This article is split in two. Months ago, we opined that the frustrations of Covid-19 would cause many kinds of disruptions and violence. This article is about the Black Lives Matter movement. The second article notes that many emotional upheavals are occurring all over the world—for many different reasons—so we should not be surprised that we have a protest movement of our own. And because of the heightened emotion, we are even seeing guns on both sides of protests—in America. That’s new.
GUNS IN THE STREETS
Rightwing civilians are running around, pointing guns that are a lot more dangerous and powerful than the police have. Two protestors dead. On the other side, for the first time, however, leftists are also noticeably carrying guns, and a rightwing militiaman is dead (the leftist shooter claimed the militiaman was aiming at his partner, and considered it self-defense). The shooter is now dead, too, in a scuffle with police. We have never had guns on the streets in spontaneous uprisings, like this. Never.
And it’s all “artificial”—meaning, “man-made.” We predicted that the initial violence we saw in early spring was only the beginning of the dangers of human passion, bottled up by Covid-19.
WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER?
It would be easy to say that our problems are unique. Without much else to do, many of us have begun to look at our society, examining flaws and weaknesses, and want to begin again, with a new outlook and direction. We have come to recognize the plight of African-Americans, especially as they interact with our society and institutions. There’s no question that it’s hard to be Black in America. Since I work with Black people every day, I see it. My business partner has to sit down her sons and tell them how to be subservient and docile when approached by any white authority figure. More white people are realizing that, too. Unfortunately, since there are eight times as many white people as Black people, it’s natural that the response of “Black Lives Matter” has been largely by white people. And that makes the movement seem suspect.
In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was primarily advanced by Black leaders, such as Martin Luther King. At his protests and rallies were primarily Black faces. Yes, there were white supporters, and even advisers. And there were “Freedom Riders,” that is, white people, mostly students, who bussed down south to protest for voting rights. But on the whole, the movement was mostly Black-led, and focused on peaceful protest, with India’s Mahatma Gandhi as their model—of non-violence. It was the State, and white supremacists who brought the violence and death in the 1950s and 1960s.
The goal was to go up against the White-controlled power structure, directly. Many Black people were beaten by clubs, shot with guns, tear-gassed, and blown away with fire hoses. But it was mostly Black individuals against the White State.
SPEAKING TO THE WHITE COMMUNITY
What we’re seeing now is different. Black Lives Matter is an effort to sensitize white citizens to the position of the Black person—primarily, the Black man—in our society. It is hoped that the white majority would then make changes. And we have seen a surprising change. Who would have imagined that monuments to Confederate leaders—who fought against the United States—would come down? It has moved much more swiftly than anyone expected.
Likewise, Black sports figures are mostly standing up for BLM. Up to now, Colin Kaepernick was the only face of the movement, and he lost his career and livelihood because of it. Now, sports stars from many sports are standing up—or kneeling—or refusing to come out of the dressing room. It really is a “movement,” now.
And while the protests were primarily peaceful, the public as-a-whole agreed that it was time for change, and for the first time, a majority recognized the Black Man’s plight.
The essence of Black Lives Matter is still primarily peaceful. It is outside groups—far right, far left, anarchists; but also simply troublemakers, rioters, and looters, who are in it for their own fun and benefit—and are sullying the movement.
Unfortunately, largely because of the frustrations brought about by Covid-19, a lot of people hit the streets with different agendas. Some just wanted to get out of the house and feel like they were doing something. Looters saw the opportunity to blend in with the legitimate protestors to get a free TV through the window of a local store. These people were not there for the protest. They were there for their own selfish opportunism. Yet, many of us see them as part of the movement.
Still, others have wanted to blow off their Covid frustration by fighting or breaking things. They, too, didn’t belong there. Worst of all, far-right and far-left extremists have blended in to cause trouble—many, intentionally to discredit the original, peaceful concept. And now, we have open warfare on our streets. Guns on the streets. Hatred.
And, of course, the public can’t be expected to see the difference between these many different groups, if they’re in the same place at the same time, so public support is waning some.
Our own protests spread around the world. Business Insider offers a comprehensive, and even-handed, report on how the protests have spread across our nation—noting curfews in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Franciso, Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Eugene, Portland Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Columbia, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Washington, DC.
A map shows how extensive BLM protests became across the country.
Ironically, the uniquely American race problem was recognized around the world.
“Protests have taken place in over 60 countries and on every continent except Antarctica.” That includes Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Guemsey, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Norway, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Andorra, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Canada, Mexico, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and Ecuador.
Many of these protests were directed to American embassies, specifically protesting racism in the United States, but in other cases, racism within their own countries was protested. It is an extremely widespread and deep movement. Americans usually think that things like this are not important, and will quickly blow over. That does not seem to be the case, this time.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
But Black Lives Matter is not the only movement demanding action around the world. We are not alone in our troubles. Covid frustration is breaking out all over. That leads us to Part 2—international protests about a variety of issues.