Black Lives Matter
A Message from the Throwdown Thursday Podcast
We at Throwdown Thursday are disgusted and deeply saddened by the continuing actions of police against Black citizens. We are also appalled and confounded by the system that allows these injustices to continue, and in large part, go unpunished. So many times after murdering a Black man, woman, or child the offending officer is placed on “administrative leave”, essentially time off with pay. Very rarely are any charges brought against them, and even less often is there a conviction. Occasionally you will hear about an officer being fired, but what you don’t hear about is how they are frequently hired again by other precincts, usually in smaller towns or relatively far away from the people who would recognize them.
This has to stop.
Police are given military ordnance and vehicles and are led to believe that they themselves are above the law and have seen that they can operate with impunity. The union is against mental health checks, officers with repeated complaints filed against them are allowed to continue patrolling the neighborhoods in which they’ve committed numerous violations against the citizens until they do something so egregious that it attracts national attention. Even then, it takes a frustratingly long time for any action to be taken against the officer. In the case of the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, those who peacefully protested were fired upon with tear gas and rubber bullets while Chauvin had a hundred officers standing guard outside his home. I’m getting angry just writing this, but I need to get this out because my blood pressure can’t take it.
How the fuck do people protesting deserve this type of retaliation? Nobody batted a fucking eye when the heavily armed, WHITE protestors stormed various Capitol buildings around the country. That was perfectly fine, it’s okay to bring a fucking AK-47 or AR-15 into a government building and scream at law enforcement and the state lawmakers while you carry Nazi flags, effigies of the governors who dared attempt to put public safety at the forefront during a pandemic by closing Applebee’s and now you can’t cram a goddam Bloomin’ Onion down your gullet. It’s totally okay to arm yourself with a fucking ROCKET LAUNCHER and protest the fact that you can’t get a haircut or unlimited breadsticks. Nothing to see here, move along. No retaliation, no tear gas, no pepper spray. You didn’t see police ramming their vehicles into protestors there.
Protesting against systematic, centuries-old injustice borne on the backs of racism? Well, you better be prepared for the consequences of peacefully marching and carrying signs! Fun fact: in Kentucky’s Capitol building, you can legally carry a firearm, but you can’t bring in a protest sign because it might be used as a weapon. Let that sink in for a second. Come on in, but your protest sign, your umbrella? Sorry, you might hurt someone with that. Oh, you have an assault rifle? Come on in, it’s your right as a meat-eating, freedom-loving patriot!
Know what else people have been decrying a whole lot lately? Rioting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the destruction of property. But try to focus less on the actual rioting, and what led to the rioting in the first place. Human life was taken by those meant to protect people. If you want to assign that sentence to George Floyd, you are welcome to do so, but sadly it aligns with a lot of other folks as well, like Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and on and on and on. That’s what this is about, this is the reason Colin Kaepernick knelt in protest – he wasn’t against the anthem or the military. He was making the point that the flag represents a country where innocent Black folks are killed by police and that police are not held accountable. If all you do is focus on the rioting and looting, you’re missing the bigger picture – HUMAN LIVES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROPERTY!
What I’m saying is that it seems that there’s a lot of hand-wringing and fake outrage coming from a lot of people in the media and online. I don’t recall people getting this upset about the Penn State riots when Joe Paterno was fired for hiding literally DECADES of pedophilia perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky from the public. Where was Fox News then? I don’t recall anyone referring to those rioters as thugs and I certainly don’t recall the President calling for them to be shot. Why is it different now? What’s the one common factor all of these things have in common?
Oh yeah. Black versus white. White people protesting with guns are taken seriously. Remember when the militia members stormed the federal building in Oregon and were there for over a week? It’s okay if you don’t because there has been one shitstorm after another almost every day since November 2016. But they were all white. Nobody shot at them, they were allowed to run roughshod over law enforcement and make demands. White supremacists with all their Confederate and Nazi props chanting “Jews will not replace us” are called “very fine people”. Black people who protest because they are tired of seeing their children, their mothers and fathers, their brothers and sisters killed for the crime of having dark skin by the very people who are supposed to “Serve and Protect” them – you know they very thing engraved into badges and written on the side of their vehicles, part of the fucking oath they took – they’re “thugs”.
I am not Black. I do not know what it’s like to fear for my life when I see flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. I don’t know what it’s like to have people cross the street because I’m walking towards them. I don’t know what it’s like to have the police called on me because I’m walking down the street with my hood up. I don’t know what it’s like to have to explain to a child that they can’t play with toy guns. I haven’t been told that I “fit the description” of someone who committed a crime because they were wearing a jacket, and I am also wearing a jacket. I’ve never been handcuffed for no reason because the cop suspected something was up because of the color of my skin. I do not understand, nor do I pretend to because I haven’t endured it.
