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Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:18 PM

 

Opinion: Portland's protests were supposed to be about black lives. Now, they're white spectacle"

Portlandís protests were supposed to be about black lives. Now, theyíre white spectacle.

Early in his activism, Malcolm X was asked by a young white woman what she could do to help the cause of civil rights. He famously replied, ďNothing.Ē Years later, he regretted dismissing her so abruptly, because he came to believe there was much she could do to advance the cause of justice for black people in the United States. But I am quite certain that striking yoga poses nude on the streets of Portland, Ore., was not on his list of actionable items.

Images of ďNaked Athena,Ē as the protester has been labeled, have gone viral, her unclothed confrontation with police earning her accolades as a brave ally of the cause. But I see something else: a beneficiary of white privilege dancing vainly on a stage that was originally created to raise up the voices of my oppressed brothers and sisters. In this, she is not alone. As the demonstrations continue every night in Portland, many people with their own agendas are co-opting, and distracting attention from, what should be our central concern: the Black Lives Matter movement.
...
Unfortunately, ďspectacleĒ is now the best way to describe Portlandís protests. Vandalizing government buildings and hurling projectiles at law enforcement draw attention ó but how do these actions stop police from killing black people? What are antifa and other leftist agitators achieving for the cause of black equality? The ďWall of Moms,Ē while perhaps well-intentioned, ends up redirecting attention away from the urgent issue of murdered black bodies. This might ease the consciences of white, affluent women who have previously been silent in the face of black oppression, but itís fair to ask: Are they really furthering the cause of justice, or is this another example of white co-optation?
...
We cannot fall for their deception. We cannot settle for spectacles that endanger us all. This is a moment for serious action ó to once again take up the mantle of the civil rights era by summoning the same conviction and determination our forebears did. We welcome our white brothers and sisters in this struggle. In fact, we need them. But I must ask them to remain humbly attuned to the opportunity of this moment ó and to reflect on whether any actions they take will truly help establish justice, or whether they are simply for show.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/23/portlands-protests-were-supposed-be-about-black-lives-now-theyre-white-spectacle/#click=https://t.co/Aeytu4K48v

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Reply Opinion: Portland's protests were supposed to be about black lives. Now, they're white spectacle" (Original post)
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 OP
Hassler Jul 2020 #1
Sneederbunk Jul 2020 #2
Hoyt Jul 2020 #3
chia Jul 2020 #38
msongs Jul 2020 #4
tinrobot Jul 2020 #5
agingdem Jul 2020 #6
yuiyoshida Jul 2020 #18
DallasNE Jul 2020 #27
frazzled Jul 2020 #30
chia Jul 2020 #36
frazzled Jul 2020 #39
misanthrope Jul 2020 #53
marybourg Jul 2020 #7
Blue_true Jul 2020 #11
chia Jul 2020 #37
Blue_true Jul 2020 #46
chia Jul 2020 #47
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #50
Blue_true Jul 2020 #51
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #52
stopdiggin Jul 2020 #8
agingdem Jul 2020 #15
Blue_true Jul 2020 #9
Thekaspervote Jul 2020 #13
herding cats Jul 2020 #10
Thekaspervote Jul 2020 #14
morillon Jul 2020 #19
Demsrule86 Jul 2020 #25
quakerboy Jul 2020 #21
betsuni Jul 2020 #22
LeftInTX Jul 2020 #26
ZZenith Jul 2020 #12
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #45
ZZenith Jul 2020 #49
Hekate Jul 2020 #16
Gore1FL Jul 2020 #17
flibbitygiblets Jul 2020 #20
betsuni Jul 2020 #23
maxsolomon Jul 2020 #42
LeftInTX Jul 2020 #24
Tommy_Carcetti Jul 2020 #28
maxrandb Jul 2020 #29
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #31
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #35
Yeehah Jul 2020 #32
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #34
Yeehah Jul 2020 #40
StarfishSaver Jul 2020 #41
Yeehah Jul 2020 #43
tonedevil Jul 2020 #44
gollygee Jul 2020 #33
Grasswire2 Jul 2020 #48

Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:29 PM

1. I'm sympathetic, but what is the proper response to Erik Prince's

Goonsquad invading your city? Sure there was Naked Athena, but there are also mom's and retired vets getting beaten and gassed in their opposition to the occupation.

