Often times we throw around the word ‘Privilege’ so frequently that the significance and impact of the word is lost. Yet, when viewing this video, I know of no other word that better describes the Blue Lives Matter counter-protester who shouted in the faces of peaceful protesters. The angry white man in the video not only felt that he had the freedom and the right to invade, harass, and berate the most recent Black Lives Matter action in Baltimore, his beliefs were validated by the police officer who sat idly by and allowed it to happen.
In the video you can hear the organizer asking the police officer to place space between he and the counter-protester. Yet, the officer does not budge while the Blue Lives Matter protester moves in closer — almost as to say, “I dare you.”
“What privilege?” someone is bound to ask. It is the Privilege of Provocation—the freedom, the audacity, and the belief that one has the right to impose one’s self onto another human being while simultaneously daring them to respond in anyway other than peaceful acquiescence. It is the same privilege of provocation that the vile, faux-patriotic, pseudo-Christian, Islamaphobic protesters demonstrated in Phoenix, AZ over the past weekend. There, men and women showed up to a Mosque with the express goal of agitation–wearing shirts laced with obscenities towards the faith of billions of people all while carrying machine guns as though to say, “I dare you to say something.” Yet, there, the police placed a barricade between protester and counter-protester.
This is privilege at its worst. It is the privilege that many angry, often conservative men carry. It is the same privilege that made Michael Dunn believe that Jordan Davis had the duty to obey his commands to turn down his music. And when Davis did not comply, Dunn killed him. It is the same privilege that led George Zimmerman to believe he had the right to stop a teenager that was simply going home. And when that teenager asserted his right to not be randomly harassed by a vigilante, Zimmerman killed him.
It’s the same privilege that leads men to believe they have the right to force their comments, opinions, and “compliments” on women only to turn violent if their gestures are not graciously received.
In this video, we see yet another disgusting example of how privileged some Americans really are. Counter-protesting is one thing. But when you are free to become an agitator and a provocateur you are no longer counter-protesting; you are instigating. What this man wanted more than anything else was to illicit a violent response from these protesters. Had that happened, he knew that the mainstream media narrative would have been in his favor. And despite his incessant provocation and his role in creating the cantankerous confrontation, the Black Lives Matter protesters would have been arrested and labeled thugs.
As DeRay McKesson posited in his original tweet: had the roles been reversed, the Black Lives Matter protesters would have been arrested. Yet, all of this happened in the presence of the Baltimore Police Department. That, my friends, is privilege.
Watch Privilege At Its Worst
— deray mckesson (@deray) May 30, 2015
Featured Image Via Video Screen Capture