There’s a lot that I don’t know about being black, but I’m wondering if any black person who reads J.F. Kelly’s editorial (June 10) might not think: this guy is not really listening. Commenting on the protesting and the craziness that’s occurred in many cities recently, Mr. Kelly focuses primarily on the burning and mayhem, as if that is the main story. I don’t think that’s even close to being the main story.
Nobody really needs any lectures about the futility of burning and looting businesses, especially in your own neighborhood. Looking for the logic of that destruction is a fool’s errand: the looting par is easier to understand. That’s just common thievery - and no rational person would try to justify that. It’s clearly not the intent of the vast majority of protesters.
I’ve heard a lot of interviews with a variety of black people in the last couple of weeks and they mostly are not dwelling on the sad pointlessness of the destruction.Nearly every one of those people, young or old, comes across as just a typical American citizen. All with the same message: the structure of our society, this year, last year and last century, simply isn’t working, for a large segment of our population. and I think a lot of those average people are fed up with that status quo.
Look at it this way: let’s say a black man, any age, leaves a party at my house at 12:30 a.m. and decides that it would be nice to take a walk around my neighborhood before he calls it a night. There’s a pretty good chance that he’s going to be stopped; at least, he’ll be thinking a lot about that. I gather that every black man thinks about that, all the time. I, on the other hand, can walk almost anywhere I want, anytime I want. In some very fundamental ways, I am free and he is not.
I think my own opinions about how to address that have been changing a little bit, lately. I’ve certainly not purposefully tried to support an unjust status quo, but have maybe not really tried to do too much about it, either. Mr. Kelly reminds me that it might be time to adjust my thinking about that.