They didn't change the subject, Chump did when he sent them in.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:30 PM

2. You are asking for the coordination of a mob. Good luck.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:32 PM

3. An opinion worth consideration. It does appear to be a different protest from BLM,

 

which I support completely.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 10:53 AM

38. Just read a thread about an injured medic in PDX - he says the protest on the ground is still BLM:

4) Find Black-led orgs and businesses in your area and support them however you can. The big media narrative at the moment has been about the federal occupation, but on the ground for us this fight has always and continues to be a fight for Black Lives.
I'm gonna be out of commission for a couple days probably, but I'm gonna be back out as soon as I can. I'm so fucking proud of this city I could weep. Stay together stay tight, we'll do this every night. Black Lives Matter.


It's a great and informative first-hand account, posted by oregonjen here and I highly recommend you read the entire FB message at the link in the OP:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/100213813527

https://www.facebook.com/natescohen/posts/10157473208325976

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:37 PM

4. gee maybe there is more than one thing at a time that is protest worthy nt

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:43 PM

5. It's no longer just about BLM. It is about our Constitutional rights.

Our right to speak, to assemble, to protest.

Things changed when the goon squad came to town.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:51 PM

6. the optics speaks for themselves...

mothers and fathers protecting their children...

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 01:47 AM

18. This...Trump pretends to be a Tin Pot Dictator

sending his goon squad to various cities to STIR SHIT UP... that's basically what he is doing, He is counting on FEAR
to be a motivation to vote for him...


" oooooooooooooh DONNY PLEASE ONLY YOU CAN SAVE US...We're so scared, we need a strong leader ... "



...asshole. fuck him.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:39 AM

27. There Is No Question But What The Goon Squads Changed Everything

The disease has spread to all police departments. Some of the meager gains won in the May protests seem to have been given back. We have a different opponent using hardball tactics at the drop of a hat. Enter Naked Athena. For one day she stopped the goons in their tracks. Obviously, that is a one trick pony - but don't knock it. But one thing I do strongly agree with. The movement has been knocked off of their message and that has to get refocused. Mom's has grown out of necessity but they have not been strong advocates for putting out the BLM message so that needs to be corrected. But those are powerful images of women being snagged by police. The image of the police dragging away a terrified white woman desperately reaching back to grab onto anything to keep her from meeting her certain fate is an extremely powerful message. BLM needs to be sympathetic before pointing out how that is a nearly everyday occurrence in the black community - perhaps with some of the rough ways cops treat black women routinely. We're all in this together so quibbling about who gets the credit is a sure way to sour the common bond that has emerged.

Saturday night in Omaha a mostly while group of 118 protesters gathered by the WW I memorial at Turner Park & Farnam. The theme was BLM issues, including justice for a young unarmed black man that was gunned down in cold blood by a known racist white bar owner in Omaha. Unknown to this group an armada of 20 police vehicles were waiting in a Mutual of Omaha parking lot and when the protesters moved out and headed east on Farnam St. the police headed out too. When the protesters proceeded across a bridge over the Interstate highway below, which was 3 blocks from where they assembled, the police moved in on both ends of the bridge, trapping the protesters on the bridge. The police immediately tackled the protest leader, shot him with pepper pellets of some kind, from short range and body-slammed him on the concrete, causing a bloody nose. All 118 were booked and because the police computers suddenly failed it took about 7 hours before they could be released. Everybody knows what this is all about. Trump paved the way for excessive use of force and the protest group has called for the defunding of the police. So time for the pokice to let them know who is calling the shots. Yes, we are essentially back to square one and that is just how Trump wants it. So time to get all factions working from the same playbook. This is too important to allow some quibbling over credit to sidetrack the effort. Naked Athena opened the door for Moms. Let's be thankful for that.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 08:09 AM

30. And that is precisely the problem

Youíve said it yourself. Itís no longer about Black lives mattering. Itís no longer about disparities in policing (we white kids wanna get abused by the police too!) and the justice system (these protesters will not get life sentences or the breath squeezed out of them for no reason). Itís not about race-based inequalities in health care, jobs, schools. Itís not about the legacy of four-hundred years of slavery, Jim Crow, and systemic racism.

Itís not about racism at all, really. Itís been co-opted. And that is why the promise of the Black Lives Matter movement, so shining for a moment in Black-led, white solidarity power, is being lost, and why racism in this country will persist.

