As is the case with every sports championship in America, media reports of raucous and destructive behavior were beamed out of Philadelphia following the Eagles victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Even before the Philly victory, there were headlines predicting turmoil whether they won or lost.
But it cannot be unstated that many of the same people that reported on this issue also condemned the nonviolent protests of NFL players, as well as those marching to bring attention to social injustice in America stemming from the deaths of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and others.
Back when the Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA mens basketball championship, photos of college aged, blond haired Americans joyously burning sofas and flipping police cars were seldom accompanied with adjectives describing them as hoodlums, thugs or anything of that nature. Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly Love, and that might lead the uninformed to believe it has something to do with its sizable black population. Kind of like how they call Washington, DC Chocolate City.
Additionally, its also the place known for its fighting spirit, a spirit that predates any racial connotations that a phrase like Broad Street Bullies might cause one to envision these days. As is hilariously depicted in the sitcom Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, white folks are not above causing calamities and social upheaval. It is actually a matter of history, and not opinion, to state that most riots in this country are prominently attended by white folks.
They flipped a car over… #EaglesWin #superbowl https://t.co/uR9Sy7OOe7
The “celebrations” in Philadelphia, as traffic poles lay parallel to the ground, windows were smashed, cars overturned and the canopy of the Ritz Carlton destroyed, appeared to be part of the “overzealous fans” and not criminal, as those destroying property were clearly not worried about anything but celebrating a world championship that seemed very unlikely just one month ago.
The Ritz canopy has collapsed https://t.co/9LBolLtIPY
But African Americans looking to have their voices heard via protest marches or sit ins cannot help but notice how much less condemnation their countrymens celebration has received compared with those who are tear gassed, beaten and arrested for simply trying to exercise their First Amendment Rights.
However, these types of comparisons can be so readily pointed to throughout mass media; from the most obscure blogs, through your low power AM broadcast, right up to the big network giants. Wherever we find an intersection at which the mainstream culture’s perception of what is, and is not, acceptable from members of a disenfranchised populous, the later demographic is always found to be lacking in the eyes of the former.
Philly has absolutely 0 chill right now. #SuperBowl https://t.co/RVejpTkbov
Indeed, the human mind is equipped to group alike phenomenon and circumstances into categories to better deal with them. But when it comes to something as simple as race, we still allow the mainstream opinion as a baseline, then extrapolating our unique opinions from that point.
In America, where racial fearmongering and institutional racism have been the true norm of every dealing this country has ever had with people of color, both at home and abroad, its easy to find examples of this paradigm.
The Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City is the largest parade in the city and one of the most popular celebrations of Bouricua culture in the country, perhaps even the world. The parade route winds down 5th Ave, home to some of the most upscale apartment buildings and stores in the city. Yet on this day, those buildings and windows are boarded up and fortified in preparation for the parade.
However, that same stretch of road is also the route for the wildly popular St. Patrick’s Day parade, which draws a large number of people to midtown every March 17th, yet shops remain open for business and buildings aren’t fortified in the same manner. But, that’s not racist, right?
It’s never about what you say, or do, but how and why you say it. Simply boarding up windows prior to a parade says nothing in and of itself. But boarding them up for a parade that celebrates the culture of a so-called ethnic minority, and not boarding them up for a culture that more readily reflects the ideals and sensibilities of the mainstream populous, is definitely a red flag.
The late Dr. Corretta Scott King warned us about Jeff Sessions way back in 1986, but as is often the case when a woman acts as the herald of truth, let alone a black woman, nobody listened. Now, he reigns supreme over what has been the single most effective weapon against black and brown folks that has ever been crafted, the United States Criminal Justice system.
As Attorney General, Sessions has already enacted several measures that are aimed right at black and brown people. However, with the advent of the term “black identity extremist”, they’ve turned the constitutionally protected right of free speech, as well as freedom to gather, into a terrorist act. Black lawmakers and activists are likening the measure to Cointelpro, leaving many to believe they’re already being monitored.
Could you name an African-American organization that has committed violence against police officers? Representative Karen Bass asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a hearing in November. Can you name one today that has targeted police officers in a violent manner?
Its no surprise that he could not. Mr. Sessions, who confessed that he had not read the report, said he would need to confirm and would reply in writing at a later time. The F.B.I. itself admits in the report that, even by its own definition, B.I.E. violence has been rare over the past 20 years.
We know what Attorney General Sessions won’t admit to, that the creation of the “Black Identity Extremist” descriptor isn’t to meet some pressing need, but to be used as a weapon against black people they don’t like, period.
Juxtapose that with the very real and escalating trend of violent white supremacists literally committing acts of terror throughout the country, yet the sitting president’s refusal to even speak on the matter, and you have a very good idea of how the media works; dirt in equals dirt out.
You just go on pouring syrup on sh*t and calling them pancakes. Yet, this is what happens every time the question of race arises in any fashion in America; deflecting, excusing, colluding and confusing the matter under the veil faux ambiguity.
So, when we see that, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars in damage the city of Philadelphia sustained as a result of the Super Bowl celebration, yet news people casting it in as benign a light as possible, we see just how the fostering of a myopic mainstream view in all things race-related will only help exacerbate the same old white-centered world view this country has been operating under since its inception.