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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.
The father of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, gave a recent update on the condition of his son. According to the Chicago Sun-Times Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., told the outlet that his son is paralyzed from the waist down and has eight holes in his body after undergoing surgery.
Blake’s shooting has sparked outrage and protests in the Kenosha community, as his shooting was reportedly the result of avoiding police after he broke up an altercation between two women in his neighborhood. Blake’s young children were eyewitnesses to their father being fired upon by Kenosha police, traumatization that cannot be recognized enough.
I am currently grappling with whatever gratitude I have for Jacob Blake still being alive and disgusted that he will live the rest of his life in paralysis at the hands of the state. Police are still shooting Black folks in the back who attempt to evade them as if there is no other recourse.
And on the white side of police interactions with U.S. citizens, police in Portland were on chill as armed members of far-right militias and the Proud Boys brandished weapons against antifa protesters during a “Back the Blue” rally on August 22. Our Revolution, a grassroots organization working to elect progressives into power, shared a Washington Post article about the incident in the following tweet:
“Police used tear gas and rubber bullets for PEACEFUL protesters- what is preventing the police from stopping VIOLENT demonstrators? #DefundPolice #CriminalJustice Reform.”
I’m sure Our Revolution’s question was intentionally rhetorical, but the short answer is, of course: American whiteness. White male violence is at the foundation of what this country materialized as, no matter what narrative is spun to demonize people of color for being victims of or the sole perpetrators of American violence.
When police stand by and watch white masculinity brawl and draw weapons against each other, many officers are watching people who could be their uncles, cousins and fathers engage in “family disputes”. But no matter the position either side takes, the hesitance of the police to do anything about the violence is familial whiteness at work.
I am just over a month from relocating from south Louisiana, but not soon enough to avoid what is shaping out to be a Category 3 hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast. According to AccuWeather, Hurricane Laura is forming in the Gulf and is anticipated to pick up strength prior to making landfall. For residents of the bayou, a pending storm of this magnitude on the 15 year anniversary week of Hurricane Katrina is cause for great anxiety.
Hurricanes and historic floods do far more than simply disrupt the geography for communities of color/poor communities along the Gulf Coast. They exacerbate socioeconomic inequities and make those who are living difficult lives that much harder.
I personally know Black New Orleanians who were natives to the city that still have not been able to return 15 years post-Katrina, and not by choice. Between gentrification, redlining and “cultural rinsing” of the city, the social dynamics of a city like New Orleans can complete any damage left in the wake of a storm.
I hope history is not in the mood to repeat itself.
“I don’t have a strong enough side eye,” Sellers tweeted in response to SportsCenter’s tweet.
SportsCenter reported a quote from Goodell saying he wished the league had listened earlier to what Kaepernick was trying to bring to their attention when he began his silent protest against police brutality four years ago.
We have witnessed several leaders from various sectors of American life sit on the wrong side of history over the past few years. It is not that any of them did not have access to a wide spectrum of public opinion, it’s that they chose not to take into account the voices of disenfranchised people. And when highly visible public figures have attempted to shine a light on injustice, their efforts have been met with ostracization from the powers-that-be who were not interested in their messaging.
It really should not take so much systemic injustice and race-based dehumanization for white folks to get the memo, but epiphanies always present themselves when financial bottom lines are affected.
Co-sign the side eye Bakari, co-sign.