Will black people riot if Obama doesn’t win?


It’s funny, two different people hear that question and you get two different answers.  Wendi C Thomas in Will White People Riot, on October 20th, on The Root answers the question this way:

Would black people riot if Sen. Barack Obama didn’t win the election?” That was the question a white man in Memphis recently asked a racial reconciliation group with which I am involved.

After five years of being a columnist for the daily paper in Memphis, I wasn’t surprised by the absurdity of his query. Many whites still labor under the illusion that black folk act en masse and that if you ask the right one, you can get the official position of some 40 million people. If a few of us get angry, that logic allows, it must surely result in a riot.

Riot because we didn’t get our way? Please. Black people have more than their share of experience with disappointment and dashed dreams. (See: King, Martin Luther; Evers, Medgar; Chaney, James.) Matter of fact, I’d go so far as to say we’re experts in making the best out of a losing hand.

The reply to the curious white gentleman: “No! There is no reason to believe black people will riot if Obama does not win.”

Of course reading it this way, I cannot escape the inherent racism in the question.  It is patently absurd.  The idea that Ms. Thomas can answer for 40 million people or that all 40 million people would feel and respond the same way is ridiculous.  It ignores the fact that all black people do not support Obama as well as all the white people who do.  It’s utterly preposterous.  But what I thought when I heard the question is, why wouldn’t black people riot?  Why wouldn’t we all?

I thought of the fact that the last two elections have essentially been fixed and we’ve had a president for 8 years who was not elected by the people of this country, but by the Supreme court.  He was put into office by politicians (including his brother the governor of Florida), the CEO of Diebold (manufacturer of electronic balloting machines) who promised to “deliver him the state of Ohio” in 2004, by dangling chads and most of all by the apathy of the American people.  We should have been rioting back then.  Why wouldn’t we riot now?

Obama has been ahead in the polls and in the estimated tally of Electoral College votes he will garner on the fourth for so long that a McCain victory at this point would almost certainly mean our election has been hijacked for the third time in a row.  Will black people riot?  I should hope so, I plan to.  If he doesn’t win I will be in San Francisco rioting for the first time in my life and I’ll be in DC shortly thereafter.  I will riot, and strike, and protest and fight until the wrong has been undone.  Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Greens, Peace & Freedomers and Democrats should take to the streets and take back our government.  Whether you vote for Obama or not, it should scare you that the citizens of this country have not picked the president in the last two elections, and if McCain wins, in a third.

Riot?  I should hope so.


4 Responses to Will black people riot if Obama doesn’t win?

  1. DianaGL says:

    In Los Angeles, where we lived through the Rodney King riots because “black people didn’t get their way” the prospect of rioting is real and scary. Today, the supermaket parking lots in my neighborhood were unusually chock full, never saw so many cars on a Sunday afternoon parked at the supermarkets. People are stalking up just in case the city goes into a ridiculous, burining cycle. So, you’re assurances are baseless. I can tell you one thing, if your people do riot, you can kiss a democratic candidacy goodbye for the next 100 years. It is that simple. So, I suggest the leaders of the Black Community start calming people down and stop confirming something that has not happened yet. BO has not won yet. The people have not yet spoken.

  2. DianaGL says:

    Now I read the rest of your article and find that your tactic is exactly what you should do to ensure your kind will NEVER rule ANYTHING in this country. NEVER. Go ahead, riot, kill, burn, do whatever you feel like doing. But just know, you are a minority, and you will be squashed if you do. It is preposterous that you should use fear and threats to force upon us the most liberal, unprepared and inexperienced candidate in history. Shame on you. You should be thankful you live in the USA, you should give thanks to God you are not dying of Aids back in Africa. Shame on you for not being thankful for this wonderful country.

  3. achievementgap says:

    I lived in LA during the Rodney King rebellion too, and DianaGL is right about one thing… it was scary. What was even scarier was four white cops getting away with near murder. That miscarriage of justice created an explosion of outrage in the community that was frightening. That’s what happens when you deny people their basic rights. Rioting is no joke. Feeling like rioting is your only option is no joke either.

    If the Republican party hijacks a third election in a row, in this case the right to elect our own president will be in question. The people of this country have an obligation, if not to riot, to protest without rest until our voices are heard and our votes are counted. I’ll be out there on the street doing my part if that happens, and I encourage others to do the same. THAT is what my post is about. Not about black people rioting because they ‘didn’t get their way.’

    As to DianaGL’s opinion – she is an ignorant, racist, cruel, hateful, bigoted, illogical fool. I am angry and disgusted. Just reading her words made me feel dirty, like I’d stepped in a great big steaming pile of Nazi shit. Knowing I share a not just a country but a gender and a name with this person makes me want to emigrate and apply for gender reassignment surgery at the same time.

  4. Wesley says:

    The “people” do not choose the president anyway, we choose the electors. And the Supreme Court deciding the election is legal according to the Constitution. Voting fraud on the other hand is a different story (and if proven should be prosecuted), but we are not a pure democracy, nor should we be. No matter who wins, I will never riot, nor be violently rebellious against the authority placed over me, especially if the only reason is “I demand more democracy then the constitution gives us”.

    The “People” do not have a right to riot on their own authority because they don;t like the government. They have the right to vote, and to protest and to get involved in the system, but not over turn social order.

    But then, I support a repeal of the 17th amendment…

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