the universality of the emotion. If we can understand and explain our own anger, we can understand and explain the anger of others.
You are coming to take what is mine and not yours and I am angry. For black people, that thing is not a palatial home. It’s life. They are not fighting for wood-carved living room. They are fighting to the right to continue to breathe.
And make no bones about it, this was racism. This was a couple standing in their yards with guns because of the firm yet unfounded belief that black people were coming to their neighborhood to hurt their people and steal their homes.
It was everything that they’ve been fed by propaganda that we begin making ever since we figured out how to make films. Ask yourself, if those protesters have been a group of women wearing pink hats marching to the capital to defend women’s reproductive rights, but things have gone the same way? Would they have reached their guns?
You can’t tell me that I can’t compare the two because a woman’s march wouldn’t been angry. I see that argument coming. I know firsthand that level of anger women feel when you tell them what they can and can’t do with the bodies. I would not provoke any woman who’s just been told by an old white man what she can and can’t do with her body.
My urgent plea to anyone who doesn’t understand why protests continue is to think back to the last time you were truly angry. I don’t mean pissed off. I mean white-hot angry. These protests continue because the people protesting still have white-hot anger. If you can see that anger and empathize with it using your memory of your own anger, it’s a start.