Looting is A Political Tactic



On Saturday, August 9th, Michael Brown an unarmed 17-year-old black youth was shot 10 times in the back and murdered by Ferguson police near his home. This coming with the wave of recent police murders of young black males (John Crowford and Eric Garner) and with the guilty verdict of Renisha Mcbride’s killer fresh in the news really has me wondering why some people (predominantly white people and the media/is there a difference?) are so surprised to see what they categorize as rioting and chaos in the town of Ferguson, Missouri. The police left Michael Brown’s body on the street for four hours, and when the community first came out to protest the killing, they were met with police dogs; such tactics have been used on black communities since the Civil Rights era. The following day, there was a peace vigil, again the community was confronted with violence by the police who showed up with dogs and weapons ready to attack. What else was their intention other than to provoke a police riot? This reminded me of what happen last summer with the police murder of Kirmani Gray in Brooklyn and two years ago with Manuel Diaz in Anaheim.

Far too often non-whites, although blacks have been the most effected, are murdered by police, this injustice is then met with a response by the community that sometimes turns into what is qualified as rioting and looting. Whenever there is civil unrest in black communities the focus always goes to “looting” whether it’s 2 people that do it or 200, whether it be because of anger of police brutality or the lack of sufficient supplies in the case of Katrina, the media and what seems to be the general public would rather show more concern for the store owners whose property are being taken than for the black lives that are being lost. This has me begging the question, would black peoples lives be more valued if we were still property? This might seem like a ridiculous question but when #MikeBrown and #Ferguson is trending on twitter and you have participants seem like they are more outraged with the “looting” than they do with the police state, it becomes a fair question to ask. What seems to be qualified as “looting” when black people do it, is also qualified as “property” damage when used as a political tactic when applied to others. Is disrupting capital not a political act? We’ve seen the same tactics used in Greece and Brazil, but yet when young black youth do it in America, it is simply deemed as opportunist’s committing crimes.

Which brings up another point, the sentiment continues to be that black youth are inherent criminals taking advantage of the opportunity to steal whenever they can. But, what more was the Boston Tea Party other than just property destruction. Were the “founding fathers” “looters” in that case? Of course not, because of the obvious, “looting” is a word reserved for only black people. It is a tactic used by the media to delegitimize the black resistance the same way refusing to acknowledge Hamas as a political agency does in Gaza. We know how this story ends, we know there is no justice to be found, and for a community that has been continuously murdered, brutalized, criminalized, and dehumanized it is not fair to judge us on how we may respond.

As long as you continue to value property over black lives, you can expect us not to value your property.

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