Tuesday has just been a new opportunity for many to come together in a single embrace of solidarity with the cause of African Americans, after the death of George Floyd. The initiative was attended by musicians, actors, major museums, social media companies and ordinary users who, by blacking their pages and stopping online activity, wanted to make their closeness feel to the protests that are inflaming the cities of the United States in these days, under the hashtags #blackouttuesday and #theshowmustbepaused.
There’s been no lack of dissent among the fans who criticised the move for being reductive and, in some cases, accused their favourites of simply making propaganda or taking advantage of the entire situation to promote their new projects. One of the most attacked pages was certainly the one dedicated to the A Clockwork Orange movie, which through its adhesion has given way to many fans to be surprised and realize — or at least to ask themselves — for the first time, what their all-time favorite movie was really about. There were many who, disappointed, have chosen to unfollow.
The shares of a collage that compares an image of a 1965 march led by Martin Luther King captioned as “this is a protest”, with an image of black people vandalizing a store captioned as “this is a crime”, were rather very successful in these days. The same thematic has been raised in the descriptions and comments to the images of the buildings burned in Minneapolis — including a police station — on the same day of the death of George Floyd.
In the meantime, while George’s family has hired their own pathologist after the official autopsy claimed he did not die of strangulation or asphyxiation — the preliminary results of the county’s autopsy suggest he died from a combination of heart disease and “potential intoxicants in his system” that were exacerbated by the restraint placed on him by police officers — and cop Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday, demonstrations over the death of George have continued and escalated in recent days, as protesters show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and speak out against police brutality.
Chaos in the streets of Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, where people dance and destroy. Multiple stores were looted in Manhattan East Village and NoHo — undercover cops would storm out of nowhere to tackle some rioters, while many police chasing looters and tackling to the ground in at least one instance pulling out taser.
From Portland police taking a knee to a Maryland lieutenant reading names of police brutality victims, some officers listened and marched alongside George protesters, even if their gestures, besides moving, are still viewed with suspicion. A man wielding a machete was beaten by protesters in Dallas on Saturday night. Police said he was trying to “allegedly protect his neighborhood from protesters”.
A great blackout. After seeing the harrowing images of George death, that feeling of empathy now already seems to be polluted with attention-seeking and a big confusion of ideas, especially in those who are not directly involved. All as always fomented by the now omnipresent shadow of politics.
Here is the cry of a black girl with her head down, hands in the hands of a military man, rising very high on the fuss of the media, the supporters of “the right way” to protest, all those for whom “all lives matter” and all the Internet chains of solidarity, letting them melt like the stores and the buildings in these American nights:
“People may not understand the anger that we feel. People may not understand the situation that they handle.”