In our disgust, and for many pure concern over the events happening in our cities all across the country, we turn away, angry and frustrated.
All over, I read statuses saying, "violence isn't the answer, it's not going to solve anything." There are cries that "this isn't our city" and "why would you tear up your own community?"
Trust me, I understand that frustration. No one wants to see the blocks that they love and care for in flames. Corner stores that families have put their heart and soul into building up are looted, shattered windows. It can literally stop your heart as you see protestors scream, as they pour milk on their faces trying to wipe away the stinging pain of tear gas, and pepper spray. Officers who may have good hearts, and sympathy for what is going on, are forced to strap up in intimidating gear facing off with people who may very well be their neighbors.
This isn't our America. Or does history tell a different story?
The only reason Ferguson is considered a significant turn, and declared the starting point of this new Civil Rights Movement is because of the violence that was televised.
The violence that followed in other cities continued to wake up America. It wasn't until THEN that we saw legislators furiously working to address these racial and systemic issues that people have complained about for decades.
Same in the "holy" Dr. King days that everyone likes to invoke...
Until people across the country saw the violence perpetrated by police and white people on those peaceful protestors hardly anything had changed.
Only difference this time is that black people are also responding WITH violence. Hard for everyone to watch isn't it?
So it is quite disingenuous to say that this violence has solved nothing. Sadly, history will tell us it is the chosen language of America to force change with violence.
Not to mention that marginalized communities have been asking/begging/pleading for some of these changes for decades on end. But, ask yourself, at what point did people start listening?
"But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few 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, equality, and humanity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Other America