Okay, America, show us your…chalk outlines?
For the last 50 years or so, maybe a little longer, we in the United States have seen mass demonstrations for a variety of causes: civil rights (when that cause DID need to be advanced and laws in many parts of the country WERE unjust), willful pregnancy termination and in turn the rights of the children killed in the procedure, being taxed into oblivion, among other causes. Â It is our right as Americans to do so within the framework of the law and without violating anyone else’s rights.
So long as looting, rioting, gratuitous killing, arson, grand larceny, etc., is not involved, every opinion is permitted. Â (Just remember, other people have the right to disagree.) Â And then came the “Die-In”.
Here in 2014, the year that featured two very publicized cases of criminals who happened to be black (cast as the victims) dying at the hands of police (unintentional in both cases) who happened to be white, we now have the latest craze in “peaceful” protesting. Â Inspired by the chalk outline left after a dead body is removed from the street drawn by police, a bunch of college students thought it would be cute to lay down in the middle of a busy street in an inner ring suburb of St. Louis and block traffic one afternoon. Â (The actual original Die-In was in University City in The Loop almost at the city limits, not Ferguson.) Â That they were taking the side of a “victim” who had committed a felony just before he attacked a police officer and was in the process of attacking him again when he was shot and killed by the cop in self-defense seems to be beside the point.
Since then, the “Die-In” has spread like wildfire among idealistic Americans who champion the underdog (an American cultural trait) and honestly want the police to be the true villains in the racism narrative pushed by the prevailing media and educational heavy-weights. Â People are laying down in shopping malls and in the middle of streets to protest white police killing black people. Â If this concept was an honest to goodness reality, and there was some sort of epidemic of white police outright killing scores of young blacks just because they can, articles like this one would not be written. Â But, that is not the case. Â The statistics just do not bear this out. Â In this sense, the Die-In is romantic folly.
What the Die-In really is, though, is a protest novelty. Â It has become the demonstration of choice for those seeking to draw attention to racial oppression in the United States. Â Like the issue of taking up the cause of a felon being a victim, the reality of the situation does not seem to play into the hearts and minds of the living dead. Â They are trying to bring awareness to something called “white privilege” a concept that those who are caucasian haven’t quite figured out how to verbalize doesn’t exactly exist. Â It seems to be a plight invented to get minorities who are down on their luck or who are struggling to believe that there is a malevolent force other than government and elitists keeping them down. Â They don’t want to hear that plenty of whites have been victimized by the same institutions. (Seriously, there are plenty of us white people who are discriminated against because of our build, height, religion, ethnicity, etc.) Â In the meantime, the Die-In is pretty easy to do, ultimately no one is physically hurt (hopefully), and material damage is kept to a minimum. Â It also makes for easy imagery, but that’s another matter.
Last night in Philadelphia, after the Eagles game, hundreds of protesters Died-In along a well traveled route. Â The police had plenty of notice and were able to avert traffic in the “City of Brotherly Love” which we all know is more wishful thinking these days than not. Â The same scenario played out as has been happening all over the country: the protesters lay down and block traffic, motorists get ticked and start honking their horns, sooner or later somebody yells “get a job” and no progress is made on getting any of the people involved in a serious discussion of the honest to goodness systemic issues within American subcultures that are the root causes of the crime and disrespect that leads to Americans being shot by police. Â That would be difficult. Â Lying down in the middle of a busy street, in comparison is easy. Â It’s also now fashionable among a certain set.
And that is what makes the Die-In a fad. Â Like other forms of protesting, it too will fade into the sunset once the next protest craze appears.