For a while now, almost every supposed “anti-racism” protest that has been held has also had a contingent of non-protestors openly displaying firearms. This comes after armed protests in places like Michigan over the lockdown, in which the media made a point of vilifying with every fiber of their being.
Now, some are working to continue the vilification. You see, those people with guns at the protests? They’re counter-protesting a protest against racism.
Guns & America analyzed media reports and social media that tracked these armed counterprotesters. The picture that emerges is one of largely peaceful protests erupting all over the country after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd and being met by the intimidating presence of armed civilians, from California to Idaho to Ohio to North Carolina.
[Vanderbilt professor Amy] Cooter says armed counterprotesters, mostly white and some members of the anti-federal militia movement, have a range of motivations. Some are explicitly racist, others feel threatened by change, and some genuinely fear looting and chaos.
“I think that the real commonality is this idea that they all have some mythologized version of an ideal past,” she said.
I’m pretty sure that Cooter hasn’t actually talked to many of these folks, but I have.
Now, I won’t say definitively that no racists have come out to these things armed because, well, I haven’t talked to everyone. Yet the people I’ve spoken with have told me the reason they attend these protests while armed is that they’ve seen what happened in Minneapolis, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and many other cities and they don’t want that happening to their communities.
Still others are outraged over mobs tearing down statues of historical figures. They show up in an effort to defend those statues from mob justice. That’s what happened in Albuquerque, after all.
No one I spoke with has a problem with “anti-racism” as far as the idea goes. They oppose some of the individual tenets of it, such as the idea that all white people are racist by default and can never really hope not to be; but the idea of opposing racism? Not an issue. Nore is there any fear of change, either.
The order attributed to the motivations, whether that was Cooter or the author, is intentional and deliberate, though. By putting racism first and foremost, that will be interpreted by many to be the primary motivation. It’s not. Neither is feeling “threatened by change,” which is nothing more than a veiled attempt to also label the motivations as racism. After all, if these are anti-racism protests and people are threatened by that potential change, wouldn’t that make them racists?
Of course, calling them “counter-protestors” of an anti-racism protest does that all on its own, even without Cooter’s contribution.
And, honestly, it’s infuriating.
Look, I have no doubt that racism still exists. The problem is that when everything is ascribed to being racist, it’s virtually impossible to suss out the actual racists. Especially when you’re attributing racist motivations to people who almost universally have no such thing.