of “You have to protest peacefully! Be the bigger man! The media will paint you as aggressors! MLK Jr. was a peaceful protester!”
I know it’s well intentioned. I’ve been there. But I’ve moved on from that.
It’s what we are taught to do. Play by the rules of the system. File a permit for a rally. Tell the cops which route you will be taking. You can only have this many people. Don’t be too loud. It’s how they keep the peace
It’s total bull****. I may not be personally brave enough to break stuff, but I’ve realized that I was siding with the oppressors when I sought peaceful and civil protest on a moral level. We’ve seen from Occupy, that the media doesn’t give a shit when people peacefully protest. You don’t get more than a blip on mainstream media, if at all. Only when people break shit does the media actually start talking about what’s going on, why people are angry. They still do a shitty job of explaining things, and will often end up siding with the oppressors anyways.
But regardless of the media, to tell someone who has been beaten down over and over again to “be the bigger man” is bull****. At the end of the day, while I still don’t ever want violent protest, I’m not going to protect the oppressor by condemning a marginalized individual who says “enough is enough” in a way that is a true expression of their feelings. There’s this absurd notion that in order to gain more equality, we have to paint the marginalized as these paragons of non-violent virtue in order to make the people of privilege “feel bad” for them, and then change laws to extend rights. I’ve realized what a bunch of privileged bull**** that is. If someone is being marginalized, they shouldn’t have to make people PITY them to realize that they deserve equal rights and protections. If people of power and privilege are too immature to respect others, they don’t deserve the things they’ve been given.
[On a side note: A friend of mine was recently naturalized as a US citizen. He’s API, but from a country in Europe, and has lived a large part of his life in a country in Africa. He cares deeply about social justice, student advocacy, and racial justice. He doesn’t hate America. If he could have registered to vote, he would have. He’s the very model of a public servant, performing civic duties to a country that didn’t even expect it of him. He probably knows more about the US and the government than most “natural born citizens”. Yet he has had to go through this long process to be considered an “American citizen”. Today, he’s no longer a second class citizen according to the law. He can finally register to vote and help decide elected officials in this country. It’s shocking to me that someone so dedicated to this “American project” needed a piece of paper to prove to the government of his commitment to this country, when other people born here and have shown that they’ve cared far less about the diversity and integrity of the people but are automatically given much more privileges for simply being born on this geographic area. And I know that the piece of paper won’t stop the racist remarks he gets when he does his job educating voters in person about important issues in this upcoming election.]
This goes back to the arguments I posted about regarding the rape jokes. The problem with this neoliberal bull**** is that it assumes that everyone is on the same level, that marginalized people of color have the same access and power as white authorities and institutions. That’s an ideal democratic process. But that’s not the situation, because they don’t. Freedom of speech (and of media coverage) only benefits those who already have the power and privilege to have their opinions heard and disseminated. The marginalized have tried these dead end roads provided by the system, and are forced to seek other ways to be heard, and sometimes one of those routes is violent protest.
C. The Decision to Use Pepper Spray Was Not Supported by Objective Evidence and Was Not Authorized by Policy
On balance, there is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pike’s belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the Quad. Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police.
Kroll concludes, “Considering all the available evidence - while recognizing that Kroll investigators were not able to interview Lieutenant Pike to learn and report on his state of mind at the moment he used the pepper spray - the deployment of pepper spray does not appear to have been an objectively reasonable use of force.” The Task Force agrees.
D. The Pepper Spray Used, the MK-9, First Aerosol Projector, Was Not an Authorized Weapon for Use by the UCDPD
UCDPD General Order No. 559 provides that pepper spray can be used, but specifically refers to the MK-4 (a smaller canister). Furthermore, the investigation found no evidence that any UCDPD officer had been trained in the use of the larger MK-9.
Kroll supported their conclusion that use of pepper spray was not reasonable use of force by stating, “This conclusion is buttressed by the facts that the MK-9 was not an authorized weapon under UCDPD guidelines and that UCDPD officers were not trained in its use.” The Task Force agrees.
F. Lt. Pike Bears Primary Responsibility for the Objectively Unreasonable Decision to Use Pepper Spray on the Students Sitting in a Line and for the Manner in Which the Pepper Spray Was Used
Lt. Pike is also responsible for the specific pepper spray weapon he used, the MK-9, and the manner in which he used it. The MK-9 is not an authorized weapon under UCDPD guidelines. UCDPD officers were not trained in how to use it correctly. And Lt. Pike did not use it correctly. The MK-9 is a higher pressure type of pepper spray than what officers normally carry on their utility belts (MK-4). It is designed for crowd dispersal rather than field applications and “[t]he recommended minimum distance for application of the MK-9 is six feet.” Lt. Pike appeared to be spraying protesters at a much closer distance than 6 feet.
there is considerable anger over how the November 9 UCI Protest decided to “agitate” the campus. I’ve seen many Tumblr posts and Facebook posts and Youtube videos expressing anger at how students’ learning was being disrupted by protesters. And I apologize for that. I think future protests should and will be much more conscious about respecting students’ Education and safe study spaces.
That said, please understand just how serious this issue is. It may seem more logical to just try to weather the storm, get a degree, and get out as soon as possible. But in my honest opinion, that is not the only solution, and is one that is very detrimental to our peers, our teachers, our staff, and the future students who want to attend a University of California. Please take some time to educate yourself on the issues. Please come out to protests in the future, if you can. Please register to Vote and help elect official who will advocate for you. Please lend your voice, your story, your perspective, your ideas to the people who are able to be more active in advocating for You. I know it was easy for the protest to fall into the trap of a “protest mentality” and forget that it should be advocating for each and every student on this campus. This is about You.
A lot of people are angry. At the protest. And rightly so. What they saw wasn’t an organized and informative teach in session at the Flagpoles. What they saw and heard, first hand or through video, were a mob of students going from classroom to classroom shouting “Walk Out” and having strong but uninformative chants. I am already getting the feeling that there is going to be backlash, that the protest has set itself backwards in the eyes of many students. I still think the protest was the right thing to do, but a lot of things could have and should have been done better.
I feel personally responsible now, as I was too timid to stand up and say “We shouldn’t be doing it like this”. I didn’t participate in the barging in of classrooms, but I was a complicit bystander. And now I feel regret for not bringing a cooler head to tell the other protesters that maybe we weren’t going about it the right way. I didn’t imagine it would have escalated to what happened at Bio Sci. It’s a good thing we didn’t barge in on an actual midterm.
But I also want to say, personally. If you think that the protest was not handled well, please do something about it. Please don’t judge from a protected outside perspective. If you had participated in the protest, you could have voiced your opinion (like how I failed to do). If you have better ideas, bring it to the table, bring it to the next protest. Help it improve. What do you want to see at a protest? How do you think it should be executed? What ideas do you have for chants and strategies?
And if you can’t make it out to the debrief meeting, or participate in the protest, my Reply and Ask are open, and I can help convey your concerns, comments, and ideas.
Personal reflections and observations on the Protest at UCI on November 9. I participated throughout the whole protest. Also some reflections on Student Activism, Political Apathy, and Real Stories.
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