The Super Bowl riots in Philadelphia exposed a blatant double-standard
I normally write about great, kind things we do randomly for one another. But the events following the Super Bowl game have me baffled.
While I must disclose I am a Patriots fan and have attended many victory parades, I am saddened in multiple ways by what I saw in the media that evening and into the night of Philly’s first Super Bowl victory, and its all-so-important racial implications.
As a Black man born in 1950, I quickly look at this with shock and awe. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but what I saw were multiple vehicles (both publicly and privately owned) being overturned, burned and vandalized, including police cars and vans. Some fans even hopped atop moving police vehicles and surfed throughout the cheering, out-of-control crowds. I saw shouting lunatics pull down traffic and street lights, as well as traffic signage, which is a serious public-safety hazard. I witnessed storefront windows being smashed and their owners’ merchandise thrown all over the street, with the added comic relief of an idiot eating horse poop as his buddies in the mob cheered him on.
Wow, I shudder to think what would have happened if Philly lost! How in the world can this be portrayed simply as boys gone wild?
Having grown up during the most intense period of change in this country, I quickly noticed what I did not see. No police lines with shielded and helmeted cops ready for battle to control the crowd, as in Ferguson. No mass beatings or arrests, like Chicago when police clashed with tens of thousands protesting the Vietnam War right outside of the Democratic National Convention. I’ve only heard of two arrests in Philadelphia so far. Unbelievable.
No fire hoses used to push the crowds back, like in Birmingham and other cities North and South. No tear gas or rubber bullets, as were used in the Freddie Gray demonstrations in Baltimore. No growling police dogs such as were used by redneck sheriffs throughout the Civil Rights era and no cops wading in with swinging batons to break up the crowd, like in most urban riots.
No, none of that. Why?
Readers, this is when I call upon those of good will to be open and honest. If you are, then you will clearly see why movements like Black Lives Matter are needed. Let’s suppose we took off the home-team football jerseys and changed the hue of the faces of those involved. Are you still with me?
These kinds of unequal police responses play out all over our land. Take President Clinton’s draconian drug laws in the ’90s for example: White folks overwhelmingly received far less jail time for essentially the same drug. Through the years, the substance may change, but the inequality remains the same. Today, addicts whose names are Buffy and Jody get probation or a pass with recovery services, while Ray-Ray and Boo-Boo get locked away. Drug use is a health crisis for some and a crime for others.
Let’s face it: In most of America, some lives are more valuable than others. Maybe you saw the celebration of a football game. But I saw a clear statement of where we are as a people, all these years later.