Making protesters the enemy, or Do you really think this won’t target people of color?

Arizona has a history of not being very progressive. Banning ethnic studies classes and attempting to extend the bans to more institutions in various efforts from 2015-2017 and for the longest time refusing to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day (more on all that and more here).

And now, this year, legislation passed in the Senate (and perhaps one day to become law) to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent. An effort that would punish even the peaceful protesters.

Let that sink in.

If the protest is planned as being peaceful, if the organizers have no plans for violence, and just a few people turn things violent, everyone involved is to blame.

Imagine having a party in which one deranged person shoots up your place and hurts or kills people, and suddenly you and all the other guests are facing charges. Somehow, I can’t imagine that kind of law being passed.

This is, without a doubt, nothing more or less than an attempt to quash dissent. It is a way of making sure that if a protest isn’t to the liking of the Arizona government, they can jail anyone they want to discourage other protests and to inhibit their ability to be planned or carried out in the future. All if just one person manages to go rogue and turn things ugly.

Remember the protests in Ferguson, Missouri? Remember how militarized that became? How entire neighborhoods…really, the non-white ones…were locked down and Black people were threatened by police for being on their own lawns outside? How only a handful of people turned violent and many protesters put out fires, and yet every bit of violence turned into an excuse for police to be violent and repressive of everyone? Mostly everyone who wasn’t white, that is.

The Arizona bill, if it becomes law, would be a model for other states, perhaps even for the Trump regime. And make no mistake, if such laws come to pass and to spread, it will be non-white protesters and their white supporters who are punished almost exclusively. (And, most likely, as is typically the case in the justice system, the non-white people will be punished more harshly, the harshest policing and punishments for the darkest.)

It wasn’t that many years ago that a New Hampshire festival turned violent thanks to white people. And it’s not the only time things like that happen at the hands of white people. Were white people blamed by authorities? No. It was just outside agitators or random unruly white people. Just “misguided youth,” even if they were grown-ups (whereas Black and Brown people are labeled “thugs” and children of the same hue seen as “adult” criminals). White people are known to flip cars and burn buildings when their sports teams lose (and sometimes when they win), yet it’s not a white issue. Yet let a protest over racial issues that is led by people of color turn violent and those non-white people are the problem. Not just the agitators or outsiders…but all the non-white people. No one seriously asks, “How did the white community let their people get violent?” But all too many ask very seriously, “How do these communities of color let this happen?”

This Arizona action is not aimed at conservative white protesters. It is aimed at non-whites, Muslims, LGBTQ people and probably women, too, though I imagine a white feminist protest if it turned violent would probably see relative slaps on the wrist compared to the other groups.

Beyond the implications of violating Constitutional protections of free speech, this is a racist and bigoted move. White supremacist patriarchy in full oppressive force. Nothing more, nothing less.
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