In the last two years that I’ve organized around antiblack violence and within the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I’ve witnessed white people showing up more and more to protests and rallies. At first, when we were protesting for Mike Brown for months in 2014, personally I was a lot more open to welcoming white allies who wanted to come out and help us fight. My personal/political naiveté and the need for more bodies trumped questioning their motives in the heat of the moment of something so important.
But after a while, I started realizing that trying to work with white people in direct actions became extremely triggering and tasking. I would witness many white people show up and want to be in the front — not to protect us, but to be visible and be in a photo. There would be swarms of white anarchists showing up, chanting “Fuck the Police,” completely disrupting our original chants and heightening the potential for violence against the Black protestors. Easily though, the anarchists almost outdo the groups of #AllLivesMatter folks who come out to walk in the protest but miss the entire point — even when most of the Black people call them out.
Then there’s the white folks that show up ready to antagonize us and insert their opinion about how Black people are navigating their pain and oppression. From “We all just need to love each other!” and “This is a class issue!” and “No more violence! *Insert MLK quote*”