by Jermaine Reed
Anti-looters, please shut up.
This is not a defense of looting; Rather, this is a chiding of those condemning what they have denigrated as ”looters.”
A common argument I am hearing is, what happened to George Floyd was wrong, but looting has no place in this. Another argument is that Black people are ”tearing up their own neighborhoods.” Both of these positions fail to consider the current economic state of Black people and the constant racial pressures which have led to the nationwide protests.
To begin with, no revolution is pretty. Americans should know this well; thousands of lives were lost during the Revolutionary War in which America won its freedom. What the media and opponents of the protestors have done is reduce the term ”pillaging” to ”looting.” Both are taking things during a time of choas. The terms are not strictly alike, but they’re similar. America has freely pillaged plenty of villages. The point is, no one in a revolution is perfect. Looting is an ugly but natural outcome of it.
Black people, if we want change, we have to view our race almost as a firm. Everyone has a role. Maybe you won’t loot, but don’t condemn the looters. Contribute how you can, even if your contribution is simply not criticizing the revolution. We each have a role. Maybe you are not the looter. Maybe you are an executive. Still, we need soldiers as much as we need executives.
Moreover, some Black people may burn down a store on the corner of their block, but that store is not ”their community.” True, these stores provide a service and may be in the neighborhood, but they are not a part of the community. Most of the store owners never give back to the community, and they disrespect the patrons and are generally not Black. That said, a group of Black people burning down a store is not them burning down their community. Even if it was, revolutions have collateral damage.
The point is, Black people, please do not criticize protestors. They are doing what many are afraid to do. Sometimes, you must scorch the land to experience fresh new growth.
*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books
”Anti-looters” or people against ”looting, ” shut up. I loosely use the term ”looting” in this article, but I do not believe the people being called looters are looters. Also, I do not condone violence or illegal activities. This article is about supporting the right to protest and gather, not to influence looting, violence or illegal activity.