Fireworks and street gatherings set off the monumental first-ever Eagles win of the 52nd annual Super Bowl. Though the parade was rumored to be set for Thursday, the citizens of Philadelphia gathered in Center City to express the overwhelming joy of the Birds historic win. But a night of fun to some, looked like a night of violence to me.
But there is something we must take heed to. It is what the Black Lives Matter Philly chapter calls a “double standard” in it's official statement in remembrance of Trayvon Martin, on what would have been his 23rd birthday. It is how, and why, America chooses to police its citizens.
— BLM Philly (@BLMPhilly) February 5, 2018
As much as I would have loved to take part in all of the celebrations that took place across the city, I simply could not. How could I take to the streets and celebrate a football win with the same people who criticized the efforts and actions of Colin Kaepernick? As someone who prides themselves on their blackness and holding their blackness to a high standard, it would have been cognitive dissonance.
We have witnessed a multitude of protests turn sour in the face of police brutality here in America. From Ferguson to Charlottesville, we have witnessed how the constitutional right to gather against the genocide of black lives has been halted by rubber bullets and gas grenades. There is no way that a group of black people can gather for a cause, no matter how peaceful we come, and we are not seen as organizing the next militia movement of thugs.
In contrast, Sunday night served as a reflection of America’s values. White people running around, stopping traffic, setting things on fire, toppling cars, running around indecently exposed, hanging from pole lights and damaging businesses were all a part of what news outlets called a "celebration." You can essentially destroy a city, as long as you’re white and it’s in the name of America’s favorite game.
The “double standard” that BLM Philly spoke of is so prevalent. It’s how America forces a black man, like myself, to the ground for raising my hands up in a protest, whereas an on-duty cop cheers on as white men break the window of a Wawa. It speaks to how black women aren’t allowed to speak up without being labeled “angry” and “bitch.” While, on the other hand, white women can threaten a store manager and receive a 50 percent off coupon for her next purchase, as she is showered with “thank you for shopping with us” as she exits the premises. It speaks to how Colin Kaepernick is blackballed from an entire league for a fist in the air, while dozens of white men can return to their office jobs even after being caught on camera toppling a vehicle.
All of this speaks to how America has such little regard for its black inhabitants. Through a historic win for the Eagles, we see how a game, football, means so much more than the life of a human being. We see just how far America will go to police citizens, depending on their faulty value systems.
We see what white privilege looks like. It looks like a Super Bowl celebration.