In the past week or so, my Facebook feed has been flooded with black profile pictures and tons of posts from white people trying to sympathize with the BLM movement.
We've also seen white people joining the BLM rallies in cities all across America.
But apparently that isn't sitting so well with everyone within the BLM movement.
The Des Moines chapter just posted this message to their Instagram:
If you can't see that, here is a screenshot:
The full text reads:
IMPORTANT: We are asking that our white allies stand down from organizing future actions in regards to the movement for Black lives. Unfortunately, these actions have consistently failed to achieve solidarity in action, smybolism and the demands - or lack there of - presented. We appreciate your love and support, and believe your passion and dedication to this movement will be BEST suited in uplifting the actions and voicing of Black people in central Iowa and across the state. Please stay tuned into our communication channels for more details on how you can assist in liberating us ALL from white supremacy.
Where do I even start?
Talk about "no good deed goes unpunished" huh?
I guess we will just start at the beginning.
Is it just me or does telling someone (or a whole race of people in this case) to "stand down" sound more like a military term or terms of conquest rather than terms of cooperation or even peaceful protest?
And this is what you say to the people out there protesting with you and trying to help you?
Then I guess we can just skip to the end where we end up with "white supremacy".
Quite a charge to make!
Who exactly are they alleging are white supremacists?
In the middle of that statement, they talk about their demands.
I was curious to learn what those are, and they can be found here:
If you can't read this, try this:
This isn't the first time white people have been told they can't truly understand or support the movement.
Just a few days ago, Forbes posted an article titled "Black Lives Matter: If You're White, Pass The Mic" picking up on the same theme (written ironically by a white man).
Here is an excerpt:
White people can, by definition, never truly know what it is like to live your life as black. So as Black friends tell me, it’s offensive and problematic when they try. In the aftermath of the Floyd killing we have seen a surge of corporate statements, celebrity tweets and social media posts from ordinary white people.
This increased consciousness is welcome. Acknowledging racism and calling it out is a great first step. But ultimately, this increased awareness is useful only as far as it prompts policy changes, less racism and more justice.
For example, it’s great that Adidas and Nike have retweeted each other’s anti-racism messages[i]. But that’s actually quite easy to do. What’s harder is for them to proactively include black people in their corporate hierarchy and decision-making.
Adidas’ Executive Board of six is five white men and one white woman[ii]. Nike’s Executive Board of ten is seven white men and three white women.[iii] It’s structural changes, not tweets, that will ultimately tackle racism.
Local KCRG had the following to report on the Des Moines BLM protests:
The Des Moines Black Lives Matter group made an additional list of demands Saturday for lawmakers and Gov. Kim Reynolds.
According to television station KCCI, The new list includes the decriminalization of cannabis, expunging the records of arrests made from protests this week, an executive order to immediately restore voting rights for felons, and an end to juvenile detention.
The group also suggested using funds from the police department and redirecting it to housing, education, health care and more.
On Friday, the Des Moines Black Lives Matter group had provided five points of demands. These demands included justice for DarQuan Jones, a black man who was assaulted on Des Moines’ south side earlier this month and was called racial slurs during the attack. They also asked for a more thorough investigation into the death of Abdi Sharif, a Des Moines 18-year-old who was found dead in the Des Moines River after being missing for months.
They asked for the firing and arrest of Thomas Garcia and Brian Foster for arresting protesters while pulling them out of their apartment building's elevator.
The Black Lives Matter group also asked for the police department to return confiscated property back to protesters.
Finally, they asked for an apology from Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert for what the group called "violent and aggressive behavior" from the department.