If the hundreds of rioters had been primarily black males

October 20, 2013

If the hundreds of rioters had been primarily black males, would your reaction have been the same?  That’s a question I asked myself as I read more about how hundreds of mostly white men rioted in Bellingham Saturday, October 12th – just north of Western Washington University.

Glass bottles, dishes, cinder blocks, lawn chairs and cans were thrown at officers, police cruisers, a city bus and other rioters, Bellingham Police Lt. Mike Johnston said.

Several officers received minor injuries from broken glass, according to a police press release.

Several vehicles were taken out of service with several thousand dollars in damage, according to a news release. A city bus and private property were also damaged by the thrown objects.

It was the rowdiest crowd that Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon said he had seen in his more than 20 years in law enforcement.

Officers in an armored vehicle and riot gear used pepper balls, smoke and “flash-bang” devices to disperse the crowd of 300 to 400 that refused to leave the intersection, Johnston said. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/10/13/3257033/hundreds-riot-on-high-street-in.html

I know the frame I’ve been socialized to use for this: “Boys will be boys”  “College students do stupid things.”  I also know the frame I’ve been socialized to use if this had been a group of black males: “Hoodlums” “Drug Dealers” “Fear.”

Every moment of every day, I need to “check my frame” to honestly examine where the judgments I’m making have taken root in my life.  I’m responsible for uprooting the evil of racism.

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