I hope my readers will allow me this indulgence. I spent an important part of my life as a Bristolian. Recent happenings have ignited memories. Once again and for various reasons, there is anger on the streets.
This is what happens next. (In no particular order)
There is anger on the streets because there is recognition amongst the protesting masses that black people once again have received the rough end of the stick (usually a truncheon).
- The anger will turn into rioting for a number of reasons.
- ‘The protest and riot is the language of the unheard’ (MLK).
- There is no-where else to go/nothing else to do. The polite, reasonable and on-going requests/pleas/warnings that have been given voice over the years, remain unheard/ignored.
For example, ‘Please remove the statue of the Slave Trader Colston from Bristol Centre. It is an afront to many and represents a time when human beings were treated as a commodity and sold’.
’Another black person has been killed in police custody. Why?’
- The destruction of property becomes the main talking point as opposed to the destruction of human life. Politicians, ordinary people forget the reasons behind the destruction and unfortunate violence and concentrate on the ‘positiveness of the peaceful protest’ as though such a thing has always been the way to go. History unfortunately, proves otherwise.
It would be good to say that peaceful protest works but one only has to look at recent actions by the authorities to see that it does not. Anger on the streets tends to speed things up, although never, in one violent sweep does all-round justice prevail. There are always casualties.
However the fact remains,
Judging events by the authority’s actions, even a body of so-called peaceful protesters are seen as a possible threat, even though we live in a democracy and such gatherings are allowed.
It appears that once the word ‘disperse’ is shouted through loud-speakers and inevitably disobeyed, the crowd magically becomes something else. From, peaceful to threatening in a moment.
- During the disturbances, the racists will remain silent (ish). They will rely on ordinary folk to express shock. Which they will do on social media, letters to the press etc. In this way all black people will look complicit in unnecessary violence and of course the inevitable looting, exactly what the racist wants.
Their tactics will have some return. The fear ’ of black people that lies like tape-worm in a lot of good white people’s bellies will be fed and it will stir. The racists know full-well that the uniformed. uneducated and simply scared will be primed, ready for the racists return. When that happens the uniformed, uneducated and simply scared will be relieved that at last, after such a period of darkness and fear, someone has returned to ‘speak for them’.
There won’t be many racists who will dare raise their heads above the parapets while there is this much anger on the streets. They will simply wait their turn.
- A surprising number of ‘worthies’ will come forward to condemn the riots. Apart from the already mentioned politicians, there will be a number of black people who will swear they have never experienced racism and that the rioters are making ‘all black people look bad’. These black people tend to be frightened. They have spent their lives pleasing white people and excuse their behaviour as being ‘committed to building bridges’. They recognise that the comfortable, safe lives that they have built around themselves are at threat and they are faced with the daunting prospect of recognising that ‘playing the white man’ may be at its end, (I am reminded of Samuel L Jackson’s wonderful portrayal as the House N***** in ‘Django Unchained’). But they should have no fear. Their sad lives will soon return to normal because…
- Soon all will calm down and as per usual, Nothing Will Change. The rioters will expend their energies. The fires will be doused, and the anger will go back to gas mark 2, ‘simmering’. For a few months/weeks (?) everything will be on tenterhooks with people watching what they say but never what they think.
- Racism will return in all its many guises.
- Although there will be negatives (i.e. BLAME the BAMES, as Covid 19 infections rise) from this burst of anger on the streets, there will one or two positives…(a) The prosecution of some unpleasant policemen and (b) the permanent removal of a disgusting memorial of a disgusting man. Unfortunately, not much else.
Until next time then Rinse and Repeat.