There are those of you who believe that to quibble about how people are protesting is to distract from the cause -- the murder and brutality of minorities by the police -- itself. You would argue that these riots are not the illness, but merely a symptom of a deeper illness, and that to stop the riots you must first address that systemic racism. You might even grant that peaceful protest is preferable, but that condemning the looting without offering support for the cause rings about as hollow as a dude stopping by a construction site and yelling, "You're not using enough plywood!" before walking away.
I could see how you'd feel that way, but also, *gasp* they looted the Macy's! Yes, it's true. The worst thing imaginable has happened. As The New York Times reported in their piece, "Looters Strike at Macy's and the Heart of Manhattan as City Reels," Macy's was looted, and the heart of Manhattan is reeling. They write:
"The eruption of looting in the central business district of Manhattan - long an emblem of the New York's stature and prowess - struck yet another blow to a city reeling from the nation's worst coronavirus outbreak."
Does it surprise you that the heart of Manhattan, according to the New York Times, is a heavily insured, billion-dollar corporate department store, and not a cultural touchstone like the Empire State Building or, I don't know, actual human beings? Well, it's true, and I'd explain to you why, but I'm too emotionally distraught about Macy's wellbeing right now. The piece goes on, "swarms of marauders poured into the streets, smashing shop windows and rushing through already broken-into buildings." Swarms of marauders? Good Lord and Taylor, I hope Neiman Marcus is still safe. Where else could I get up to 75% off a Prada handbag?
I know, I know, how can I compare the destruction of large retail chains to what happens to Black people every day at the hands of the police? I can't. But, at the same time, oh nos, the Hard Rock Cafe in D.C.! I'm sure if Dr. King was alive today, he would tell you about how disappointed he'd be with protestors for depriving him of getting some "One Night In Bangkok Spicy Shrimp."
If I can get real for a moment, *turns chair backward, sits on it* I don't have a problem with the New York Times reporting this story. This is an event that happened and this is their take on it. But every time the conversation shifts towards whether or not the looting is justified, especially in light of the majority of protests are peaceful, and that cops are engaging with peaceful protesters more harshly than they are with the looters, it essentially sends the message that buildings are more important than people.
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