Continual street protests and violence are theater. The movement must be taken into the institutions themselves now, with the hard, unglamorous, behind-the-scenes work with school boards and prison boards, state legislatures and city halls, Congressional offices and workplaces.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #30)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 10:22 AM

36. Why not both, in parallel, not in opposition?

Why can't the BLM movement be taken into the institutions at the same time people of all colors protest the police state and unconstitutional fed troop presence? There are many people protesting about many things every day. They don't have to work in unison, but they can at least work parallel, rather than at cross purposes.

I also think this is going to be different based on the protest histories unique to different cities. Portland is not St. Louis is not Los Angeles.

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Response to chia (Reply #36)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 10:54 AM

39. Because ...

these ancillary protests are sucking all the air out of the room, diverting attention as they attract attention. The fact that they are there with tactics intended to induce police and fed reaction (you know that is true) means they are simply fighting the thing they wished for.

It's called Eyes on the Prize.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #39)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 08:06 PM

53. Well said

I was afraid this would happen at some point. I also fear that it's being driven, in part by extreme-right agitators full aware of the dynamic and focal shift in play.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:58 PM

7. I notice the right wing doesn't find

it necessary to second guess everything they do.

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Response to marybourg (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:05 AM

11. Whites in America outnumber Blacks like 5-6 to 1.

We simply need fair minded Whites helping us. Since their raw numbers are larger, they will tend to be a large part of protests they join.

I donít feel that Black people can expect to exclude participation of Whites in the discussion and conflict about where we move to as a society. Such an exclusion simply wonít work out in the end and will only harm us, IMO.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 10:42 AM

37. As a white person, I'm afraid to make mistakes in how best to be of assistance

Last edited Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:56 PM - Edit history (1)

to people of color, and will end up insulting or diminishing the message of the very people for whom I want to be an ally. I've been trying to listen and pay attention to your voices, and it's been a sobering lesson for me to hear your important messages framed in ways I truly hadn't considered because they're about life experiences I haven't encountered. I do believe your white allies have it in our hearts to help but can be clumsy or thoughtless in the way we go about it. I'm trying to learn how not to do that, but can understand, as I've heard it said by more than one Black voice, that it's not up to Black people to explain it to us, some of them are tired of trying to explain it to us, white people need to get busy doing our own work of understanding.

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Response to chia (Reply #37)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 05:15 PM

46. You are doing the right thing by listening and quietly paying attention.

I disagree with other Black people that say it is not our jobs to explain things to White people. If a White person is seriously working to understand our experience better, it helps us to explain the intricate aspects of our experience to that person, why we may see a sales person saying ďmay I help youĒ in a vastly different light than a White person would, or why we get nervous in the presence of a White police officer, even when we are innocently going about our normal business. Explaining and having the White person absorb that explanation, ask more questions and go off and do more self study, is valuable in the fight against systemic racism, IMO.

I honestly donít like seeing White people act like their Black associates or friends, it simply comes off as contrived. My life experiences are vastly different from those of a White person, even a White person that had similar and has similar economic circumstance as me. What I prefer to see is a White person make a true effort to understand why I donít see rather common events in society the same way they do. They donít have to fully agree with my responses and prescriptions, but it is nice when they come up with workable approaches to problems that I and them can use to solve those problems in a way that is fair and Just to everyone.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #46)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 05:34 PM

47. Thank you! So much valuable information here to ponder,

I appreciate it more than I can say. ❤️ Iíll be watching for other posts of yours from now on.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #46)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 06:48 PM

50. You're right that it helps for us to explain things to white people

 

The problem is when we have to try to explain it over and over and over - and when white people tell us we don't know what we're talking about. Even worse is when white people blame US for not explaining it well enough and insist that we need to explain it differently so that other white people better understand - while they themselves are doing nothing to try to talk to other white people about the issue.

If it IS our job to explain things to white people, it's EVERYBODY's job. And white folk need to stop telling us it's our responsibility and then either of oring what we're saying and/or blaming us for not explaining it to their satisfaction.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #50)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 07:02 PM

51. You make a good point. But if you read my post again, it was explain with the expectation

that the person explained will act in a positive way, that includes explaining realities to relatives and friends.

