It’s Time for White Agitators to Stand Down.

It’s Time for White Agitators to Stand Down. August 27, 2020

These words are written in the aftermath of the shootings that took place at the protest in Kenosha, WI on August 25, 2020. It’s a bit more of a rant in tone than is my custom – but I feel this approach is appropriate for such a time. I write to fellow white citizens in the United States.

1. Attention: White Black Bloc Anarchists (who mislead themselves and others by calling themselves “ANTIFA”) – White people have NO BUSINESS driving over to other people’s communities and engaging in the destruction of property, smashing windows of business, lighting fires, and/or looting. You are NOT oppressed persons. Yes, “riots are the language of the unheard,” but you DO have a voice and are able to be heard in this society. You are Hijacking and causing grave harm to the BLM cause and exploiting it for your own agendas. Your actions are making things worse. They are counter-productive. There are numerous video clips of black citizens yelling at you to stop harming businesses in their communities. It is struggling, low-income people are most affected by all this violence and vandalism. They are the ones who suffer the most from all this unrest. Let the BLACK people lead. You are not helping. Stand Down. Better yet, stay home and get back to your social media Social Justice Warrior ways.   — I recommend helping get out the vote: help people to register to vote and know when, where, and how to vote in their local areas. Also, help get out the word that the Census count is unjustly ending a month early! Help encourage as many people as possible to register their residence. This matters. —

2. Attention Armed white militia wanna be Vigilantes – White citizens have NO BUSINESS playing cops and driving into other people’s communities as vigilantes to “protect property” and prevent looting. It’s none of your damn business. Stand Down. Property is insured and can be replaced. Human lives matter far more than property. It IS the case that black citizens disproportionally receive far more violence from US police than do white citizens – and white people commit most of the crimes in the U.S. This is a real problem and the BLM movement is truly warranted and needs to happen to secure justice in this land. You criticized black people when they simply took a knee and you told them that – “that isn’t how to protest.” Well, now they are taking it to the streets.

“Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”  – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bottom Line: White people take a moment and have some HUMILITY and ASK Black people how we can best be allies to them during this time. I say this as a Christian pastor who is well aware of the grave harm that white Christian missionaries around the world have caused by assuming that they know what is needed – when they don’t. And… when we listen to their various (and likely varying) responses, our work is also to avoid hearing the answer that we expect or want to hear – and instead to truly hear what they are intending for us to understand.

ps. There is a valid ANTIFA, but the anarchists ain’t it. Here is a link to a discussion about What Antifa is and isn’t. And here is a link to a discussion about Black Bloc Anarchists.
In a nutshell, the difference is that where anti-fascists specifically oppose right wing authoritarian forms of government, which the Trump administration is clearly broaching; Anarchists oppose all forms of stateism – and frequently all forms of capitalism along with it. It makes sense for Antifa to be protesting the Trump administration and the apparent linkage to do the police which they view as defenders of the Trump administration and all it stands for including white supremacy.
The black bloc anarchists are just looking for any excuse to engage in destruction of capitalist property and to cause social unrest, mayhem, and disorder. (There is a Christian Anarchism, but they ain’t it.)

Look, I’m all about Social Justice and I am not telling persons of color how they should or shouldn’t protest or seek to have their voices heard by the powers that be. My remarks here are to the over-eager white folk who are doing more harm than good at this time.     XX – Roger

Update! The following are words of an African American friend that she posted on social media on Sept. 4th: “Note to White “leftists” or whatever you’re calling yourselves these days: Stop centering yourselves and your agenda in Black movements. You’re NOT helping and I seriously doubt you want to.

Yeah, I said it. If in fact you really wanted to be of assistance, why do you only show up to throw bottles and rocks at police, or participate in destruction of private property?
Here’s the thing: over the past few months we have seen what happens when White people center themselves in Black lives; Black people, Black movements, shoulder the blame for y’all’s shit. Take BLM. Now because of actions in Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, and here in Kenosha, many people feel that BLM represents violence and destruction. But look at the footage; those are White bodies doing the damage. But under the guise of BLM. If you’re about that life, then own your shit. Hold a press conference, say “we White people are fucking your shit up because we demand justice. Black people aren’t responsible.” Instead, you do the opposite. And the majority of your destruction is in predominantly Black areas. Areas you otherwise don’t inhabit.
You’re the very worst kind of white racists, because you’re using your privilege to engage in behavior that gets Black people castigated and killed, then have the unmitigated gall to believe you’re “helping.” F*ck all of y’all.” ~ Trinaka Jamison


Rev. Roger Wolsey is a certified Spiritual Director, United Methodist pastor, and author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianityClick here for the Kissing Fish Facebook pageRoger’s other blogs on PatheosRoger’s website

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