You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: #BlackBrunch.
To a privileged group of mostly white people, brunch is held up as almost sacred. The word provokes images of leisure and lazy Sundays, mimosas and bloody marys. And though plenty of socially conscious people eat brunch — some even use it to organize, because, well, brunch is certainly cheaper than dinner — it still has that “feel" to it. A doing what you want, when you want, because you can “feel.”
A group of creative organizers in Oakland decided they would take peaceful protesting to a group that on the whole doesn’t engage and has the privilege to ignore social injustice — specifically racial injustice. And so #BlackBrunch was launched with protests in the Bay Area and Manhattan.
Writer Muna Mire describes the goals of the protests and the organizing on the hashtag:
"The idea behind Black Brunch is to target those who can afford to avert their gaze, bringing the struggle for racial justice to the table, literally, so that it’s impossible to ignore. Brunch is the hallowed tradition of the affluent, the comfortable, and often those with enough white privilege to insulate them from the struggle to end the war of on Black life in America.”
Predictably, the first round of protests — especially in New York — were met with mixed reactions. While some stood when asked at the end of the demonstrations, many couldn’t resist being ridiculously racist and threatening. Posts to social media like the one made by former NYPD officer John Cardillo proved why the protests are so necessary. Holding his gun up in front of his nose with his finger on the trigger, he posted: “I’m really enjoying these Eggs Benedict so move along now” to the hashtag when a group briefly interrupted his meal.
Michelle Malkin called the coordinated wave of actions: “Attack of the ‘Black Brunch’ Brats." For the New York Post, she writes: "Opposing racism now means practicing it in the most obnoxious manner possible.”
Because the extrajudicial death of a person of color at the hands of police isn’t “obnoxious” or reason enough to put down your biscotti for four and a half minutes — a time honoring the four and a half hours Mike Brown’s body was left in the street in Ferguson.
#BlackBrunch protests are organized and carried out by people of color — as is, I’m sure, clear from the name and the description. My job as a privileged white guy is to amplify the organizing — especially with an action that can be taken in any city around the country by a small group of individuals — and also to pass along some advice to my white listeners who recognize their privilege, but want to support these actions without co-opting them.
And so, should you, white listener, find yourself at a #BlackBrunch unexpectedly, Derrick Clifton of Mic News has some tips on how to recognize your privilege and handle yourself and your potential discomfort appropriately:
1 — Remain calm and listen.
2 — Use the time to reflect on the issue.
3 — If you're able, stand in support when asked.
4 — Continue eating as usual after the demonstration ends.
5 — Share what happened with family and friends.
Please follow the #BlackBrunch hashtag and remember that one of the most powerful things you can do is to push back on the racism in your networks. Post the stories, videos and articles on your social networks and respond to the comments you hear in your daily life. Silence equals consent; it’s time we all did more shouting.
Get the info on #BlackBrunch: "#BlackBrunchNYC Disrupts Diners To Protest Police Brutality” via Lily Workneh at HuffPo
Go. See. “Selma.” Now showing Find your local listings #MarchOn
"Former NYPD Officer Responds To #Blackbrunch With Gun-Toting Selfie” by Hannington Dia at News One
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #889 "The system is built to fail (Injustice System)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich