Abdul At Large
The Revolution Has Been Gentrified
Normally when I write my annual post about the Second Saturday night of Indiana Black Expo, it’s about the interaction between law enforcement and the youth in downtown Indy. Not this year. Like the past four years, the kids and cops were fine. There were a couple of minor issues, but no more or less than normal on a Saturday night in downtown Indianapolis. No, this year the fun was earlier in the day at the Black activist Don’t Sleep rally at the Statehouse.
You know you have gone through the looking glass when a Black Lives Matters rally looks more like a Phillip Phillips (the guy who sings “Home” and "Gone, Gone, Gone) concert in Fountain Square.
In other words, there were a lot more white people "caring" about Black Lives than Black people. And there’s a certain amount of irony in that.
Let’s face it, the whole point of Saturday’s rally was to protest the police action shooting of Aaron Bailey by two IMPD officers. Heck, the leader of the group, Dominic Dorsey, even said the officers should have been charged with murder. If Dorsey and his crowd were hoping to ignite a “black consciousness” they failed miserably.
The rhetoric was typical. Although I will say putting IMPD and State Police Officers in the same sentence as the slave patrols of the 1800s was a new twist. Otherwise, it was pretty standard stuff.
If they wanted a bigger crowd, they should have bought a booth at Indiana Black Expo down the street at the convention center. That’s where most of the Black people were, indoors and with air conditioning. They were either checking out the state’s colleges and universities that were there, participating in the health fair, enjoying the rap concert, or talking to the hundreds of vendors there.
Nope, instead the Don’t Sleep crowd drew the hipsters and people most likely to serve you a tall latte, with skim (or almond milk), and no sweetener. FYI, there was no food truck with kale sliders (gluten free) and arugula juice.
There’s a certain amount of irony that just makes you want to chuckle if it weren’t so serious. Granted, I did get a little nervous when the white people in the crowd did the raised-fist black-power salute. While I thought someone was going to start speaking German, my fears were unfounded.
Maybe these guys will draw bigger, “less diverse” crowds when all the facts come out, but until then the revolution has been culturally appropriated by progressive white privilege. And when that white privilege drove home, it didn’t have to worry about getting pulled over in a traffic stop.
Photo: Abdul-Hakim Shabazz