I was originally going to write this piece about a section of footage that I found online of the riots in Philadelphia. I was going to talk about the uncanniness of it, and how unreal it seems to watch, like you’re watching something that you’ve seen represented over and over in fiction; becoming real.
Of course I was planning on taking the moral high road and discussing the negative aspects of romanticising violence, while at the same time making the non-argument that this footage will last “as a time capsule” of this current swath of protest.
But then I realised that what I was doing by bringing attention to the artistic impression of this footage, was in essence the same as what this white guy in the Joker makeup is doing here:
No matter what you say, if you look at the violence and try to parse it from the context of the riot, even for a second, that is an act of toxic white privilege.
To use this as opportunity to fuck things up for the sake of anarchy, or to glorify some sort of incel fantasy “revolution prologue“, is to be at odds with what the riots are for. It’s about defending black lives, not enriching white lives.
I think there is an issue with violence incited by white protesters at black-centric peaceful protests, you can see it in that video. Since at the end of the day, white people know they’re less likely to die at the hands of police brutality.
However this fact can be used for good, as is photographed by Tim Druck in Louisville last Thursday
Been able to understand your own privilege is quite literally a tool against white supremacy, and part of the learning process that I myself am trying to intensify now.
I’m hoping, for myself at least, what’s been happening recently doesn’t just inform change in laws and statute. But begins an eternal state of learning, that I have been naive enough to go without for so long.