Tag Archives: protest

Perpetuating the Problem You’re Protesting

“Black Brunch” Protestors Disrupt White People’s Boozy Sunday Meals

Something about the TPM headline above really irked the hell out of me, something besides protesters being misspelled, but it took me a minute to think it through. In a nutshell it’s this – the implication is that it’s okay to disrupt white people’s meals because all white people are to blame for whatever problems the black people are protesting. How is that any different than saying that all black people are to blame for whatever problems white people might have? It isn’t. Both are forms of divisive gross generalizations at best, racism at worst, and as we all learned when we were three years old, two wrongs don’t make a right.

To put it more simply, I guarantee you that there are plenty of non-white people who partake in boozy Sunday meals, so I’m sure that plenty of non-white people had their meals disrupted as well. Is that okay with the protesters? Are the non-white people also complicit in the killing of black people by police officers because they too engage in boozy Sunday brunches? You say I’m being ridiculous by claiming that the protesters are claiming the white brunch goers are complicit in the police killings? I’d agree, but using the same logic that all white people do, well, anything, I can say that if one protester says I’m complicit in police killing black people because I’m white then all of them think I’m complicit.

Yes the logic is absurd, but so many people in our society use this kind of logic when we debate race, religion, politics, etc. that we end up with a divided community with little hope of finding any kind of common ground.

I have no problem with protests or with people who protest, even those who make a profession out of protesting. After all I can just choose to ignore them. But I get very frustrated with protesters who aren’t smart enough to realize that they’re perpetuating the problem they are trying to address. If you want to do more than make noise, to actually try and fix a problem, then it’s best not to completely shut down any hope of constructive communication by lumping everyone together into one giant blame ball.

Protest or Small Gathering? Small Scuffle or War on Christmas?

Wachovia/Wells Fargo apparently doesn't require its branches to display Christmas trees and apparently that's a problem for ten people who marched in front of the Wachovia building in Winston-Salem.  That was enough to attract some local news folks, but I don't think the "War on Christmas" story they were hoping for materialized.  From the story:

Ten people gathered Tuesday in front of Wachovia's offices on West 4 ½ Street to protest a company policy they said doesn't allow branches to recognize the Christmas holiday.

Joyce Krawiec organized the event after she said the company banned the display of Christmas trees in its branches…

It should be noted that the Wachovia offices where the protests were held do display a Christmas tree inside. But, Krawiec said she's checked in branches throughout the area and found very few that were displaying Christmas trees…

Wachovia, acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008, said in a statement that the decision to display poinsettias in branches was to achieve a common look within the markets in which the company operates.

The statement from the company also said that company policy doesn't prohibit Christmas trees from being displayed.

Okay, I think we need to come up with a few news rules here:

  1. If you have fewer people than can sit on a school bus it's not a protest.  If you must cover it as a "news" story then come up with a new term for it.  I like Airing of Grievances (think Festivus).
  2. If someone is protesting, er Airing a Grievance, about a corporate policy that ends up not being a policy then for God's sake turn off the camera and wish them a nice day.
  3. Unless someone shoots a mall Santa do not run a "War on Christmas" story. 

If these kind of stories keep showing up I think I'm going to grab four of my friends, a six pack, a couple of hand drawn cardboard signs and head over to the mall to walk around and air our various grievances about saggy drawers, terrible Christmas music, terrible tattoos, nasty body piercings, etcetera, etcetera.  See you on the 6 o'clock news.