I have been jotting down all kinds of thoughts about the race and gender related events these last few months and I never seem to be able to get my arms around the whole in order to take the first bite, but I think the events on I-93 in Boston this morning have given me a place to start.
If you live in the Boston area, you know all about it. If not, maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't. The reports are still coming in, but starting at around 7:30 this morning, twenty or thirty activists representing the #blacklivesmatter movement chained themselves to barrels and each other to block both the north and southbound lanes of 1-93 in Boston. What is normally a frustrating commute for the famously cranky Boston drivers escalated into something much worse. In the end, the protesters were cut from their shackles, arrested and removed. There are a lot of initial reports, but not a lot of detail about who these people are and what their objective was. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
So I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of questions. The activists do appear to be primarily, if not entirely white, so a part of me is happy to think that there are white allies of the #blacklivesmatter movement who are willing to risk their safety, get arrested and most certainly become the objects of disdain and hatred for their actions.
In fact, it does do my heart good (stay with me) to know that there are still people who believe strongly enough in something (anything) that they are willing to do something that is certain to come at a great personal cost. Hell, my selfish generation was too busy trying to figure out how to get rich to get behind anything greater than ourselves.I'd have loved a cause to rebel against back in the day.
But. But. I don't know anything about activism and to be honest, it's never appealed to me as an effective mechanism for change, but I think they're doing it wrong. Who are these people? Are they local? Are they part of a larger group? If you shut down rush hour traffic in Boston you will most certainly raise awareness of the injustices of the legal system, but you probably aren't going to make any new friends or garner any sympathy.
Do activist demonstrations ever do any good?
If a demonstration is held in a place where there's no disruption, then you won't anger anyone, but you may not make people think, either. If you hold a demonstration where you interrupt hundreds, if not thousands of people, you will get their attention, but to what end?
How do black #blacklivesmatter activists feel about the spectacle? Can this kind of activity actually harm it?
What was the point? I can understand protesting a certain event, or outside the police station or court house tied to a specific case, but what was the point?
Anyone? Any activists or old hippies out there who can defend this action or critique it for me?