Yesterday and today there were BLM protests in my neck of the wood and since I was busy yesterday, my dad and I went today. The idea was to have two days so people could space out more, and given that there were a lot of us, that was a good idea.
Now, I must tell you, I haven’t gone to a protest that worried in a while. I didn’t bring the kids. I’m not generally against “bringing kids to protests”. For one thing, kids do have opinions, for another, it teaches them to stand up for what they believe. But with the scenes we’ve been seeing from around the world and also from Munich and Berlin, I wasn’t comfortable bringing them. All those water throwers that all seemed to be out of order when fucking Nazis and conspiracy theorists were violating all Corona rules and literally chasing cops over the Alexanderplatz are apparently back in good condition again. Because who will decide if we are behaving well at a protest against police violence? Right. Spot the problem.
And for sure they were ready in their riot gear. They didn’t get to use it and I hope they sweated sitting in their black gear inside their buses.
One really good thing was that this protest was organised and let by black people, predominantly black women, and not some well meaning but ultimately problematic white allies. They recounted their experiences with everyday racism from an early age. They told the cops that they are responsible for their bad apples unless they want to get tarred with the same brush, that to be silent is to be complicit.
And it’s more necessary than ever, because just yesterday there was an attack on a young black man, who told us about the guy who attacked him with a knife, yelling “you’re black, you must die!” It was heartbreaking to hear him, to see him, shaking and searching for his voice, reliving his trauma. Thankfully the attacker was caught and look and behold, they are indeed suspecting a racist motive.
In the end we sang “Happy Birthday” for Breona Tailor and Tamir Rice, and Amazing Grace, which the moderator mentioned to probably be the first instant of cultural appropriation as it was written by a slave owner after overhearing his slaves sing.
Whom I though was missing were other migrant groups. With a few exceptions I didn’t see any non black people of colour. I don’t know if it was the shortness of time, but I missed the other migrant organisations.
I also met a pupil of mine who was very embarrassed to see me there. He’ll live. And he’ll still have to do Maths with me tomorrow.