Black Lives Matter takes pride in shutting things down. Last year, as the nation debated events in Ferguson, Missouri, the Twin Cities branch of the racial-agitation group illegally obstructed traffic on Interstate 35W. Instead of arresting the offenders, law enforcement officials provided them with an impromptu escort.
Later in the year, the group staged an unauthorized protest at the Mall of America with the express purpose of disrupting the busiest shopping day of the Christmas season. Arrests were sparse. The city of Bloomington, where the mall operates, eventually pursued charges against the protest’s organizers. However, the city attorney endured heavy criticism for upholding the law and protecting the rights of consumers and business owners.
Previous indulgence has invited fresh trespass. Black Lives Matter has most recently announced their intention to disrupt the Minnesota State Fair. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
The St. Paul-based group is planning a rally and march to protest St. Paul police shootings and alleged racial disparities at the fair. As of Friday evening, 285 people had accepted the group’s Facebook invitation to meet at Hamline Park at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug., 29, for a march down busy Snelling Avenue toward the fairgrounds, disrupting traffic along the way.
“The Minnesota State Fair profits millions of dollars every year, and every year continues to deny black and other minority business owners the opportunity of being a vendor at the fair,” the group said in a released statement Thursday.
Protest organizer and St. Paul resident Rashad Turner said Friday the goal of the disruption is to bring attention to the issues that continue to plague black communities, both in St. Paul and beyond.
It’s unclear how minority business owners have been “denied” opportunities at the fair. The complaint seems less an accusation of true discrimination and more an expectation of affirmative action. Also unclear is how keeping families from enjoying their time at the fair, standing between a kid and his corn dog, will engender sympathy or the kind of “awareness” Black Lives Matter seeks.
What is clear is the militant language employed by a protest organizer. In the above news clip, Rashad Turner expresses premeditated aggressive intent. “We’re gonna disrupt [the fair]. There’s nothing they’re gonna be able to do about it…. If we’re met with any resistance or threatened with any resistance, we’ll meet them with that same resistance.”
That’s what we used to call a threat, back when we had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to bullies regardless of their color.
Turner’s threat persists despite an offer from the fair’s general manager to consider an application for a Black Lives Matter booth. “I mean, if that’s in addition to shutting down the fair, no problem. We’ll be there.” How magnanimous of them.