Change isnít easy. Often there are setbacks, but those that prevail in the end get up from the setbacks and start over if that is what it takes.

White people, even ones that had the exact same economic circumstances as a Black person, simply are culturally different, they had no reason to harbor the same fears as us about police actions or being treated with respect by teachers, sales people, bosses, etc. I believe that as Black people, we should take that into account, not to give them an out, but to talk to them in a way that is more effective in recruiting them as earnest allies against social injustice.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #51)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 08:02 PM

52. I read your and agree with your point. My post wasn't intended to counter you

 

But I was restating my belief that many of these conversations need to be had among white people.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:58 PM

8. appreciate the point, but

isn't a fairly significant part of all protest "spectacle?" The signs, the gear .. the costuming? Planned arrest? Let's face it .. if the TV crew doesn't show up, it's considered kind of a bust. So ...

Like I said, I do understand what the article is saying .. but I'm not sure how you get from here, to there.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:51 AM

15. When the BLM

took to the streets in protest we stopped playing nice...Portland Seattle Chicago Austin...the intent is still BLM but it's morphed into something more powerful...we've had it with racist hate ethnic hate gender hate...we've had it with nazis as "very nice people"...we've had it with nearly 150,000 lost lives because of Trump's callous disregard for human life ..we've had it with babies in cages ... we want Trump out....the "spectacle" is mothers and fathers protecting their most precious possession..their children and the goons intent on causing them harm..we want our country back but better...that's what's happening and it's about damn time

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2020, 11:58 PM

9. Black people are not going to get far against the system without White allies.

Whatever the methods of the Whites, as long as their hearts are pure and full of desire for justice and equality, as a Black person, I welcome them.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:16 AM

13. +1000

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:01 AM

10. The last paragraph is the clincher of the article.

I am not suggesting retreat. Instead, I am proposing that we take the cause of Black Lives Matter into those places where tear gas and rubber bullets and federal agents cannot find us, and where there is less risk of spectacle distracting from our true aims. In boardrooms, in schools, in city councils, in the halls of justice, in the smoky backrooms of a duplicitous government ó that is where we will finally dismantle the gears of the brutal, racist machine that has been terrorizing black Americans and hollowing out the moral character of this nation since its inception.


Which I have been seeing happening, but I definitely agree these are the venues where true change is made. At least the systemic type which actually takes root and lasts.

Great opinion piece.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:19 AM

14. Bravo herdingcats!! This is what civil rights icons would say to do...and did!

Protests heighten awareness, but isnít the end all. We then have to move it into the functioning local government bodies and beyond

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Response to herding cats (Reply #10)


Response to morillon (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:20 AM

25. There has been nothing of the kind... A BLM protest was met with bullets and

tear gas...and George Floyd's death crosses all racial lines...It is good to have a diverse protest. We join hands and demand justice and if we are met with bullets, tear gas and batons, we fight back.

And consider that when King and all the other great civil rights leader marched, there were white allies. marching with them. I know this first hand as my parents marched on Washington. It was before I made my appearance but I have seen the pictures and my old brothers and sisters have told me.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:06 AM

21. The last paragraph misses one key thing

If the people stop showing in the streets, the people in the boardrooms, schools, city councils, and back rooms will rapidly go back to doing what they have always done. Finding handy excuses to do nothing, change nothing, help nothing.

Neither side of this will work without the other. If the meetings arent happening, the streets wont get any change. If the streets dont happen, the meetings wont accomplish anything.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:15 AM

22. +1

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Response to herding cats (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:27 AM

26. Yep!

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:11 AM

12. I'll make sure to run all my future protest ideas by E.D. Mondain first.

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Response to ZZenith (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 05:09 PM

45. What a ridiculous comment

 



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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #45)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 06:21 PM

49. What a ridiculous editorial.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 01:01 AM

16. The entire country has fallen into the hands of a fascist cabal directed by a foreign enemy...

And somehow we are expected to not notice that, or act against it, because those actions will ďdistractĒ from BLM.

Seriously, can we not hold more than one thought at a time.

