Friday Links: World on Fire

I started compiling these links on Sunday morning and at that point it seemed that the US was on fire and it doesn’t seem to have got any better over the week. I’m a Londoner and lived through rioting in my city (which is where the picture below comes from) it’s always happened when people feel unheard and hopeless. You can talk to me all you like about looting and agitators, but at the core, it’s about a population of people being treated badly feeling that justice will not be done. That peaceful protest hasn’t worked, that there is no hope and no point in being respectful of property and no point is listening to ‘authority’ that exists not to protect but to diminish and dehumanise them. It’s happened here and it’s happening in the US right now.

Over the week there have been lots of posts on social media and #blackoutTuesday and I have been mostly silent on social media. I’ve talked about it to people in real life but I want to be very careful about what say here and elsewhere because I don’t want to distract from other voices or get it wrong. I also wanted to sit in any discomfort I might feel and actually think about it, not be defensive.

I’ve been thinking this week about Martin Luther King Jr. and his letter from Birmingham Jail because it’s a reminder that change only comes after conflict, that non-violent is not the same peaceful. It’s a long read and if you don’t have the stamina for all nine pages of it, then this is the paragraph for white people who think they aren’t racist (the bold sections are highlighted by me)

I must make an honest confession to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

In your statement you asserted that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But can this assertion be logically made? Isn’t this like condemning the robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical delvings precipitated the misguided popular mind to make him drink the hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because His unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to His will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see, as federal courts have consistently affirmed, that it is immoral to urge an individual to withdraw his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest precipitates violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.

There isn’t anything much I can do about what is happening in US except pray, however, I can educate myself, I can sit with my tension and discomfort and use it to work for change. I can call out racism when I see it, and I can listen to my black friends when they tell me what I can do to help.

Here’s some reading recommendations:

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire – Akala

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin Di’Angelo

Right, now for this week’s links:

Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson have wrecked something precious

Will he go? I’ve been saying this for the last year!

George Floyd’s killing and the ensuing protests, explained

Killer Mike Delivers Emotional Speech to Atlanta Protestors at Mayor’s Press Conference

America at the breaking point

James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution

Resist the Urge to Simplify the Story

There isn’t a simple story about looting

Government ready to open British markets to chlorinated chicken for US trade deal. Government led by Boris Johnson breaks it’s word again. At this point, I’m not even shocked and I’m going to have to become a vegetarian…

About nicdempsey

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