In my scenario, the initial riots begin spontaneously across affected urban areas, as SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) and other government welfare recipients learn that their EBT cards no longer function.
This sudden revelation will cause widespread anger, which will quickly lead to the flash-mob looting of local supermarkets and other businesses. The media will initially portray these “food riots” as at least partly justifiable. Sadly, millions of Americans have been made largely, or even entirely, dependent on government wealth transfer payments to put food on their tables...
Most of the mobs will consist of minority urban youths, termed MUYs in the rest of this essay. Which minority doesn’t matter; each urban locale will come with its own unique multi-ethnic dynamic...
Some locales will divide upon religious or political lines, but they will not be the dominant factors contributing to conflict. In the American context, the divisions will primarily have an ethnic or racial context, largely because that makes it easy to sort out the sides at a safe distance. No need to check religious or political affiliation at a hundred yards when The Other is of a different color.
We Americans are all about doing things the easy way, so, sadly, visible racial and ethnic features will form the predominant lines of division.I am not a "shook one." It simply ain't in my nature. I am also not a badman (although in my fantasies, I am a bit of a "bad nigger." But then again, who isn't?).
I am also not a fool who ignores obvious threats to my safety and security.
If you are a public figure--even a mid tier blogger or freelance writer--you learn to develop a thick skin. This is especially true if you write about matters such as race and politics. Hate mail is common; it is to be expected. I imagine that as soon as we upright walking apes developed speech that one of us threw a rock at the leader of the tribe in order to show disapproval. In the age of the Internet, cyber racism has become a common means of silencing conversation, and of intimidating people of color (as well as our white allies and other decent folk).
There is a concerted effort by the White Right to threaten and bully those with whom they disagree. The White Right is organized, coordinated, and sophisticated. Because political thought and speech are the antecedents of political action and violence, we ignore the intimate relationship between between hate speech, cyber-racism, and violence at our own peril.
When I decided to start We Are Respectable Negroes, I pledged my allegiance to the truth. This includes empirical truth, moral truth, philosophical truth, and personal truth. As a ghetto nerd and fan of professional wrestling, I made a promise to myself: I would always be real and honest.The public knows when you are lying, obfuscating, or pretending to be something that you are not. One can only maintain a lie for so long when in the public gaze; the performance will inevitably fail and the cheers--and boos--will stop. To "get over" you have to always be yourself with the volume turned just a little bit up.
My recent essay on gun culture, race, and the media has received thousands of hits. Many of those visitors are from the rank afterbirth and cesspool of the Right-wing blogosphere and gun mania village. Apparently, my common sense observations about the relationship between guns and "angry white men" has hit a nerve among some "defenders" of "liberty" and "freedom." As always, imperiled Whiteness shows its essential character as a state of being that is forever imperiled, afraid, and victimized.
Most of the comments have been unintentionally humorous. Some have been bizarre. Others revealed the depths of hate that are increasingly common to conservatives in the Age of Obama. I tend not to give white racists any shine--as not to encourage them like flies on waste--but I also do not believe in denying the obvious.
There is something wrong in America. The sickness is not new. However, a public lulled into the lie of post-racialism, multicultural democracy, and drunk on the neo-liberal stew of colorblindness, are both ill equipped to understand how white supremacy is a changing same, while also being in deep denial about the old school, lynch culture, dominative racism that lingers in the collective subconscious of White America. For many people of color, this description is apt as well.
Racism denying is common among young black and brown youth because they cannot accept how like their elders, they too have been traumatized by the color line. The white racial frame has "niggerized" them as well--just as it has done to President Obama. What results is a fear that has remained unstated (at least publicly) by many Black Americans: if they can see President Obama as a lazy, stealing, unaccomplished, incompetent black man, how do those same white folks see me, a bus driver, teacher, barber, doctor, attorney, home healthcare worker, or parent?
If the most powerful man in the world is subject to such vicious, public assaults on his personhood because of his racial background, pray tell, what are regular black folks to do when confronted with such animus and hate?
The answer? Survive and overcome just as we always have.
American politics is extremely polarized. Because racial and political values are deeply intertwined, the election of the country's first black president has been a lightning rod that has pushed conservatives and progressives even farther apart. Conservatism and racism are one in the same in contemporary America. Consequently, the election of Barack Obama has inspired a range of white reactionary politics from Birtherism, to the Tea Party movement, to the herrenvolk Ayn Rand "makers" and "takers" Eliminationism of the Republican Party.
While little discussed at the time, several weeks ago the journal Public Opinion Quarterly released an article which demonstrated that there has been a marked increase since 1960 in how negatively voters would feel if their child married someone of a different political party (not surprisingly, Republicans were more "cold" to Democrats, than the other way around).
