BACK
Spiela / Community / Kenosha: A Tale in Two Acts
1
0 0 0 0 0

Kenosha: A Tale in Two Acts

After Kenosha, there should be no doubt that white privilege exists.   If it were a piece of writing, what transpired there perhaps would be seen as two acts of the same play. It would be a blatant, heavy handed work, but the audience would be clear as to the author’s intent. 

The first act was centred around Jacob Blake.  He had broken up a fight between two women.  He had his kids with him.  He was assaulted by the police, then shot in the back seven times.  He has survived, but he may never walk again.  He did not harm anyone.  The excuse which has been proffered is that the police feared he might be reaching for a knife.

This outrage understandably caused people to protest.  Spontaneous protests can be messy and lead to ancillary effects like damage to businesses.  This led to the second act: an out of state teenager named Kyle Rittenhouse decided he wanted to play the vigilante.  He apparently got his mother to drive him across the border.  He was armed with an AR 15 assault rifle.  He then took it upon himself to attack protestors, killing two, and wounding one. 

What made all the difference was the reaction of the police.  Rittenhouse walked down a street, open, free, with his weapon in plain sight.  There is little doubt that if the police feared Rittenhouse in the same way they feared Jacob Blake, they would have opened fire.  But Rittenhouse did not invoke terror in the officers, despite the obvious threat he presented.  Blake was feared because the officers imagined what threat he posed.  And therein lies all the difference: it is the assumption of guilt, threat, or innocence.

Before Kenosha, those who did not want to believe in white privilege would find excuses to suggest that it didn’t exist.  Alternatively, mitigating factors were found.  For example, Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd by shoving his knee onto Floyd’s neck, has recently had his defence attorney ask that all charges be dropped, because the autopsy suggested Floyd had consumed fentanyl and would have died anyway.  It’s been part of a repeating pattern: an outrage occurs, the media piles in.  Protests happen.  Politicians promise better. Then there are breaks in resolve, ruptures widened by excuses.  Then things return to the same state as before.

But perhaps Kenosha may rupture the pattern: the second act may make all the difference.  Kyle Rittenhouse wandering down an open street, his large rifle slung around his neck, and yet the police doing nothing is a symbolic event too profound to be ignored.

Yes, some are trying to defend him: pictures of him removing graffiti have surfaced.  Yet his classmates have also said he has a hair trigger temper and was abusive towards others.  Perhaps inevitably, one of his social media profiles indicated he supports Donald Trump.  Fox News may try to spin Rittenhouse into being a hero, but those who are not suffering through that channel’s programming can see clearly: white privilege exists, and it is wrong.

In order to prevent this series of events repeating, the habits of the past must be broken.  There must be no diving back into excuses, no suggesting that it is at all defensible to shoot an unarmed man in the back and yet allow a fully armed teenager with hair trigger temper to go free.  Down that way lies injustice, and inevitably, madness caused by that injustice. 

It’s time to acknowledge white privilege exists without backsliding.  It is time to call it out for what it is.  If someone doubts that things need to change substantially, they should remember Kenosha.  If they don’t want to remember, they should be reminded of Kenosha.  Things could pivot on this moment; if they do not, it’s unlikely there will be justice, and thus any kind of real peace.

5
0
497

1 Sep 2020

Please login to drop a comment for this post. Click here
Judy Posted 3 months ago
Such good insight to what is going on Christian DeFeo my gosh this is not getting any better
James Posted 3 months ago
Such an biased article really shouldn't be allowed to be posted online when simple facts of both cases are omitted, or completely untrue. Firstly Jacob Blake did not break up a fight between two women. There was an open warrant on Jacob for sexual assault and domestic abuse. Police were called to the scene because a previous sexual assault victim had called them, and alleged that Blake had raped her (with his finger) whilst she had a child in the room. She then realised her car keys were missing and blake was attempting to take her children. Your statement of "he did not harm anyone" is false. Upon Police attending the scene, he fought with them, resisted arrest, resisted the taser attempts and eventually went round to the side of his car to retrieve a knife. The Police were justified in shooting him, the shooting would not have happened if Blake had followed simple instructions and been arrested for the crime he'd just committed and the crimes he was already wanted for.Secondly Rittenhouse was a lifeguard who worked in Kenosha. He had just finished a shift of potentially saving people's lives when he met with others to clean graffiti off walls in Kenosha. Not long after, he was made aware of a call to help that BLM/Antifa rioters were looking to burn down and loot local businesses. Kyle and some others armed themselves (with weapons already in Kenosha) and stopped a local car dealership from burning.Police have driven past Kyle at this point and waved to them thanking for their help protecting businesses. After the rioters moved on to other businesses to burn, Kyle attempted to protect those too, at which point the rioters turned on him. As can be seen in the video footage, he is chased by rioters, one shoots at him, another lunges at him and attempts to take his weapon. This man is shot and dies. Kyle acted here in self defence. He attempts to call the police to inform them, but is then set upon by more Antifa/BLM rioters. Whilst running away (towards the police) he falls, one man attempts to hit him over the head with a skateboard, Kyle defends himself and the aggressor is killed. The third aggressor approaches Kyle with a loaded gun, Kyle defends himself and this man is shot and wounded in the arm.Kyle continues towards the Police where he informs them of the events.The differences between the two cases, have nothing to do with skin colour, and everything to do with the situation the person found or put themselves in. Such race baiting articles only cause to create more divide between white and black people, and it really needs to stop. Especially when significant facts are omitted, or statements made that are completeled untrue.
Christian Posted 3 months ago
Everything you're saying is biased and wrong - for example, Reuters did a fact check on the charges against Jacob Blake - https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-jacob-blake-sex-minor/fact-check-jacob-blake-does-not-have-an-arrest-warrant-for-having-sex-with-a-minor-idUSKBN25N2ZO Even if it was true, what possible justification could there be for shooting a man seven times in the back for subduing him? Let's be honest here - your post is a good example of the pattern to which is referred to in the article: excuses are found for the outrage, resolve to better cracks, and then things return to as before. You may not want to hear it, read it, or absorb it. But facts are uncomfortable. Have a nice day.
Mercy Posted 3 months ago
For you to even brazenly defend that murdering trash that is kyle shittenhouse is just foul and shows what side you are on. We are going through unprecedented times and for you to assume that a man warrants death for supposedly acting in a way that is deemed punishable by death, shows it is You and people like YOU that are the problem
Ivan Posted 3 months ago
Hey James Edwards thanks for sharing. Your views are welcomed. iI would challenge a lot of it though. There was zero justification for shooting him. we have seen countless situations in which people are subdued and in this case, which is a constant, racism prevailed. As Christian DeFeo said facts are uncomfortable so will to disagree on that
Nicholas Posted 3 months ago
Yeah James Edwards , that aint it. Very short sighted and sounding like the very thing society is trying to fight against. I understand what you mean about you not wanting it to be about race, but that is exactly what it is about
James Posted 3 months ago
Christian, please check your facts. At no point did I state he had any charges relating to him in relation to dealings with a minor. I said the warrant was for "sexual assault and domestic abuse" The actual reasons for the warrant which can be found online:Blake had a warrant for his arrest from July, based on charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse.Your article does not factor in the actions of the criminal who is under arrest and how that person's actions, results in the police response. Would you have been happy if the officer had allowed Blake to retrieve his knife from the floor of the vehicle, turn to the officer and stab him multiple times?
Related Topics