Protesters Declare War On Brunch, Enter ‘White Spaces’

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jan 05, 2015 6:00 PM
Protesters Declare War On Brunch, Enter ‘White Spaces’

The protesters calling for police reform and a discussion about an unequal justice system seem to be running out of oxygen. They’re not a movement - they’re becoming a gross caricature of it.

Their latest salvo to remain relevant: an open assault on brunch. Hey, they’re “interrupting white supremacy one brunch at a time,” or something (via WaPo):

Over the weekend in New York City and Oakland, Calif., they tried a different tactic. Tweeting the hashtag #BlackBrunchNYC, protesters targeted what they called “white spaces” — brunch spots.

More than 30 demonstrators staged events at restaurants such as Lallisse, Maialino and Pershing Square, Yahoo reported. The protesters, most dressed in black, read the names of African Americans killed by police punctuated with chants of “ashe,” a word from the Yoruba language of West Africa comparable to “amen.” Timed by participants, the ritual takes four-and-a-half minutes — since Michael Brown’s body was left on the street for four-and-a-half hours in Ferguson.

“People who have money and privilege have the leisure to brunch,” Carrie Leilam Love, media liaison for the group Black Brunch NYC, told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “Other people don’t.”

As often happens, a Twitter hashtag provoked a Twitter backlash.

Participants didn’t regret the inconvenience.

“We are peacefully and publicly mourning and saying the names of innocent slain Black Americans for 4 ½ minutes and we’re not sorry for interrupting your Brunch,” Iris Dillard, a Berkeley student who participated in a protest over the weekend, wrote The Post in an e-mail. “The fact that people are negatively responding to the #BlackBrunch and not the illness of racism and the myth of American progress, disturbs me more than anything.”

I’m wondering how interrupting brunch would accomplish police reform? As Dan wrote earlier today, protesters crashed an award ceremony for a 100-year old World War II veteran. You don’t need to be a public relations whiz to know that you’ll never win over hearts and minds by going after veterans of American wars. Also, crashing a Christmas tree lighting that leaves children in tears is also a failure of epic proportions.

The 1960s were a maddening time with left-leaning protests, but at least you could see a connection between the protests and the protesters. For blacks fighting for their civil rights, they boycotted buses and businesses that permitted segregation. Heck, some of them actually sat at the booths where they were barred from service eliciting the wrath of angry white customers. That’s fine.

Anti-Vietnam war protestors marched in the streets, were opposed to ROTC programs, and burned draft cards. Again, I can see the connection. Granted, some of these anti-Vietnam folks who also conducted activities that were way outside the mainstream. The Weather Underground is a prime example.

Jazz Shaw had a great piece on how protesting in America has devolved into a chaos:

But unlike some past efforts at public enlightenment, how are these protesters getting their message across today? For one thing, it seems that they want everyone to not shop on Black Friday.

Yeah, brothers and sisters! That should show ‘em! Because we all know that one of the chief contributing factors in friction between law enforcement and minority citizens in economically disadvantaged communities is … people buying Christmas presents at Target?

I’m sorry, but what the heck do these two things have to do with each other? Justice for Mike Brown is somehow typified by not looking for a deal on a new Playstation 4 for your kid? If you were fighting for an increased minimum wage or some other union sponsored astroturfing against major retailers, (as misguided as such efforts may be) you could kind of see why a Black Friday boycott could sort of make sense. But this is crazy. Do these protesters not actually understand why it’s called Black Friday and think that it’s something to do with race?

Those not trying to shut down commerce came up with a different tactic. And this is an important one to look at, because it speaks to the entire mechanism of protesting and how a group can achieve goals involving social change. The entire idea of taking to the streets and getting the network news cameras pointed at you is to drum up support with the public. Making them aware of your message – and far more importantly, sympathetic to it – is how a movement gathers steam which eventually results in action at the ballot box.

With that in mind, perhaps someone could point us to the Einstein who decided that a good way to get the public on board with whatever change is being requested would be to shut down the highways?

I’m not for shutting anyone down. There should be a debate about policing, but this so-called movement will be forgotten because another “Einstein” thought keeping someone from eating their eggs Benedict for a period of time would change the conversation.

Last note: here’s Salon’s piece about the “NYPD’s mini-rebellion, and the face of American fascism.” 

Happy Monday, everyone!