What does black America gain from flipping the bird at white people?
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2019, about 40 children took over one of the busiest intersections in Miami, riding their bicycles and motorbikes and ATVs around, not permitting traffic to pass. Tempers flared; a man brandished an unlicensed firearm and shouted obscenities. He’s facing charges.
I’m asking what the children were doing there.
Dwight C. Wells is at the center of it all.
Here is Elise Sole’s original report, with the obscenities intact:
Here is WaPo’s similar report, purged of the obscenities:
This article says there was an MLK Day parade the same day:
This report from WSVN is completely laudatory:
This report from WSVN is completely fault-finding:
For lack of better terms, I will refer to this as a “demonstration” or “civil disobedience action.” The participants belong to a movement known variously as “Bikes Up, Guns Down” or “Wheels Up, Guns Down,” with a “z” sometimes replacing either one or both of the letters “s.” Wells is CEO of a Florida corporation with that name. This particular event was organized by a group called Dream Defenders. The movement, from what I’ve found, happens only in the Miami area; it involves young people swarming streets and highways with bikes, motorcycles and ATVs on Martin Luther King Day, supposedly in honor of someone who died in Philadelphia in 2015.
What was this really about? Clearly, the first goal is to let the children show off the tricks they’ve worked so hard to master. Elise Sole repeatedly refers to the movement as “antiviolence,” but I fail to see how blocking an intersection advances that. Elsewhere, the event is referred to as pro-affordable housing; though I again fail to see how this activity advances that. It may be that Dream Defenders seizes any pretext for a spasm of lawlessness.
Self-destruction creates racism.
The demonstration was destructive of its own ends.
Are those stuck in a traffic jam more likely to embrace the demonstrators’ issue, or instead become angry at the demonstrators themselves?
What should happen is not always what does happen. This particular activity feeds into stereotypes that will persist as long as people’s own actions perpetuate them:
- Blacks destroy anything you give them.
- Blacks are insolent.
- Blacks cause needless trouble.
- “Rules are for white people.”
It is wrong to condemn people for believing what they see with their own eyes.
How far does the community extend?
I lived for four years as the only white person in a ‘hood where, in fact, most black folk won’t go.
A common experience: the white person who wanders into a ghetto becomes fearful, not of the people’s skin color, but of the look of malice and contempt on almost every face; as if one’s very presence has disrespected people already. The white person often construes this as racial hatred. It’s not. Malcontents look at EVERYONE that way.
This is part and parcel of the fact that blacks account for only 13% of the population, but more than half the murders. Dream Defenders calls itself being about changing that statistic, and giving teens time and space to optimize their bike-riding skills is a step in that direction. There is a very real question of whether flipping the bird at outsiders is consistent with that goal; or is instead merely a different expression of the same contempt and malice one calls oneself seeking to change.
A Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade occurred in Miami the same day. The real purpose of the action being to show off the children’s tricks on their bikes, could they not have been included as a unit in that parade? I have found no discussion of why they failed to participate.
Dream Defenders may have rejected this option for reason that it would deny the children
– the thrill of putting one’s own safety at risk
– the thrill of putting others’ safety at risk
– the thrill of scofflawism
It is understandable that teens, naturally rambunctuous and rebellious, would balk at such an option. But who was making these decisions? Who is the children’s organizer and mentor? Sometimes an adult needs to act like an adult.
Is there any circumstance in which anyone can be expected to obey the law?
It may be said that, in the United States, laws are made by the non-black majority to benefit itself, and accordingly, black folk have no reason to abide them.
Well, then, let’s consider Africa, where black folk make the laws.
The Biafran separatist agitator Nnamdi Kanu assembled demonstrations of tens of thousands of young (sic), angry Igbo (Biafran) men. The images are highly reminiscent of civil unrest in the United States. The Wikipedia article “Biafra” details his decades of mercurial alliances and dis-alliances with other parties to the movement. He met criticism for displaying insolence toward Igbo tribal elders. He was arrested by the secret police of the reformist Hausa (non-Igbo) President Buhari, and a long period of legal wrangling followed.
He ultimately, finally vanished in September 2017. I am astonished that the international human rights community has never demanded to know his whereabouts. His movement, the IPOB, appears to have vanished with him; I am unaware of any more demonstrations.
When Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in 1994, he inherited a nation of scofflaws. After decades of civil disobedience intended to destabilize the Apartheid regime, a substantial portion of the population were not of a mind to abide any law whatsoever, regardless who made them. Crime in South Africa today is basically out of control; the murder rate there is five times that of the U.S.
So, who makes the laws has no bearing on whether or not black folk abide them.
Choose the best.
The white woman Savannah Spurlock, 22, is a stunning beauty. She gave birth to twins. Their father is not in the picture. She has two older children; their father or fathers aren’t in the picture, either. Three weeks after the twins were born, she went to a bar late at night and left in the company of three men. She’s not been seen or heard from since.
I was impressed by how many of the commenters on this article were concerned that she has not made the best life choices.
Playing in traffic? Really?
It’s up to each person to choose the best for himself or herself in life.
Black people, too.