America’s Greatness Has Always Been Measured by the Scale of White Violence

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 74)

As businesses burn and sirens embitter the night air, under the shadow of a president who was elected to office on a lie, and then a million of them, what could we expect from our nation following four years of his flipping off the system?

Several papers, including the New York Times and the L.A. Times have published headlines on broken windows, but on the “big five” social media networks, many have seen how the vast majority of looters are not Black people nor immigrants. For one, footage abounds of mask and hoodie-wearing white groups, so-called “anarchists” and Trump supporters, taking liberty while police focus on peaceful Black & Brown bodies on the front-lines to advance a perverted lust for mayhem unrelated to racial justice.

For another, when someone points their finger at impoverished Black and Brown people associated with acts of vandalism or violence–which is a form of white supremacy in itself–just remind them that years from now, the biggest criminals will not be people who broke windows, or the people who stole a flat-screen TV, nor even those who wrecked a police car or two.

Years from now, the biggest criminals will be the barely-elected public officials like Mayor Garcetti and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who, along with their counterparts from the National Guard, clad in M4 assault rifles, looted democracy in Los Angeles overnight, rebranding martial law as “curfew” so it sounds less out of a Banana Republic.

The biggest looters will also be people like Jose Huizar–the L.A. City Council member under investigation by the FBI for bribery–and his enablers at L.A. City Hall, including his fellow council-members, who refused to say anything about their colleague stealing from the public good until it was no longer newsworthy given the open secret that council-members do the bidding of real estate developers and police unions instead of serving the 250,000 residents who actually form their districts.

What will also be clear following this weekend is that the United States needed no wall to keep rapists and violence from MS-13 out, as President Trump promised to voters was the case. Because we grow rapists and violence right here in the U.S.A. better than anywhere else.

Consider how after four years, at the highest levels of government, our greatest mascots for American thrashing of the rules have been Brett Kavanaugh, Donald J. Trump, and Addison Mitchell McConnell, whom to any accusations of misconduct or being held to the same standard that any Black or Brown person charged with a crime during these protests will be: they give a bit, fat, and raging middle finger.

After years of such disregard for fairness, we’ve simply gotten used to white men like these shoving personal responsibility to the American public out of the way, not to mention their playing all out warfare against their opponents–against “the establishment,” or against the “liberal media”–demonizing their opposition, denying them even an ounce of dignity.

But in the billions of acres that comprise the United States, there are still many young people out there, including young white children in America, who might be watching such disregard for the rules.

For those young white Americans–including anarchists–in the 21st century, what does it say if their own president, and their own supreme court justice, and Congress’s top senator can flip everyone off?

The implication is that they can do it, too. To place this into perspective, recall a few names we’ve forgotten these past few years: Patrick Crusius, Devin Patrick Kelley, and Stephen Paddock, or some of the latest white men to shoot down helpless bystanders with assault rifles during the last three years of the Trump administration.

It’s unclear whether the FBI labeled even one of these shooters domestic terrorists, but such silence also sends a message. Such silence is also violence; Paddock was 56 years old, while Crusius and Kelley were 21 and 26 years old, respectively. But they were all 100% white homegrown Americans, each inheriting a legacy of (white) violence over the past two decades, but practically incited over the last four years from our elected leadership, so that if anyone still doubts whether language denying the humanity of “the other” has psychological effects on a generation, these men–like young white “anarchists” exploiting Black Lives Matter protests today–have shown otherwise, each by contributing their own part to a uniquely American legacy of (white) violence.

In an editorial for the New York Times, Charles M. Blow thoroughly and succinctly reminds readers of how (white) violence is also like a birth language for a nation that’s been called the United States of Amnesia, forgetting its rhetoric of “Manifest Destiny” and “Segregation forever!” until it screeches back into range:

We can bemoan the violence that has attended some of these protests, but we must also recognize that…White people in America have rioted, slaughtered, massacred and destroyed for centuries, often directing their anger and violence at black people and Native Americans, to take what they had or destroy it, to unleash their rage and assert their superiority, to instill terror, to maintain power.

Today, other inheritors of this legacy of violence include white police officers like those in Atlanta, who, just this past weekend, viciously pulled a young African American couple out of their car–supposedly for violating a haphazardly made up curfew–despite footage showing a white woman in a car in front of the couple, who was also presumably violating the same curfew, but who the officers don’t even bother speaking to. After one officer pulls at the young couple’s car-doors, a swarm of more officers huddle in. Then, a National Guard troop runs up to slash the tires of the vehicle. Meanwhile, the white woman in the car ahead casually drives away, unfazed. It looked like a scene straight out of the 1943 Zoot Suit riots in Los Angeles, if not 1930s Nazi Germany. It was actually only a slightly different day in the American police state that happened to be filmed for the internet to bear witness.

Yet, what can we expect? Those police officers in Atlanta have president Trump’s backing in Washington D.C., a world of courtrooms overseen by judges like Brett Kavanaugh, and mayors and commanders not so unlike Eric Garcetti or Alex Villanueva, a myriad of whom have made clear that they’re taking this system for all its got, that is, until the wheels fall off. It appears that the wheels may finally be doing just that.


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2 thoughts on “America’s Greatness Has Always Been Measured by the Scale of White Violence

  1. […] If any of this sounds extraordinary, remember that even the Los Angeles Public Library community has taken its own LAPL Board of Commissioners to task, calling for the board to divest in police at our public libraries, since police only serve to intimidate and incarcerate our city’s most vulnerable populations there, and even to intimidate Black & Brown library workers into “walking a fine line” lest they be labeled as a threat by police officers. Only in America. […]

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