Black Lives Matter Chicago warned Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday that the renewed civil unrest that’s gripped the city throughout the summer won’t end until “the safety and well-being of our communities is finally prioritized.”
Since when did breaking into stores equal “civil unrest”? Not rioting. Not looting. Nope. Civil unrest. And just how civil unrestful does Black Lives Matter Chicago threaten?
It would appear from this image that the folks holding the sign, the sort of sign that would appeal only to the most faithful, are white. Yet the sign says “our.” Were their futures “looted” from them?
But then, they’re just holding a sign, as a good ally should, while others were busy taking action.
Ariel Atkins, 29, of the North Side, said looters should take “anything they want to take” as “reparations” as about dozens of officers watched.
“I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci, or a Macy’s, or a Nike, because that makes sure that that person eats, that makes sure that that person has clothes, that makes sure that that person can make some kind of money because this city obviously doesn’t care about them,” Atkins said.
Is “looting” reparations? So it’s argued. Should anyone care if they loot Gucci, a boutique selling very expensive and frivolous items to the wealthy while black people go hungry?
“When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not ‘our’ city and has never been meant for us.”
Of course, looting wasn’t limited to “high-end retail stores,” but that doesn’t fit the story line.
Looters smash the doors of the Ronald McDonald House in Streeterville with families and their sick children inside: pic.twitter.com/H1hkwJBaIv
— DIANE PATHIEU (@pathieuabc7) August 11, 2020
Chicago, unlike the very white Portland, failed to follow the plan, the “mostly peaceful protests” which, when broken, was about those irresponsible yahoos trying to burn down a federal courthouse because reasons. Chicago was just out and out looting, because they could. And so the apologists had to reach into their bag of tricks to pull out their “looting is just another word for justice” inventory.
What decent and moral person doesn’t approve of stealing a pair of Air Jordans from the Nike store by someone who belongs to an oppressed race? Of course, it creates the conundrum of stores having to face the potential that the day’s receipts might be lost in the night’s looting, which suggests that Nike won’t be able to sell Air Jordans if they’ve been stolen the night before. It kinda makes it pointless to have a Nike store in Chicago if Black Lives Matter fulfills its threat of continued civil unrest.
There are some who might contend that this absurd attempt to justify looting is just stupid, but what’s BLM to do? After all, the looting happened, and they can’t pretend it didn’t, even if someone thought enough to prepare a large sign to be held by white allies encouraging looting.
It’s not really a mystery why the Magnificent Mile was looted. They could get away with it and they wanted the stuff behind the windows. Break windows, take stuff. This wasn’t about reparations or the cause, but a Gucci bag, new without tags. And to the extent anyone possesses so few scruples that they can pretend this is a scene out of Les Misérables and Gucci sells loaves of bread, they made a valiant effort to bullshit their way out of their hole.
But the Ronald McDonald House? There’s no radical spin, no critical theory rationalization, that can turn this one around.
The effort to spin looting “rich people stores” into some social justice miracle, rather than BLM Chicago condemning those who steal for fun and profit, however, needs to be the focal point, as this is the sort of rationalization that the unduly passionate will accept with blind faith, even as they chalk up Ronald McDonald House to an aberration, mistaken for the Louis Vuitton flagship boutique.
Once people accept the justification for looting some, where does it end? Or are we destined for a future where looting, where rioting, where one will never be certain their nice car or home will survive the civil unrest of those who don’t have one like it but want one? For some people, this might sound like the right outcome. Why should anyone have a nice home and shop at Gucci’s if everyone can’t? If that’s your view, there really isn’t must reason not to loot. It’s only fair. Except to the children and their families living at Ronald McDonald House, but let’s not dwell on such unpleasantries when there’s loot out there for the taking.
Update: At Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene picked up on one additional piece of rationalization.
“That is reparations,” Atkins said. “Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”
BLM Chicago’s Ariel Atkins has this all figured out.