Nikole Hannah Jones on violence and the 'uprising' in Minneapolis

If you want the woke perspective on the riots in Minneapolis there are lots of online voice you can consult, but since Pulitzer-prize winning author Nikole Hannah-Jones is offering her take let’s start there.

She says that but actually that is what was successful as she admits eventually. But first we’re going to play a rhetorical game where the movement wasn’t non-violent because the reaction to it wasn’t non-violent.

I thought our country was born in 1619 not 1773? That’s an interesting slip.

Even if you accept her premise that it was the violent reaction that brought change, that still only works because it presents a clear contrast. It’s not just two sides battling, it’s one side being unfairly brutalized by violent goons and monsters. People have sympathy for victims of violence not perpetrators.

In Minneapolis and around the country, people think what happened to George Floyd was wrong. Police chiefs who are generally hesitant to condemn police officers have come out and said it was wrong. The officers involved have already been fired and charges against them are expected to be filed.

But the riots don’t fit any strategy of baiting bad people into violence. The riots are violence and mayhem. They are the opposite of the “strategy” Hannah-Jones is describing.

Again, there’s a big difference between “*violently* repressed” and just plain violent. The riots we’re seeing in Minneapolis haven’t been violently repressed. On the contrary, everyone is wondering why it seems very little has been done so far to stop the city from being burned down. Police aren’t repressing the protesters they are abandoning precincts to avoid a confrontation.

These are violent, anti-police riots. Some have argued this is understandable because of the outrage over Floyd’s death:

I would never throw a rock at the police. I would never throw a brick through the window of a big-box store. I would never set fire to an office building. But I want to. I understand why some people do.

I know I am supposed to counsel “nonviolence.” I’m a 42-year old man with a wife, two kids, and a mortgage; I’ve got a college degree and a law degree and a blue checkmark on Twitter; I know I am supposed to shun “rioters” and “looters” who allegedly cede the moral high ground of protests when they respond to tear gas and rubber bullets with stone and flame. But every person has a limit to the injustice they can bear before lashing out.

You can argue the lashing out is understandable but I don’t think you can successfully argue that it’s somehow in keeping with the “strategy” of the Civil Rights movement. By definition, lashing out is not strategic. It’s what you do when you’re just angry beyond the ability to plan or think ahead. I think that’s what we’re actually seeing in Minneapolis right now. At some point very soon, wiser heads need to prevail.