On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause. I saw an elderly black woman being interviewed today in tears because the only grocery store in her neighborhood had been trashed. If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.
The mystifying ideological claim that looting is violent and non-political is one that has been carefully produced by the ruling class because it is precisely the violent maintenance of property which is both the basis and end of their power. Looting is extremely dangerous to the rich (and most white people) because it reveals, with an immediacy that has to be moralized away, that the idea of private property is just that: an idea, a tenuous and contingent structure of consent, backed up by the lethal force of the state. When rioters take territory and loot, they are revealing precisely how, in a space without cops, property relations can be destroyed and things can be had for free.
“A man divided against himself, by definition, lacks integrity.” -Alan Watts
Unwillingness to be honest with ourselves about ourselves leads to an unrealistic assessment of our actions.
Values and actions become disconnected. Creating a life that veers away from integrity.
How do you discovery identity within oppression?
People of privilege (middle class / white / college educated / male / etc) don't see themselves as vital cogs in the wheels of oppression.
They do not see the oppressed.
They do not see themselves.
They can't see themselves. The disconnect between their values and their lived lives is too great.
Reconciling that disconnect, in a world that has only ever told them their comfort is divine, is extremely painful.
The privileged push this pain / fear / guilt away by establishing relationships that nurture complex, largely unspoken, social norms which justify and excuse oppression. That hide behind the ego by way of fictional internal and external heroic narratives.
This traps them in a cycle:
Feel: pain / guilt / fear
Double down on consumer comfort - Elevate the supposed life in the perks of privilege (‘finer things’)
Achieve some degree of those comforts - by real or unrealistic methods (IE: credit) and by profiting from disconnected oppression
Feel “relief” - Which is really “newness”
Feel: pain / guilt / fear
Double down on comfort
Compromising integrity is a slippery slope. The refusal to try and see oneself as one truly is makes meaningful change feel impossible.
What starts as a collection of bad habits becomes a system of values.