The March for Our Lives yesterday attracted armed white men angry about anyone daring to challenge their extremist view of the Second Amendment. Of course it did. Because armed white male assholes have always intimidated movements intended to create a more equal and more safe society. As others have pointed out, part of the reason this protest has gained so much momentum is that the affected victims of Stoneman Douglas are largely, although quite obviously not exclusively, white and middle-class, as opposed to poor black kids in Chicago and Baltimore who are also fighting for their lives. Well, that’s how the public attention toward protest movements tend to go–SNCC was quite aware that the only way white America would care about voting rights activists getting murdered in Mississippi was if white kids were murdered and thus, part of the strategy around Freedom Summer, which indeed did get national attention when two whites were killed. But of course there’s a certain amount of white privilege involved in being shocked at what black people have faced for hundreds of years. Take this very well-meaning and properly outraged tweet:
Since when in America do armed extremists get to intimidate and silence free speech? pic.twitter.com/WtafWcLpkq
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 25, 2018
There’s nothing offensive about this tweet. It’s just that the shock betrays a good bit of white privilege, given that this is exactly what black protestors have faced since the moment they started fighting for their rights and during every protest movement since. Such it is and such it will probably always be. I’m not going to worry too much about it or tear my hair out over how this movement and march are not properly inclusive of every voice, etc. Such is the way to nothing happening, even if it does expose larger problems around race and privilege in our society. And to the credit of the students, there’s no evidence I have seen that they aren’t taking these issues seriously.
The reality is that armed white thugs have been a problem in basically every protest movement in American history. Taking their guns away is a good way to solve this problem. Let’s hope that is in the future.