In Response to “Non-Violence: How Convenient” by Tim Wise

Tim Wise wrote a piece advocating racial violence in America. It justifies rioting, arson, and murder as a legitimate expression of anger at the history of racism in America.

This response is addressed to him.

Your justification for violence is morally abhorrent. No person with respect for life would champion the destruction of life as you do, not out of necessity for self defense, but out of anger, revenge, and racial bigotry. Your ideas are the mirror image of KKK ideology, and just as repugnant.

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Your ethical calculus is seriously in error. Throwing a brick through a store window and grabbing a color TV does not make up for the injustice done to a slave two hundred years ago. Burning down stores will not lead to justice for George Floyd. Trashing a police station does not reform police practices.

Justice demands we hold people culpable for their own actions, not for those of their ancestors, not for those of their race. The doctrine you espouse is one of collective guilt and endless retribution. It is fundamentally unjust and intolerant. It promises never-ending cycles of bloodshed. Do you think we should burn German cities now to get even for the genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis? Should we throw some bricks in Tokyo store windows to re-express our outrage over WWII atrocities perpetrated by Japanese militarists? Where does it stop? Your advocacy of violent, tribal, score-settling is a regression to the most primitive reptilian parts of the human psyche.

Your whitewash of the destruction done by Radical and Anarchist Whites on Black communities betrays a deep anti-Black racism that belies your overt “Look at me, I’m proving I’m not a racist by writing this long apologia for beating up any White guy”. You say

the recent national uprising has been almost entirely non-violent.

Yet in Minneapolis and St. Paul hundreds of businesses were damaged. Most of these were in predominantly Black communities and many were minority-owned.

You don’t evince the slightest concern for the losses suffered by Black store owners. You don’t seem to care that the riots have made the lives of Black people even more difficult. You completely ignored the murder of David Dorn, a retired Black police captain, who was killed by looters.

I guess the murder of a Black man is not that important to you, not worthy of mention. If Black lives and Black livelihoods have to be sacrificed for your cause, well that’s just fine with you. Because in your heart, Black people are people you are exploiting to score political points.

It is disgusting that you reduce people to their race and throw them into categories. But people and race are more complex than you acknowledge. Each person is an individual with their own ancestry and their own personal story. Some people have mixed racial backgrounds and others were adopted into multi-race families. What do you do with people who don’t fit into your rigid racial classifications?

Ultimately your paean to bigotry is race-baiting in its most vile form. Its call to violent blood-feuding is an appeal to the worst of humanity and can only lead to needless suffering of people of all racial backgrounds. Instead, we should have respect for life and respect for each individual, no matter what their race. We should pursue fairness and seek justice for all who have been wronged. We must reject the racist violence you advocate. It will not lead to progress and it is morally wrong.

Mathematician, Statistician, Businessman, and Academic. Student of history, poli sci , and the Bible.

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