Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Protest and Demonstrations are Not Synonymous with Rioting and Looting.

April 16, 2021 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Probably the most vivid memory of my childhood was in 1968. This was the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. My mother, who was one of the only Black executives at a Hospital in the city called home to give us the news. She said that Dr. King was dead and that he had be taken to the hospital where she worked (Saint Joseph Hospital) in a Colonial Bread Truck because they feared racist democrats of the day would attack the ambulance in which he was supposed to be transported in. That was the first time I witnessed a riot. I was six years old and I will tell you one thing, it is hard on a child, during the days prior to his death, having national guard stationed at the end of your block in jeeps with machine guns in the back that tell you cannot play in your own front yard after 7pm.

The day he died; things changed. My mother and my uncle started the car, after curfew and took me downtown in Memphis. I remember being by Bud Davis Cadillac and seeing all the buildings on fire. I also remember the national guardsmen along our route not stopping us and having the same look of pain in their faces that we evinced from our faces. They were hurting as much as we were, and it was palpable. Yes, the day King was murdered there were riots in Memphis, but they did not last no more than a day. Also noticeable was that no stores or businesses in our neighborhood were burned, vandalized, or looted – just downtown Memphis.

Before the riots there were protest. They were just that, no violence, just singing and arm locking. I known because I was there. All us little boys were tasked with stacking “I AM A MAN” signs. Guess we were sexist because the little girls were not asked to do such. But there were protest and all were non-violent. Seems things have taken a dramatic turn some 53 years later. Appears that anything without the objective of achieving a defined goal is reason to riot. Yes riot, for riots are uniquely distinct from protest or demonstrations. Presently, voices of reason no longer resonate in our current age of rage politics.

As one who teaches statistics and have done such since 1988 at the university level, it is difficult for me to wrap my mind around why rioting and looting is seen as acceptable behavior. They say it is because they desire justice, but in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, justice has been served resulting in charges being brought against the officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright. The officer has even been arrested yet the destruction in this small black community and attacks on police who did not have nothing to do with the shooting have continued from the first night own. This is illogical and makes me think personally that it has nothing to do with this man singularly nor seeking justice. It is a tragedy, but dude was a predator. It seems when a child is killed in a drive-by or while selling lemonade we do not have the same rage, but let a person, driving on expired tags, with a warrant, not complying with the police and trying to drive away, it becomes the end of the world.

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True, I don’t know jones and glad I didn’t because any dude that would assault a black woman and rob her with a weapon won’t get any sympathy from me.  Even more abstruse is the media coverage. These are not peaceful or mostly peaceful protest. You do not require the use of the adjective peaceful to describe a protest or demonstration for peaceful is inherent in their definitions. To suggest otherwise is newspeak. Riots are conducted by lawless mobs compared to protest and demonstrations which are carried out by law abiding citizens. Why in the fck are you tearing up shi# you had no part in creating? Better yet, why are folks allowing miscreant dogmatic sophist to destroy stuff that others own? Most these cats tearing the club up in Minnesota don’t even live there, and are just being loud keeping folk up all hours of the night. So again, what do they want? If it is no deaths by police, then what they request is an impossibility for a risk-free life in any situation is not reality.

There are between 50 to 60 million citizen encounters with police yearly according to Bureau of Justice Statistics. Last year there were almost 1000 police shootings. From 2015 to 2021, close to 3000 whites were killed by police compared to nearly 1500 Blacks. In simple terms, half of the people shot and killed by police are White. Over same time period, approximately 6000 were male and almost 300 females. If this is due to racism, shouldn’t sexism be apart of the calculus of the reasoning why males are killed more by police? But putting that aside, if you make a statistical evaluation given 50 million encounters, this means the proportion or rate of blacks shot and killed by police is 0.00003 from all yearly encounters.

Sadly, the current cultural and political backdrop is such that justice must prevail albeit the risk of a black man that complies with police being killed by an officer is less than that of drowning. But as they say, math is racist.

I will face the reality. This has nothing to do with cops being racist or the death of a criminal or else they would not set a police headquarters in Portland on fire for something a cop did in Minnesota. Throwing bricks and cans of soup at police while holding a pig’s head on a stick is not peaceful and is not protest no more than burning buildings, vandalizing them and stealing from them is peaceful. Fact is folk just want to burn and tear down shi# and any reason will do. I remain steadfast in the observation that stealing Playstations and video games from GameStop, flatscreen TVs from Walmart and Nikes from footlocker has nothing to do with seeking justice. This is plain old anti-American and out right insurrection. It reflects bad on Black folk and demonstrates poor impulse control, not only on the rioters but also Mr. Wright. My only conclusion is that cats shout out fck the police and abolish the police so they can continue to vandalize, burn down and loot stores now, because tomorrow they wont be in our community and we will be left with a ghost town. Why else would cities where this didn’t happen are being burned down, looted and destroyed? This aint protest and certainly not demonstrations. I saw both growing up in Memphis in the 60s during segregation.

Staff Writer; Torrance T. Stephens

You can follow this brother over at; Daily Thought Crime. Can also purchase any of his books over at; Amazon – TTS Books.


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