How Both Sides See the Floyd Protests

Abdul-Jabbar says black people already live 'in a burning building'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2020 12:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Did you see George Floyd's death on TV and mutter "Oh, my God" in horror? To Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, that sounds pretty white. But "if you're black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted wanted to throw something), while shouting, 'Not @#$%! again!'" he writes in the LA Times. Bottom line, he doesn't want to see storefronts destroyed, "but African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer." Blacks have been pushed to the edge by murder upon murder of innocent people like Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, so let's try to empathize: "What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice," he writes. For more opinions:

  • Deroy Murdock: "What do smoke, scorched aluminum and shards of glass have to do with George Floyd's needless, wasteful and hideous killing? Nothing," writes the political commentator at Fox News. "Will this destruction help unify Americans in pursuit of justice for George Floyd? No."

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  • Christopher Mah: "The most important idea I learned from my students—many of whom have been personally affected by police violence—is that rioting is the language of grief," the Minneapolis teacher writes at MinnPost. "There is anger, yes, but underneath it, people are grieving."
  • Philip V. McHarris and Thenjiwe McHarris want funding redirected away from police to emergency response programs "that don't kill" African Americans. "Now more than ever is the time to divest not only from police resources, but also the idea that the police keep us safe," they write in the New York Times.
  • John Matisonn asks how rioting could happen in "liberal Minnesota." But in the eight years after 1999, "Minneapolis paid $4.8 million in legal settlements related to 122 police misconduct incidents," he writes at News24. "Police officers and county sheriffs were involved in 29 civilian deaths." And former prosecutor Amy Klobuchar, now a senator, "chose not to criminally charge any fatalities involving law enforcement."
  • Michelle Goldberg sees the protests as part of "a dystopian film about a nation come undone"—features nightmares like the pandemic, a frozen national economy, and armed lockdown protesters. "Some of the tropes are familiar, but we haven't seen this movie before," she writes at the Times.
  • Zaid Jilani wants people to "demand accountability for George Floyd's death" without romanticizing rioters. At the National Review, he quotes Martin Luther King Jr: "I'm absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt."
(Read more George Floyd stories.)

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