And expecting applause. In the pages of Vice, a moral lecture, delivered from on high:
How to Talk to Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives.
As an exercise in question-begging and dense, self-satisfied presumption, it’s quite a thing, that headline. It’s very now.
Among those of us deemed insufficiently woke and therefore suspect, questions may arise. For instance, in what way will those “black lives” be improved by the destruction of local infrastructure, local businesses, and the subsequent, perhaps dramatic, reduction in trust and goodwill? And what if the stores and homes in question - the ones being smashed, stripped of their contents and set ablaze - are owned by people who happen to be black, as has often been the case? What if the places being looted and vandalised with abandon, indeed exultation, are depended on by people who also happen to be black, whether as customers or employees? After the razing and ruin of their places of work, should these people be pleased to be former employees? Unemployed people who now have no local grocer, or garage, or pharmacy?
Alas, such considerations appear to have eluded the keen mental processes of the article’s author, Ms Rachel Miller, a young woman who dutifully declares her pronouns and boasts of being a “Buzzfeed alum.”
If you’re not Black but want to support BLM, having fraught conversations with your kinda (or definitely) racist loved ones will likely not be fun, but it’s a very worthy undertaking.
Right from the off we’re informed, firmly, that any perceptible reservations about looting and rioting, or reservations about the Black Lives Matter movement – say, regarding its demented far-left agenda, its racial tribalism, and the stated goal of abolishing capitalism, prisons and the police – must be taken as an indicator of being “kinda (or definitely) racist.” Wokeness is not, it seems, a recipe for cognitive subtlety. “Some people,” we’re told, “appear to be far more worried about the fate of a Nordstrom or Target store than that of the actual human lives of protesters.” Again, one might deduce that only those protesting with, shall we say, physical enthusiasm have “actual human lives,” unlike their victims, whose hopes and livelihoods can be gleefully destroyed as an act of righteous liberation. From local amenities.
Apparently, Ms Miller has failed to register the obvious symbolism of what we’ve seen – a metastasising nihilism, a horror show in which the most basic rules of civilisation - on which our living together depends - are gleefully and triumphantly rejected, then set on fire, along with so much else. The contortion required to approve of such scenes and what they imply, to find them heartening, a thing one can endorse, is a kind of moral derangement. And yet this derangement is demanded in order to conform, to submit, and to escape being slandered as a racist.
If you, a non-Black person, know that Black lives matter, but your parents or other relatives (or friends, or chosen family) fall squarely into the camp of, “I support their right to protest... as long as they do it on my specific terms! And, yeah, I think Colin Kaepernick was also doing it wrong, what of it?”… well, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Conveniently for the author, those “specific terms” aren’t specified, but possibilities that come to mind include, ‘Terrorising random people, assaulting them, and reducing their neighbourhoods to a rubble-strewn war zone isn’t an ideal way to elicit sympathy or concern for one’s wellbeing.’ Or, ‘Perhaps addressing issues of racism isn’t best achieved by acting like savages.’ Something along those lines.
We are, however, told about “the myth that peaceful protest is the only way to successfully fight for civil rights,” and that “anti-looting discourse” is, in ways left mysterious, a function of “white supremacy.” Ms Miller’s other suggestions are equally helpful and no less steeped in nuance. When lecturing “loved ones” who are “kinda (or definitely) racist” on account of their unease about criminal predation and mob thuggery, Ms Miller suggests the following rebuttal:
Honestly, who gives a fuck if Black people are destroying property?
Yes, the moral insight is giddying in its complexity. You see, “respectability politics” – i.e., a wariness of nonreciprocal standards and a general aversion to inflicting on others, arbitrarily, the kind of violation one would not care to receive – is, for Ms Miller, a bad thing, a “bad idea,” albeit for reasons that, again, are not entirely clear. We are merely informed that such concerns amount to “being compliant.” In short, then, a “productive conversation,” one likely to “educate” the aforementioned loved ones, entails construing all brown-skinned human beings as “oppressed people,” regardless of any actual circumstances, and therefore entitled to act like sociopathic brutes. Oh, and using the word racist many, many times. Especially when those loved ones are reluctant to affirm mob thuggery and recreational beatings as an obvious path to a brighter, fluffier, more fragrant tomorrow.
Should this “productive conversation” somehow fail to convince your un-woke relatives of their wicked, wicked ways, Ms Miller suggests a fall-back position, an emergency measure:
If you have a Black partner or even a close Black friend… you have a responsibility to inform them that your relatives are racist so they can keep themselves safe.
Yes, safe. From people who don’t feel entitled to rob you, or beat you insensible, or burn down your home.
Such is wokeness. Bathe in its glow.
Heavens, a button. I wonder what it does.