More on the 'white silence is violence' confrontations in Washington, DC (Mayor Bowser recommends calling the police)

The confrontation between Black Lives Matter protesters and diners in Washington, DC got a lot of attention yesterday. When I wrote about it, Washington Post reporter Frederick Kunkle had published a video and some description on Twitter but his full story on the situation wasn’t up yet. That story adds some additional detail and more video of the confrontations:


Near Quincy Street, the crowd gathered outside restaurants, alternately accusing diners of enjoying “White privilege” and encouraging them to show support. At one table, a young man who objected to the intrusion tried to explain that he worked for a nonprofit organization committed to addressing mental health care for Black people and other underserved populations. Protesters crowded in further around the table, shining video lights in the diners’ eyes and exchanging angry words.

The woman with the camera obviously isn’t interested in taking pictures. She just using the camera’s flash to irritate people.

The other clip from this same march showing a group of people surrounding a woman named Lauren Victor has been viewed nearly 11 million times in the past day.


One of the comments I saw a lot of people making in response to this clip was that everyone harassing the woman was white. I saw some on the left suggesting that these were just white teens who got carried away. The suggestion being made was that they weren’t really representative of the march or of BLM. These were just over-zealous activists in training.

But Kunkle, the Post reporter, explained there was a reason all of the people surrounding Lauren Victor were white. Black organizers of the march had told the white participants to take the lead.

On Columbia Road, a young Black woman who was leading the protest explained the importance of engaging White people in the struggle for justice and encouraged White protesters to take the lead in confronting diners on 18th Street NW.

Several diners at other tables went along, standing or raising their fists, until the crowd homed in on Victor and her companion in front of Los Cuates, a Mexican restaurant.

Kunkle posted an additional clip showing it was initially a black protester who was up front during the “white silence is violence” chant at Lauren Victor. He’s banging his skateboard on the ground as he shouted at her. Then a woman came up and told the white people in the crowd to move forward.


So this was not a case of over-zealous white people going too far. This was over-zealous white people going too far because they were emulating and being directed to do so by over-zealous black people. Fox 5 in Washington went back to the area where the confrontations took place and asked people on the street what they thought about it:

On Tuesday, FOX 5’s Josh Rosenthal went back to Columbia Heights and showed people the videos reporting that most told him they thought the protesters were out of line.

“I don’t think it’s cool at all. If you’re protesting you can’t make people do things. That’s ridiculous,” said Theo Green.

The Mayor of DC was also not impressed with what she saw in the video clips. She suggested people who are confronted should call the police. Great plan. I’m sure that wouldn’t be taken as an escalation by the protesters screaming in people’s faces.

“What I saw in those videos was highly inappropriate,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser at a press conference Wednesday. “It was likely against the law if they were on private property. But more importantly I don’t think it had anything to do with demands for social justice.”…

Bowser said she would “encourage any diner or restaurant to call the police immediately” if incidents like those were to happen. She also acknowledged that diners are supporting the city by picking up, taking out and eating at local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Here’s the Fox 5 report.

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