Ooookay.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 01:18 AM

17. I submit that it is still about BLM.

It has just expanded to include an even more encompassing fight for justice due to the way Trump decided to escalate it.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 01:59 AM

20. Portland's Wall of Moms turned over leadership of their group to Black and Indigenous women

"all White group admins have relinquished their roles", now their "leadership is entirely composed of Black and Indigenous women from most-impacted communities". Press release including group's vision (worth a read): https://thewallofmoms.com/

To be a member, all non-POCs also agree not to lead chants or speak to press (they refer to local Black-led movements and/or BLM leaders). We cool now?

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:17 AM

23. About naked yoga woman, I couldn't help think: that's such an art major thing to do.

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

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Response to betsuni (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 01:14 PM

42. shes a POC and a Sex Worker.

that might have more to do with it than a BFA.

signed,
BFA 1986

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:18 AM

24. I agree

These are the same people who protested against Milo Yiannopoulos speaking at Berkeley, only on a larger scale and at federal buildings that have attracted Trump and his robocops. Yes, there are good people protesting, but to me it's more or less the same type of thing as Milo Yiannopoulos. It seems to me, it's a daily power struggle between the Trump's robocops and the protesters. I feel the protesters want the robocops to leave the courthouse, just like they wanted Milo not to speak at Berkeley. To me, it just feels like a power struggle and neither side is going to give.

I was very disappointed that the judge did not grant the feds a RO, so we are stuck with power struggles, fireworks, teargas etc.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 07:40 AM

28. I don't necessarily disagree.

While Iím horrified by the militarized response and authoritarian undertones to the Portland protests, the Portland protests have become less about the BLM movement and more about themselves.

Thatís not to excuse any of what has happened as a response. Itís a nightmare and demonstrates Trumpís desire to be seen as a Putin-like strongman.

But the original objective of the protests has more or less wore away, and now itís almost become something of a showcase vehicle protesting how protests are being handled.

Definitely not wrong. But definitely different from where weíve started.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 07:52 AM

29. The writer seems to not get that

Retrumplicans are not just a threat to minorities.

The entire Retrumplican Party needs to be taken down and discarded to the landfill of history.

This is an all hands on deck moment.

Want a more just America? Then the Retrumplican Party needs to be defeated.

I think it's great that the Black Lives Matter movement has morphed into the Democracy and Justice for All Matter movement in Portland.

Those two things are as conjoined as food and water for man's survival.

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Response to maxrandb (Reply #29)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 08:32 AM

31. The author's concern is that "morphing" is really "subsuming"

 

When black movements "morph" into larger movements, our issues usually get co-opted and sidelined.

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Response to maxrandb (Reply #29)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 09:57 AM

35. The writer "gets" plenty and doesn't need to whitesplained to

 

It would be nice if you considered what they have to say rather than just assume they don't "get" things as well as you do.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 08:36 AM

32. Maybe the white folks should just go home

to make this writer happy.

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #32)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 09:55 AM

34. Not a helpful or thoughtful response

 

It's not even original. You're not the first person to use that old beat up "You're not sufficiently grateful to white people for taking up your cause, so maybe we'll just walk away and forget the whole thing" threat rather than actually consider what we have to say, even if it makes you uncomfortable.



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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #34)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 10:58 AM

40. People of all races and backgrounds are fighting the power TOGETHER

What is truly not helpful is people trying to divide that unity.

Have a great day!

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #40)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 12:48 PM

41. Yet it seems that only white people threaten to stop "fighting the power" when black people aren't

 

nice enough to them and then accuse US of "dividing that unity" whenever we don't behave just as they think we should.

I wonder why that is?


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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #41)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 01:46 PM

43. Who threatened to stop fighting?

I need names.

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #43)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 02:15 PM

44. You should look at the author of post #32

 

their knee jerk reaction is to say white people should go home. To me that is someone threatening to stop fighting. It also seems to be based on black people not being polite enough to white people.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 08:44 AM

33. These are good questions and worth some thought! nt

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Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2020, 06:07 PM

48. I, native Portlander, am watching the live feed into the wee hours every night.

It is a scene of two protests.

9-11 p.m., wonderful unity in BLM support from thousands of white folk and PoC. Veterans, moms, dads, church groups, come together in support of racial justice.

11 p.m. when the goons bring out the gas, all hell breaks loose. The large portion of the crowd goes home just before that. And the medium-core protesters mix with regular citizens protecting each other, kicking back the gas canisters, shielding others, maintaining a presence on public property.

This goes on until the wee hours.

It is not legit to say that BLM is set aside. That's not so.

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