Words by Kimberly Jones
When you have a civil unrest like this, there are three types of people in the streets. There are the protesters, there are the rioters, and there are the looters. The protesters are there because they actually care about what is happening in the community. They want to raise their voices, and they're there strictly to protest. You have the rioters who are angry, who are anarchists, and then you have the looters. And the looters almost exclusively are just there to do that—to loot.
And some people are like, “Well, those aren’t people who are legitimately angry about what's happening, those are people who just want to get stuff.” Ok, let's say that's what it is. As long as we're focusing on “what they're doing” we're not focusing on “why they're doing it”. Let's ask ourselves why—in this country in 2020—the financial gap between poor blacks and the rest of the world is at such a distance that people feel like their only hope and only opportunity to get some of the things that we flaunt and flash in front of them all the time is to walk through a broken glass window and get it? That they are so hopeless that getting that necklace, getting that TV, getting that phone, that's their only opportunity to get it. We need to be questioning that “why”. “Why are people that poor? Why are people that broke?
Let me explain to you something about economics in America. Economics was the reason that black people were brought to this country. We came to do the agricultural work in the South and the textile work in the North. Now, if I decided that I wanted to play Monopoly with you, and for 400 rounds of playing Monopoly I didn't allow you to have any money, I didn't allow you to have anything on the board—I didn't allow for you to have anything—you don't get to play at all. Not only do you not get to play, you have to play on the behalf of the person that you're playing AGAINST! You have to play, and make money, and earn wealth for them. And then you have to turn it over to them.-
and then we played another 50 rounds of Monopoly and everything that you gained and you earned while you were playing that round of Monopoly was taken from you—that was Tulsa. That was Rosewood. Those are places where we built black economic wealth, where we were self-sufficient, where we owned our stores, where we owned our property, and they burned them to the ground!
So if I played 400 rounds of Monopoly with you, and I had to play and give you every dime that I made, and then for 50 years every time that I played, if you didn't like what I did you got to burn it, how can you win? How can you WIN? You CAN’T win! The game is FIXED! So, when they say, “Why do you burn down your own neighborhood?” It's not OURS! We don't OWN anything! We don't OWN ANYTHING!
There's a “social contract” that we all have, that if you steal or if I steal, then the person who is the authority comes in and they fix the situation—but the person who fixes the situation is KILLING US! So the social contract is BROKEN! You BROKE the contract when you KILLED us in the streets. You BROKE the contract when, for 400 years we played your game, and built your wealth. You BROKE the contract when we built our wealth AGAIN—on our own—by our bootstraps in Tulsa, and you dropped BOMBS on us—when we built it in Rosewood, and you came in and you SLAUGHTERED us! YOU broke the contract.