Wednesday, May 27, 2020

On Display

Toxic white entitlement was everywhere in the news yesterday. It was certainly front and center in Howard County as protestors turned out in Old Ellicott City without masks, and without observing physical distancing guidelines, in order to hold up signs that might as well have said, “Look at me” and “I’m special, too!”

Yes, white entitlement was on display at the so-called non-politcal protest against the County Executive’s policies for guiding our community through the Covid 19 crisis. 

On a day when we saw the weaponization of a call to the police and, elsewhere, the horrors of what happen when the police show up, how eerie to see one of these Howard County protestors carrying a sign emblazoned with the words “Blue Lives Matter”. 

  Photo credit: Re-open Howard County

What does that have to do with reopening businesses? How is that in any way non-political? 

How unbelievably entitled one must feel to turn one’s back on the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubery, Finan Berhe, Brionna Taylor...

Didn’t any of those protestors say to that man, “hey, that sign is out of line”? Or “That’s not what the protest is about.” I doubt it.

Entitled. “believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.”

It’s not just somewhere out there, in a park in New York City, or on the streets of Minneapolis. It’s standing at the courthouse in Old Ellicott City in the middle of a pandemic, making demands. Saying, “you owe us.”

White entitlement says that it is always whiteness that will belong in any given space and that you are completely justified in any action you take to protect that space from people who are different. It is your right to demand police intervention if “those people” make you uncomfortable, or if you imagine they might be dangerous. Go ahead and make that call even if you interpret their presence as an annoyance or an inconvenience. 

When an all-white group assembles to protest the policies of a Black County Executive during a public health crisis that is hitting Black and Brown communities the hardest, that, my friends, is entitlement. 

                     Photo credit: Re-open Howard County

For that matter, when you hear people complain about those noisy Muslims celebrating Eid and disturbing their quiet neighborhood and wondering why the police don’t enforce zoning regulations, get the picture.

That’s entitlement. That’s white supremacy at work. It cannot be separated from the violence that crushes Black lives across this country. It is one and the same.

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