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20 Nov 2020

Hands Up! “Don’t Loot”

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November 20, 2020 Category: Commentary Posted by:

By Kayla Taylor

“Please don’t die over the neighborhood that your mama rentin’. Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood, that’s how you rinse it” 

— Jay Z 

Kayla Taylor

Does your anger blind activism? 

On Monday, October 26, 2020 a 27-year-old Black man — who police claimed had a knife — was shot several times in front of his mother.

Hours later, protesters and rioters took their place in the West Philadelphia streets. The City of Philadelphia went  into an uproar, with many destroying businesses, similar to the looting that occurred during George Floyd’s protest.

 But was this act a call to justice? Or was it an act of opportunity to take things too far? 

Ask yourself this — what happens when you loot? Well, our people get hurt, jobs get put on lockdown, and the money our families need to put food on the table, gets put on hold. I understand your anger, tired of seeing a Black man killed senselessly by a policeman whose duty is to serve and protect our communities! But the looting must stop. 

The trauma we deal with in our environments should not reflect our own communities and the streets we live on.

 In Jay Z’s song, “4:44,” his lyrics state, “Please don’t die over the neighborhood that your mama rentin’. Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood, that’s how you rinse it.”

Destroying our own neighborhoods only causes temporary satisfaction, but no real justice. The chaos was caused by people being fed up with police brutality and the countless shots aimed at Walter for the sake of “Black Lives Matter.”  

In the midst of chaos, many Black owned businesses became casualties of chaos, leaving those businesses in shambles..  What kind of message is being sent to them if Black lives truly matter?

When the neighborhoods we live in are destroyed, we lower their value, and we take away hope. The lyrics “buy the neighborhoods, that’s how you rinse it” shows those Black businesses are a big part of the hope we have there. But when looting takes place, we take food out of our Black families’ mouths.

Most importantly, those oppressing the Black community find a reason to not give us justice. We will continue to be labeled as “animals’’ if our brothers and sisters do not find a different approach. We are hurting ourselves — meaning that when one business is hurt, another Black family suffers. Meanwhile,  the ones who partake in police brutality — partake in killing us —they go home to their families as usual. 

Black Lives Matter is no longer a movement — it must become a lifestyle. We must be loud, but not reckless, outraged, but strategic. 

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, the author’s organization, committee or other group or individual.

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