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Even if it disturbs my fellow Ricochetti, this must be said. I am Woke. To start with, I still cannot get over the exhilaration of discovering the courage to express my disapproval of police killing unarmed suspects in custody. I never believed I had it in me to put myself out there like that. I really feel good about myself.
When the protests too quickly turned to looting and arson, I was able to understand that replaceable stuff is nothing compared to a guy’s life. When the destruction became extensive, when I learned that lots of people were injured and some killed, when there were dozens of reports and videos of people being dragged out of vehicles and beaten or stomped into a coma on the sidewalk, I was consoled to learn that there were also people injured by tear gas and rubber bullets so I could again refocus on the police.
If it turns out that a lot of replaceable stuff in or near poorer neighborhoods is not replaced or rebuilt and many lives have been made worse, those people can still go to my social media pages and know I was with them all the way. How can you put a price on that?
But in keeping the peripheral riot damage in perspective, I also learned the secret of oneness with Black Lives Matter itself. It turns out that is not just about decrying this or that police incident and seeing it as part of large pattern that might not be obvious to statisticians. It is also the ability to make any larger urban social pathology invisible and irrelevant. Just as beatdowns or even the killing of shopkeepers by looters do not detract from the truth of the death of George Floyd, 7,000 murders of African-Americans by African-Americans can never merit our attention or even curiosity so long as police are responsible for the deaths of as many as a dozen unarmed African-Americans a year.
Lastly, I have learned to love the 50-year American policy traditions and culture regarding the urban poor. There are those who say that these programs not only failed but have left millions much worse off despite massive expenditures. Some may even claim see some hideous pathology in the riots caused in large part by these same policies and their related ideologies. But now I see that those programs actually reflect the same good intentions I now share and exude and that that is what matters after all. With all due modesty, I must say that I am really proud of me.Published in