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In These Tweets is a weekly cultural dive into trending topics on Twitter. A collection of snapshot analyses on a variety of moments impacting our world. Sometimes serious, sometimes light, always substantive. We outchea, #InTheseTweets.
Journalist and lawyer, Josie Duffy Rice, spoke a candid truth in a recent tweet about how America has reached a point of chaos with regards to its system of policing. What we are witnessing in the fallout from the world’s uprisings against this period of police violence on unarmed Black citizens and the subsequent continuation of brutality as a response to said uprisings, is the result of a history of unaccountability. (White) America has deeply bought into the hero’s myth of the institution of American policing, largely because the villainism of American policing has not impacted them in ways it has impacted communities of color.
But now, in a moment of painfully transparent awareness, the veil is being lifted off the eyes of millions around the world. We are in a moment where the devastating enabling of police violence has broken the dam of outrage, leaving everyone to pointedly have to decide between being complicit/uncaring/championing the abuse or educating oneself about/railing forcefully against systems of violent policing.
This current history is making it real easy to know who is who.
Screenwriter Eric Haywood humorously and appropriately tweeted about the recent performative photo op of some prominent white Congressmembers. I have had that same energy for this “display of solidarity” ever since this photo ran across my social media.
And then I learned that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were the people who supplied Chuck, Nancy and the “Sounds of not-Blackness” with their Kente cloths, and I was both disappointed and absolutely not surprised. Those white Congressmembers rocked that cloth like graduation stoles as if they just got honorary degrees in wokeness, and the problem is any measure of action and/or legislation could have been done without them posing like they were trying to be the diversity stock images on an HBCU brochure.
In short, Black people, we have a moment to really hold whiteness accountable for the systematic damage caused by its social construct, so we can really hold off on the “cookout invitations” and just let white folks get to work undoing white supremacy. These are the nation’s leaders. They have the ability to generate policy to reverse out outcomes. They do not need Ghanaian garb to do so. Trust me.
In a recent poll published by NPR, and in a partisan surprise to no one, 59% of registered Republicans have deemed the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd as “unlawful”, while 87% of Democrat voters and 65% of independents consider the protests “legitimate.” And of course, these numbers make absolute sense.
A vast majority of Republican voters regularly parrot the talking points of Donald Trump and outlets such as Fox News. The mouthpieces of their party have consistently demonized this period of civil unrest since the first chant was yelled, and if they (the followers) are not actively looking to counterbalance where they are getting their information from, inevitably it will impact their personal beliefs about what the protests are about.
I am more concerned about what it means for Democrats and independents to largely consider the protests legitimate and how they might respond to these times in a real transformative way. It is cool to recognize the civil liberties of your fellow citizens as legit, but what will you do to fight on behalf of marginalized populations to reverse these kinds of incidents? We are honestly well beyond the point of softball advocacy in this country and have to rotate in the direction of radical disruption to see some substantive changes.
Shout out to the folks who are doing the work of challenging the power dynamic in ways like never before. You will allow George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna’s words to be true when she said her father’s death “changed the world.”
South Carolina resident Johniqua Charles, who became internet famous after a video of her being detained went viral on account of her taunting the security officer who apprehended her, is now experiencing a new lease on life according to a recent Buzzfeed article.
Charles, who was battling a drug addiction months before her viral moment, has received unexpected fame from the clip of her song and dance warning the officer about losing his job for unlawfully apprehending her, according to the article. The video has been remixed by several DJs and Charles is “overwhelmed” that the video is “something so positive.”
Expose a questionable arrest attempt and become a viral sensation in the process? Yes Ms. Charles, you are winning!
If there is anyone who embodies the phrase “Mother of the Movement,” its Sybrina Fulton, mother of the late Trayvon Martin. For the past eight years since her son’s murder ignited the Black Lives Matter Movement, Ms. Fulton has been advocating for parents of Black children who have been killed at the hands of racist vigilantes and police. She is now taking her community advocacy a step forward in announcing her qualification to run for the Miami Dade County Commissioner in District 1. Much like Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis who mobilized the tragedy of her son’s racially motivated murder into a seat in Congress, Fulton is looking to turn a new chapter in her fight for communal change.
Best wishes in your political endeavors, Mama Sybrina. Trayvon would be proud.