Friday, October 28, 2016

Shaun King on White Privilege in America, 2016


Writes Shaun King:

Deny it if you want, but white privilege is a powerful thing.

After taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 41 days in an armed siege, the Bundy brothers (Ammon and Ryan) and five other co-defendants were found not guilty of all federal charges – including possession of guns in a federal facility and impeding federal employees from doing their work. It seemed like pretty much everybody in the courtroom was surprised. The men had guns and took over federal offices – where they indeed impeded federal employees from doing their work.

Imagine just for a moment that heavily-armed Black Lives Matter activists took over a federal building. It’s doubtful that such a siege would last longer than a day. By and large, unarmed, non-violent peaceful black protestors are arrested on sight when they even block the entrance to a federal building. Many are still facing charges for such simple acts of civil disobedience to this very day and they did nothing like what the Bundy clan did in Oregon.

Or imagine that an armed group of Muslim-American activists took over a federal building. I’m not talking about immigrants or people on the terrorist watch list, but just good, old fashioned American students who happened to be Muslims. Do you think they’d be allowed to continue their takeover for 41 days? Do you think they’d be acquitted at trial? Those young men would likely be taken to Gitmo. I’m not even kidding.

My argument here is not even that I want the crew who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to be in prison. I’m ambivalent toward that. My frustration, and the frustration of thousands of others, is that we all know good and well that if they were anything other than white that they would’ve likely had the book thrown at them. It’s for that very reason that you pretty much won’t see anyone other than white folk even do such a thing – it would be a suicide mission.

Do you think Donald Trump will speak out on “law and order” regarding the Bundy crew? They broke laws and disrupted order and disrespected police and federal agents, who Trump claims to love, over and over and over again. But you know, like I know, that when Trump speaks about “law and order” he is speaking in racial code for how he aims to crack down on people of color – whenever and however he can. He’s not interested in universal law and order – that would impact white folk as much as anyone – but one that targets undocumented immigrants and inner cities – and somehow pretends the Bundy brothers and their band of bandits don’t even exist.

This is America. 2016.

– Shaun King
"White Privilege Sets Oregon Militia Members Free"
New York Daily News
October 28, 2016

Related Off-site Links:
"Patriots" Acquitted in Malheur as DAPL Water Protectors Get Maced – Steve Russell (Indian Country Today, October 28, 2016).
Outcry Over Oregon Standoff Verdict: White Militants Acquitted While Native Protesters Maced and Beaten – Alan Jude Ryland (Second Nexus, October 28, 2016).
In Acquitting the Oregon Militants, a White Jury Determines That the Law Doesn’t Apply to White Protesters – Melissa Batchelor Warnke (Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2016).
Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Draw Contrasts to Bundy – Melanie Eversley (USA Today, October 29, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
"This Doesn't Happen to White People"
Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
Standing Together
Quote of the Day – August 19, 2016

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