This is a far higher rate of disapproval than that expressed by Americans towards interracial marriage: the latter received a 63 percent rate of approval, where respondents suggested that "it would be fine" if a member of their family married someone of a different race in a recent Pew survey.
From a certain perspective that change represents progress; on the other hand, it suggests a deep crisis in our civic culture. Americans are unable to come together to solve common issues of public concern because political elites--the Right is preeminently guilty here--have developed a concerted campaign to "otherize" and marginalize those Americans with whom they disagree.
In all, the Right-wing media apparatus feeds conservatives a daily diet of misinformation, distortions, and hate speech in which their foes are described as insects to be crushed, mentally defective, traitors, and people not fit to live. Such rhetoric is not harmless political theater: seeds do indeed bear fruit.
In September, the conservative website the Free Republic published a hypothetical scenario about how the American economy will collapse and "urban" riots by black people will need to be put down by white suburban vigilantes. Right-wing fiction writer Matt Bracken's essay includes the following scenarios.
For example, an indistinguishable, churning, mass of black savagery waylays white people, the former eager to show themselves to be man beast brutes and rapists:
Drivers and passengers of the wrong ethnic persuasions will be pulled from their vehicles to be beaten, robbed, and in some cases raped and/or killed. It will be hyper-violent and overtly racial mob behavior, on a massive and undeniable basis.Never forget that it is easier to kill people when you reduce them to "targets" to be "neutralized" through the use of acronyms, racial slurs, or other "euphemisms."
Some of those trapped in their cars will try to drive out of the area, inevitably knocking down MUY pedestrians and being trapped by even more outraged MUYs. The commuters will be dragged out of their cars and kicked or beaten to death. Other suburban commuters will try to shoot their way out of the lines of stopped cars, and they will meet the same grim fate once they run out of bullets and room to escape.
The mob will be armed with everything from knives, clubs and pistols to AK-47s. A bloodbath will result. These unlucky drivers and their passengers will suffer horribly, and some of their deaths will be captured on traffic web cameras. Later, these terrible scenes will be released or leaked by sympathetic government insiders and shown by the alternative media, which continue to expand as the traditional media become increasingly irrelevant.
The great white defenders of civilization, guns in hand, are ready to defend White Suburban America by mowing down the black horde, just like the British did the Zulus in 19th century colonial Africa.
Here, the suburban warriors establish a lethal kill zone for the "minority urban youth":
When word is received that a flash mob is forming at one of their pre-reconnoitered intersections or highway interchanges, the SAV team will assemble. Sometimes cooperating police will pass tactical intel to their civilian friends on the outside. Some clever individuals will have exploited their technical know-how and military experience to build real-time intel collection tools, such as private UAVs.When even allowing for the naked extremism of the Right-wing blogosphere, this piece of white supremacist fan fiction was an outlier. From obsessions about black flash mobs that are overrunning good and innocent White communities, to a paraphilia for guns, to talk about States' Rights and a second American Civil War, the discourse in the Right-wing media echo chamber constitutes a parallel reality where discussions of violence as a solution to political disagreements are so common that they are met with little to no comment.
Police will have access to urban security camera footage showing MUYs moving barricade materials into position—a normal prerequisite to a flash mob riot intended to stop traffic. Tip-offs to the vigilantes will be common, and where the networks are still functioning, citizens may still be able to access some video feeds. Sometimes, police will even join the SAV teams, incognito and off-duty, blurring the teams into so-called “death squads.”
Each truck is totally nondescript and forgettable, the only detail perhaps being the non-MUY ethnicity of the suburbanite driver and spotter driving relatively near to a riot in progress...
The result is a turkey shoot. One magazine of thirty aimed shots per rifle is expended in under a minute, a coded cease-fire is called on the walkie-talkies, and the trucks drive away at the speed limit. The canvas covering the truck beds contains the shooters’ spent brass. If the trucks are attacked from medium or close range, the canvas can be thrown back and the two snipers with their semi-automatic rifles or carbines will add their firepower to that of the driver and spotter.
Back at the intersection, complete panic breaks out among the rioters as a great number of bullets have landed in human flesh. Over a score have been killed outright, and many more scream in pain for medical attention they will not receive in time. The sniper ambush stops the flash mob cold in its tracks as the uninjured flee in terror, leaving their erstwhile comrades back on the ground bleeding...
They obsess about 5 old men with sticks named the "New Black Panther Party," but Fox News was predictably silent on this story. Other Right-wing media outlets also ignored it. As a counter-factual, imagine what would happen if a prominent liberal or progressive website dared to publish fantasies of a black on white race war? By implication, President Obama would be smeared. The story would be the top news item on Fox. And the Right-wing media would use such "harmless" fiction as an excuse to gin up white racial resentment and fear.
This is who the New Right and the Tea Party GOP really are. They do not even hide their essential nature as it is on display in plain sight. You ignore this reality, however uncomfortable it may be, at your own peril.