Why Do They Riot? Rioting & The Overflow of Racial Trauma

Topic: Uncategorized

Below is a Twitter thread I posted earlier today on the connection between rioting and racial trauma:

Have you ever gotten so angry you threw your phone? So undone by the toxicity of your domestic situation that you smashed a plate or glass? Most people have experienced rage or emotional anguish so severe it has led them to break their surroundings as an outlet for relief. Throughout history, African Americans have rioted out of an overflow of both trauma and emotional anguish.

1. I recognize this position may get me in a little trouble, but I want to speak bluntly regarding the recent riots we are seeing in Minneapolis. Based on the various commentaries I have seen on social media, and the conversations I have had over the years, I don’t believe I share White America’s sentiments regarding black people & rioting. Generally speaking, white people tend to care more about the rioting itself than the overflow of trauma/pain that leads to such destruction.

2. When White America riots, it has always been either an expression of power or due to overflow of anger at losing power over others. We see this in the recent demonstrations that have taken place. A few years ago, we had white supremacists rioting and they even ran over a young girl killing her. During this Covid Pandemic, we have seen white men marching with masks and guns demanding that service workers go back to work in order to serve them.

When black people have rioted, historically speaking, it has always been due to the overflow of trauma & the reactionary rage that occurs when a community has been squeezed too hard for too long.

3. When Dr. King was assassinated, it was a boiling point. The black community had already lost many of its leaders & then Dr. King, a man so defined by his work in peaceful resistance was violently murdered. All the trauma & rage overflowed into the streets like a volcano… 

4. To my recollection, Rodney King was 1st recorded police beating in America. What was happening regularly was finally caught on video for world to see. PROOF of the racialized violence black people endured by police. All the cops involved got off, and in response the traumatized black community of LA erupted with rage. 

5. Here’s the thing that many don’t seem to understand, but it is historically verifiable. There would be no progress in Civil Rights if it wasn’t for the volcanic eruption of black pain. Fear of what America COULD become is what motivated White America to grant justice.

6. White America does not listen to the laments of Black people unless it’s forced to. Historically speaking, white America has always waited until the black community has exploded due to its ongoing trauma & rage at injustice before they’ve been willing to act… out of fear.

7. I do not condone rioting, but I also recognize it as a part of the cycle within a society that establishes caste systems. People who wield power against others can only do so for so long before those under the oppression explode. Power is rarely ever willfully relinquished.

8. It doesn’t have to be this way. Black and white people COULD come together and make a stand against the Kingdom of Darkness and the racialized oppression it has promoted within our world. It will not happen unless there are white people willing to count the very real cost. 

9. But white people NEED to understand that the riots and devastations happening right now in Minneapolis are the fruit of racial trauma. It is what happens when White America turns a deaf ear to racial oppression and injustice for so long that those under it explode.

10. Perspective matters. I am not justifying rioting, I know some will interpret these words as such but that’s not what I’m doing. I am simply providing perspective and explaining the “why” rather than doing the easy thing of just condemning and dismissing. ✌🏽❤️

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