“When it’s black people, crime is like this one size fits all… crime is crime. When it’s white people, we’re required to have a nuanced understanding of crime.”
Hours before the large crowd was expected to assemble on Monday night in Radnor Township, the street poles were being greased down to make it harder for individuals to climb them. Additional surveillance was being erected to monitor the vicinity, and riot police were getting in place. Trouble was expected, even if the outcome was one that would please the public.
The prevention measures I’ve described weren’t preceding a convening of activists in response to a high-profile, racially-charged trial, but rather young adults, many non-black, who were going to rally regardless of the outcome of a basketball game that took place in Houston, Texas.
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels ended in a score of 77 to 74, with the Delaware Valley-based team ending up victorious. In response to the win, fans engaged in civil disorder wherein, according to Radnor Township Police and various news reports, a bush was uprooted and set on fire; 30 people were injured—some with fractures—and five of them hospitalized; a fire truck was vandalized; a police horse assaulted; and at least one onlooker consumed liquor in public and grew intoxicated while others cheered them on. But despite all of the damage and lawlessness, Philly.com characterized the “festivities” as “mostly calm and peaceful.”
When the media characterizes your riot—wherein people were injured, property vandalized, traffic halted and participants intoxicated—as a celebration, that’s an example of white privilege. When the more than likely unsanctioned gathering is allowed to continue into the morning hours despite the criminality that takes place during it, that’s an example of white privilege. When mostly calm and peaceful protesters are responding to an injustice and a few of those involved become livid enough to destroy something, the media’s narrative exist to uplift the minority troublemakers and not the majority peacekeepers—that’s an example of racial bias.
Longstanding has been the discussion of how the media uses language to emphasize savagery among Blacks and civility among Whites. After the Baltimore uprising in response to the death of Mr. Freddie Gray—where property was damaged and fires set—participants were labeled thugs and rioters. But, as seen here, when mostly white participants also destroy property with fire, they’re “fans” who are celebrating.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I absolutely believe there’s an effort by some in the news media to promote Blacks as problems and Whites as pure. A pattern of this activity has been established, noted, and spoke about often by scholars, activists, and thought-leaders.
When he was in Philadelphia last October, Mr. Deray McKesson, a #BlackLivesMatter activist who’s running for Mayor of Baltimore and who speaks often about white privilege, told the story of him being on a panel about policing and a New York City policewoman telling him that the cops are where the crime is. His response was: “I don’t see the cops on Wall Street.” The woman, according to Mr. McKesson, then attempted to be nuanced about what crime is.
“When it’s black people, crime is like this one size fits all… crime is crime. When it’s white people, we’re required to have a nuanced understanding of crime,” Mr. McKesson, who discussed white privilege on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’ said on October 21st, 2015, during his introductory remarks.
What took place after Villanova’s big win, and even what takes during the Mummers Parade every New Years’ Day in Philadelphia, proves that, when you’re white, crime isn’t always crime, sometimes it’s a celebration.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Photo: AP Photo/Matt Rourke