As reported in the Hub on June 4, “A man threatened to return with a shotgun to kill protesters at a Stoughton protest Sunday, May 31.” The article went on to report that the police “considered giving the man a verbal warning.” It is apparent that’s what would have happened, except that protest organizer Dylan Bennett insisted that the man be cited. The man was given a disorderly conduct citation.
Take a moment to absorb that response in light of the fact that the people were protesting the murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by members of the Minneapolis police. Racism is the current topic of conversation around the world. Meanwhile in Stoughton, we have a man threatening to shoot people who are protesting racism and the consequence is less than the consequence of getting a parking ticket and having to pay a fine!?
You have to ask the question what might have happened if the man threatening to shoot people was black instead of white. You have to ask whether we are witnessing white privilege in action. You have to ask whether this isn’t “institutionalized “ white privilege.
As we are all being reminded in so many ways, white privilege is the tip of the racism iceberg. We are learning that white privilege has allowed us to look the other way; given us permission to practice “casual” racism instead of seeing it for what it is and realizing we need to face up to it because Black Lives Matter!
Eric N. Swenson
City of Stoughton