One thing I really cannot understand is the level of hatred for someone who has never wronged me, someone I’ve never even met, someone who I want to violently attack for no reason other than that person has darker skin than I do. I cannot wrap my head around that mindset. Even people who wrong me, insult me, physically challenge me I don’t harbor that kind of anger or hatred or need for violence. To hate someone for the color of their skin is something that I simply cannot fathom, and I certainly cannot understand why you would poison a child’s mind with that way of thinking.
So don’t tell me “all lives matter” and that Black Lives Matter is a divisive movement. The fact that people need to be told that Black Lives Matter is the fucking problem. Don’t tell me “I don’t see color” because that’s bullshit. That means you’re ignoring someone’s heritage, customs, traditions, and history. Don’t ask “Why can’t these people just protest peacefully? We’d listen if they did that” because that’s not true either. Colin Kaepernick protested peacefully. The folks in Minneapolis protested peacefully and were fired upon. Violence is the last resort of the unheard. If a dog was growling at you because you were doing something to agitate him, you wouldn’t then go pull his tail and not expect to be bitten. I am not comparing Black people to dogs, I’m just using the analogy to illustrate the point that when backed into a corner with no other option, living beings will lash out violently in order to protect themselves and stay alive.
I also don’t want to hear anyone complain about the big stores that are getting vandalized. Target and Home Depot and places like that in areas where the riots are happening have shuttered their doors and added extra security. I know what you’re thinking: “Well that makes sense, considering the situation.” They didn’t shutter their doors or close for a single day during this pandemic, so it sends the message that they care more about their merchandise than their people.
And another thing, while I’m at it. If you think Antifa (literally, Anti-Fascists) are a problem, fuck right off. Fascism is a problem, Fascists are a problem. I seem to remember a group of Antifa folks in 1944 that were embraced, not labeled as terrorists. If you are anti-anti-fascism, you are pro-fascism. It’s the same way that folks are trying to get the Black Lives Matter movement labeled as a terrorist organization. But what else would you expect from a president and administration that refuses to condemn White Supremacists and refers to Nazis as “very fine people” and suggests negotiating with armed protestors but would unleash dogs and “ominous weapons” upon people who are peacefully protesting, however loud they might be. Again, if you continue to silence people who are trying to make their voices heard, if their pleas fall upon your willfully ignorant ears, they will resort to other means to get your attention.
Fuck, I wish that the “president” would show half the emotion and outrage on the issue of police brutality and murder that he feels for being fact-checked by Twitter. I wish he would put a tenth of the energy he has for the sexual attraction he has to his daughter into the job he was “elected” to do. Again, he’s fine with negotiating with heavily-armed white people who demand to be able to down $1 margaritas at Chili’s and get their nails done, he’s okay with declaring war on the First Amendment when it allows people to question him, but when it’s Black people who don’t want to be randomly murdered by the very people who are put in place to safeguard the community and their tax dollars employ, he’s all for using whatever means are necessary to silence those voices.
With that being said, make sure you get out and vote in November. Vote in every election you can. I don’t care if it’s state, town, national – just get out there and vote because your voice needs to be heard. In many states, you can get an absentee ballot (I know that the “president” is trying to stop that from happening) and you don’t have to worry about going out and risking contracting COVID-19. Yes, that is still an issue, despite the lack of coverage due to extenuating circumstances, and there are lots more cases arising from these protests. But voting needs to happen – the system we have is broken and while wiping the slate clean and starting over would be a great option, it will not happen.
I will vote for anyone who stands for police reform, social justice, and an end to the oppression of my Black brothers and sisters. I will vote for those who are in favor of reforming the way police are trained, I will vote in favor of those who de-militarize the police force. I will vote for those who see that systemic racism and the unjust targeting of people of color is real, and needs to be stopped. I cannot sit idly by and watch, because that makes me complicit. I will make my voice heard, I will amplify the voices of those who have been ignored, silenced, or marginalized. I will not let this continue. I will do what I can to help stop the spread of hate.
If you are white, and you don’t know what you can do to help, reach out to your brothers and sisters. Ask them how you can be a better ally, a better friend. Ask how you can support them, how you can help make Black voices heard. Use the privilege and the shield that you have as a white person to give an advantage to someone who has been asking for help only to have the system fail them time and time again. Use your voice to amplify those who are being silenced. Stop warping Dr. King’s message to assuage your own guilt. Ask questions, start conversations. If you don’t know how to ask, just reach out and tell them you want to be a better ally, and they will tell you how you can help. Do something, anything that helps.
Stand the fuck up for your brothers and sisters.