Something in milk ain’t clean, as old Southerners used to say.
America is enduring yet another racial crisis. The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks taking place during a global pandemic has people of all races united in protest. However, not everyone at the recent protests is on the side of Black people. Others were starting fires, damaging public property, working against the protests, and scapegoating Black people in the process. These actions are doing a huge disservice, only furthering the demonization of Black America.
Jonathan Douglass, a rising writer, actor, and opera singer from Brooklyn, New York called these kinds of people “Ninjas.” In the context of white people, he calls them “White Ninjas.”
“White Ninjas have other agendas to accomplish and using the Black Lives Matter movement as a means to stoke chaos. For them, it’s about asserting dominance, and essentially co-opting a movement meant to elevate Black people, but instead, turning it into a disheveled mess. They are committed to performing ally theater for their own selfish benefit; are almost always undercover cops, or even feds, and often look like a bargain bin Fred Durst. These people are the most dangerous because they move like shadows in the larger swarm of cops, and pretend to be against them when we can clearly see their god–n bullet-proof vests.” They have been the bane of the existence of most, if not, all race riots since the turn of the 20th century.”
I have a theory that isn’t based on any real scientific evidence but is wholly based on the knowledge I have of Black people. During riots, Black people will loot. The looting process is part of the survival for those genuinely in need, and also a place where opportunism thrives. My good friend and cohort of the Adultish podcast, Afiya Augustine, spoke with me about the three stages of the looting process for Black people:
- There are the looters taking goods for immediate use in their own homes;
- There are the looters taking items to sell so that they can make money to survive;
- And there are the looters who are there to take whatever they can get their hands simply because the opportunity has presented itself. Like an opportunistic infection, they see a way to take advantage of a situation and go for it.
Usually, Black people do not set fire to public property at the outset of public outcry. That is not our initial answer to inflicted injustices upon our people. I won’t attest that we have not engaged in such behavior in the past, but it isn’t Black America’s immediate form of protest. However, that is definitely something White Americans do. New York Magazine published several examples of “white people rioting for no reason,” and none of these are in response to systemic issues.
The Ways White Ninjas Move
Wesley Somers, a 25-year-old white man from Nashville, Tennessee, was arrested on charges of felony arson, vandalism, and disorderly conduct for setting fire to Nashville’s Historic Courthouse.
There is no way to decipher what this young man’s motives were for vandalizing a courthouse. Perhaps, he did this in protest. Maybe he was giving the middle finger to the justice system because it was created to work against Black people. Or, he was one of many angry people taking advantage of the current social unrest to “blow off a little steam.”
When the media initially brought attention to the vandalization of the courthouse, the images they showed were of Black people protesting peacefully. Thankfully, several people took photos of him setting the fire, reported it in response to the false media narrative, resulting in his arrest. Thank goodness for smartphone cameras.
Black Protestor caught 2 White Protestors tagging Starbucks. pic.twitter.com/06LuT4ryb8
— gregarious (@gryking) May 31, 2020
These “allies” were caught spray-painting Black Lives Matter (BLM) onto the side of a Starbucks. The protesters who caught them had words with them about their actions.
And who can forget the woman in the wheelchair during the Target looting, “Jennifer.”
“Jennifer’s” contribution to the social unrest created opportunities for her actions to be manipulated. Conservative media outlets focused on “Jennifer” covered in foam after she was violently doused with a fire extinguisher.
However, later in the video, you’ll find that Jennifer had a sharp object, shown in the photo above, and stabbed several protesters as she attempted to protect Target. This Target in Minneapolis refused entry to peaceful protesters whose eyes were burning from tear gas fired by the police. The refusal set in motion what led to the weaponization of the fire extinguisher. A White man perpetrated the fire extinguisher attack, but it isn’t easily seen in the circulated videos.
Below, “Jennifer” gets up out of her wheelchair and is able to walk with no problem. Ask yourself, why would this seemingly disabled woman fake a disability?
Allies do not engage in ally theater. Black people should not have to deal with dissidents disempowering Black voices. If you aren’t here to follow Black people’s lead when it comes to matters affecting us, to listen to the nuances of systemic racism, and scapegoat Black people, then your allyship is not wanted or needed.
This editorial does not necessarily reflect the views and sentiments of BLACK ENTERPRISE.