“They have every outlet you can imagine.
They can pull out their gun and shoot a man walking down the street if they’re having a rough day.
And who stops them?
No-one.” —Lianne Noel
I’m publishing this on June 5, 2020. This is the eleventh straight day of sustained protests because Officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department murdered a black man named George Floyd over a suspected counterfeit bill by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. Our nation is reeling as police departments in all major cities have instigated and escalated violence against peaceful, majority-black protests. The pain is palpable. And white people are, at least for a few minutes, awake. Whites have joined protests, poured monetary donations into bail funds, documented police abuses, and posted countless memes and quotes on their social media accounts. White Instagram users are muting their own work in an attempt to decenter whiteness and champion Black Lives Matter. Rich white food bloggers and other culinary outlets with large platforms, who have consistently been Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “white moderates” since Donald Trump’s 2016 election, are suddenly boosting black culinary voices instead of their own. This is all well-intentioned. Speaking as a white person myself, I’m currently experiencing pain, outrage, and deep discomfort as I’m forced to examine my privilege and how much my skin color has shielded me from a multitude of unpleasantness and terror, including the tragic finality of death itself.
As a white person trying to be part of the solution to a problem my ancestry caused, a problem that exists only for other races because of a system that unjustly benefits me, I’ve chosen to use my time and resources trying to figure out why in the blue fuck no elected official in any major city or state is doing one goddam thing to end this police violence against peaceful protesters. The short answer? Democrats are apparently terrified of upsetting police unions, who give them gobs of money to vote against reforms and look the other way when cops commit atrocities on the job. And that is why seeing repeated white cries to VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! on my social is driving me NUTS.
White people, stop telling everyone to vote their way out of this nightmare. It’s tone-deaf, it’s dismissive, it’s even kind of cruel. Whites are not killed or oppressed by police, so we aren’t forced to notice the deadly cowardice and failure of these Democratic mayors and governors we championed on our social media pages and at our genteel happy hours. People did vote. It didn’t do any good. Liberal Democratic governors and mayors have utterly failed in their responses to these protests. Police on the ground are instigating violence against peaceful protesters and journalists because they know they will get away with it. They are certain their Democratic elected leaders will defend them and lend a soft touch. So far, they haven’t been disappointed.
You’ve seen all the horrific reports and watched the grotesque videos, so we’ll not rehash everything here. But what’s clear is that mayors and governors are doing NOTHING to rein in or curb this police brutality. Tossing tear gas into peaceful crowds; shooting rubber bullets at reporters and photojournalists (Linda Tirado is now permanently blind in her left eye); trapping protesters on a dangerous highway embankment on one end of Philadelphia while cops in the Fishtown neighborhood gave nods of approval and back claps to armed, white vigilantes; and that is the shortest of the short lists. The steady stream of atrocities never seems to end.
And the mayors who are supposed to be protecting their citizens from out-of-control, rioting police are instead standing around with their thumbs up their butts, or outright defending these violent police forces. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot trapped protesters downtown with a hostile, heavily armed police force by drawing up the city’s bridges. Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney did nothing when cops literally trapped a group of protesters on a steep highway embankment, then expressed some Disappointed Dad Energy at the Philly PD for palling around with white, armed vigilantes in Fishtown. Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan defended police covering up their badge numbers with the laughable excuse that they were mourning Goerge Floyd. Yeah, Jenny, they were mourning Mr. Floyd, as 1,200 complaints against the SPD poured in, complaints like pepper spraying a child, tossing flash bangs into peaceful crowds, punching and kneeing already subdued arrested individuals, and police themselves breaking windows at a Target store. New York mayor Bill de Blasio straight up lied, despite video evidence, to defend cops driving SUVs into a crowd, and literally won’t protect his own mixed-race daughter when NYPD’s police union doxxed her on Twitter after arresting her for protesting. And just when you thought no US mayor could out de Blasio de Blasio, step right up folks, here’s Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti! Mayor Garcetti actually closed all of LA’s COVID-19 testing centers in retaliation for someone setting a police car on fire. Read that sentence again, let it sink in. Mayor Garcetti is preventing people from getting tested for a deadly unique virus instead of just punishing his own police department for throwing projectiles at peaceful protesters.
Instead of yelling “VOTE!” every few minutes, how about we fucking pay attention to the abject failures of Jacob Frey, and Bill de Blasio, and Greg Fischer, and Jim Kenney, and Lori Lightfoot, and Eric Garcetti, and so many more. And how about we get angry and do something to hold them accountable? Black people did vote. They got Democrats over the finish line in every major city and many states, including some red ones. Fat lot of good that did. Whites must start using their privilege to call for mass resignations of these worthless Democratic mayors. Put whatever resources you have into threatening them with primary challengers. Pressure Democrats to never take campaign donations from a police union ever again. Call it out when you see it.
To be clear, I am in no way suggesting we sit at home on election day. I’m just saying that voting is one small part of participating in a free and fair democracy, and it hardly solves all the problems. White people generally have the luxury of shrugging off Democratic officeholders’ failures, because they rarely threaten our lives. Whites must stop pretending just voting is any kind of solution, and must stop projecting our privilege onto the victims of police brutality.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tbs Dijon mustard, grainy if you prefer
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ¼ cups olive oil
- 2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil and Parmesan in a large bowl and whisk until incorporated. Keep whisking as you stream in the olive oil. If using, whisk in the Parmesan last. Store in an airtight container, like a glass jar, for up to one week. If you included Parmesan, you’ll need to store it in the refrigerator, but if you did not, storing it on your countertop in a temperature-controlled kitchen is fine. That’s what I do. No one got hurt.