Before I begin, I mean not to diminish the massive accomplishment that is The Women’s March of 2017. My issue lies with the media portrayal and perceptions surrounding the Washington march.
All throughout Twitter, I’ve seen multiple takes on the idea that “The Women’s March was peaceful and there were no arrests. That’s what happens when women are in charge.”
This statement just doesn’t sit right with me. White women aren’t viewed as inherently violent in the same way that Black people are. When you look at the police in attendance at the main protest in D.C. as opposed to the predominantly Black protests in Baton Rouge, you can plainly see that they come fully militarized for the Black protest.
Above: the police in attendance for the Washington D.C. March
Above: Police sent to protests in Baton Rouge
Some would argue “But hold on, the Baton Rouge protests were violent!”
For the sake of brevity, I won’t discuss at length how tear gassing protestors and shooting them with rubber bullets immediately upon arrival raises aggression. I won’t discuss how militarized police were already being mobilized in the hours before the non-indiction of Michael Brown’s murderer because it all comes back to the point: Black protestors are treated not nearly as well by the police.
So the reason there were no arrests? The police aren’t as aggressive when White women are involved.
And while the majority of Black-led marches are peaceful, the idea somehow persists that any and all Black protests are inherently violent, due in large part to media portrayals.
The march was a great feat and an astounding display of unity and the power but the “Women led it and that’s why it went so smoothly” rhetoric is flawed.