As we enter Day 3 of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri – ostensibly started as a peaceful protest over a police shooting of an 18-year-old – the city is destroyed. Stores have been vandalized, robbed, and burned to the ground. With 300 officers from over 15 jurisdictions responding, there seems to be no end in sight.
With President Obama unwilling to call people out for their actions, Angela Graham-West, the wife of former Congressman Allen B. West, filled that void. Her article titled “Am I ‘acting white’ by asking why black people are looting their own neighborhood?” asks the questions that community organizers should have been asking while putting an end to this senseless violence.
As found on Allen West’s personal blog, Angela asks:
Would I be a sell-out if I asked why stealing all the tennis shoes from a sporting goods store would make a point for justice for a young man who was killed allegedly by a cop?
Would I be an “Uncle Tom” if I asked why burning a gas station, breaking into at least one convenience store, including a check-cashing store, a boutique, a small grocery store, a sporting goods store, a cellphone retailer, a tire store and a Wal-Mart would make things better? Would I be behaving stupidly when I told you that between 20 to 25 Walmart employees took shelter inside their store Sunday night as rioting and looting ran rampant in the area around them?
Would it be wrong to ask why people carted away goods from several of the stores, even as police moved in? These are stores located ] in this area — often at their own peril. These proprietors — small business owners — often live in the area or darn near close to it. Neighbors stealing from neighbors…shamelessly destroying their neighbor’s property as though they were released from bondage in order to pillage and plunder.
I’m sure there’s value to a fresh pair of kicks when you’re getting ready to do a drive by, shoot at a police helicopter, or throw Molotov cocktails but does that justify hurting the very store owners supporting your community with jobs? This isn’t a victimless crime, the residents who work there will be out of jobs for months while the insurance claims are processed and the stores re-open – if they re-open. When the dust settles I won’t be surprised to see many of the store owners take the insurance payments and move to other locales.
What will be accomplished is to further lower the median income of this already economically depressed town.
Angela continued by pointing out how this wasn’t an issue of young men going on a rampage, it’s a community wide free-for-all:
The race of the officer involved in the shooting has not been disclosed. He has been placed on paid administrative leave. It will solve NOTHING TO TEAR DOWN YOUR OWN HOME. But for those who consider themselves to be victims of “Da Man” anything calls for a riot. Any reason suffices to tear down the walls of society and decency. And this is not just limited to the young — from the videos and pictures of the event, grandma, grandpa, mama and daddy were making off with whatever they could get their hands on.
It’s not surprising that the black community should be angry and tormented by the tragic death of one of its own. But am I “acting white” if I ask why we destroy our own communities in protest?
This is not the first time.