The Revolution was Never Meant to be Pretty

Save your “what about”s for never
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(Image: Canva)

editor’s note

The following article will talk about current events in Minnesota and describe police brutality.  I chose to omit videos of the looting as well as links to tweets about police brutality being genocide to protect the identities of vulnerable individuals. I chose to include violent tweets from US President Donald Trump to provide context for topics discussed in the article.

Last night, President Donald Trump deployed Minnesota’s National Guard to Minneapolis following viral videos showing protesters looting a Target store and proceeding to set it on fire. Additonally, three police precincts were set on fire.

These measures were in response to the murder of George Floyd, who died by asphyxiation while being held on the ground. Trump, who thought this was an inappropriate response, tweeted the following: 

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(SCREENSHOT: Twitter; highlights mine)
Twitter rightfully flagged the tweet as glorifying violence, but it still sends a daunting message when our nation’s leader is tweeting this. In typical Trump fashion, he circled back on his war against social media, said Vox.

This turn of events, naturally enough, led Trump to pivot back to one of his other major themes this week — threatening regulatory consequences for social media companies that anger him.” 

While Trump’s online behavior is normally unsurprising, this was unsettling for me. If the President of the United States expressly threatens violence against people protesting genocide, he is exhbiting behaviors of a dictator, and this is America, the supposed land of the free.

To be colloquial, Black people been knew that was a lie. When we are three times more likely to be murdered by police than white people, this alleged “free” world does not feel so free.

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(PHOTO: Twitter)
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(PHOTO: Twitter)
In response to the backlash against looters, Sima Lee tweeted: “WE. DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. PEACEFULLY. PROTEST. OUR. OWN. GENOCIDE.” And that was the tweet right there. 

As Kwame Ture said, “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.” Although he said this during the civil rights era, it still holds relevance today. We are facing a health pandemic, yet that is only in the Top 5 of pandemics Black people are facing.

Ahmaud Arbery’s tragic murder provides more context for this.

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(PHOTO: Twitter)
According to reports, Arbery was jogging in a Georgia suburb when two men stopped him. Gregory McMichael said that Arbery fit the description to a burglar, so he and his son Travis McMichael tried to stop Arbery. Afterward, a tussle ensued, resulting in Arbery’s death.

When the footage hit Twitter, there was an uproar; it was yet another reminder of the utter disregard for Black life. Like George Zimmerman, it was a white overseer playing judge, jury, and executioner. What makes the tragedy more fatal is the inability to protest, said Arbery’s family.

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(PHOTO: Twitter)
“[Arbery’s loved ones] have worried that the case…might quietly disappear in their Deep South community, because social-distancing restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak have made it difficult for them to gather and protest,” wrote Richard Fausset, an Atlanta-based correspondent for the New York Times.

This is a chilling yet important point: there is no way to protest and follow social distancing guidelines. For me, this raises an equally chilling question: how do we grieve Black lynching deaths while still processing Black COVID-19 deaths?

Which brings us right back to Minnesota. Already, there has been discourse about why it is wrong or chaotic, but before you begin putting out your thinkpieces supporting that discourse, consider this one thing: the revolution was never meant to be pretty. ~

javanna plummer, rwebel in chief

Javanna is the editor of “Rwebel Magazine,” the architect behind “Rwebel Radio,” and the pioneering force of “Xscape.” Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking


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