Only Black people riot

It’s a belief that is most certainly not true yet often believed and repeated.

Mainstream media, social media, talking heads, pundits (indie or otherwise) have been in over drive in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed teenager Mike Brown. The accompanying protests and riots fill timelines, news feeds, streams, and airwaves. The ugly sides of some people are on full display in 140-characters or less. In the discussions, people may and will disagree yet no matter how much they try to justify their point, the words they use in that discourse will highlight their inner beliefs and betray their defense.

Some of the comments that are going around tries to push the idea that these riots are par for the course for Black people. Of course it’s not true but it’s what people believe due to an ongoing fear of Black folks. The way Black people are depicted in the media and entertainment adds fuel to the idea that Black people are all violent criminals and thugs, so of course when something like this happens some will argue against the innocence of the Black victim. To that point, Darren Wilson described Mike Brown as looking like “a demon” in his description of the events. The comments going around perpetuate the idea that Black people are violent; that only Black people riot. Jesse Jess, author, and founder of The Annual Underground Music Awards and The A&R Power Summit, tweeted numerous examples to the contrary showing White people rioting. Others gave similar examples.

I collected the tweets via Storify but it won’t embed here. I have crossposted the full thing as usual on

It’s a comparison that has been shown before.

When black people riot, it’s because of injustice — and that isn’t condoning the rioting that leaves black communities in shambles.
But let’s look at events this past weekend in two white communities. Yes, there were riots. No, they were not rioting about injustice. I’m quite sure that some of those who rioted don’t even care about the death of black men at the hands of police. — Black People Riot Over Injustice; White People Riot Over Pumpkins and Football

Of course riots aren’t exclusive to black people. Injustice in Europe has been met with riots many times. There were riots over tuition hikes, football matches, and in protest over the deaths of citizens.

It should also be noted that not everyone is rioting. Rioters only make up a small portion of those protesting the injustice of the grand jury decision. Some of those protesters are even attempting to protecting the neighborhoods from the rioters. It also must be said that it’s not only Black men and women out there showing their dissatisfaction with Wilson not being indicted.

As long as you believe that only Black people riot and that Black folks are inherently violent even in the face of contrary evidence you display the true feelings you hold for Black men, women, and children and your belief that you are better. I wonder if there is a word for that.

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