Philadelphia Eagles Make History
February 5, 2018
Is there such thing as a proper time to riot? Philadelphia Eagles fans set fires, flipped cars, and vandalized stores after the city’s first Super Bowl LII (52) 41-33 victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Had these rioters been people of color, the mainstream narrative would be different.
Philadelphia’s Super Bowl riots highlight “America’s” race problems and two common themes: white privilege and double standards. Rioters tore down polls, burned trees, stole horses, and left undisclosed amounts in monetary damage.
To say there were no people of color involved in the riots would be a blatant lie. However, it cannot be argued that white rioters took the lead and most of those wrecking havoc were white, hence, authorities treated them differently as opposed to activists of color who take to the streets to effect social change. Authorities and the media's treatment of the Philadelphia rioters reveals the double standards when comparing last night’s post-Super Bowl riots to the Black Lives Matter protests.
While discussing her co-authored book, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (2017), during an interview with Democracy Now, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors noted:
And I think I just kept getting offended that this beautiful young woman, who I knew—and I certainly remembered, too, what it meant to be a young activist—that you would be called a terrorist. It was offensive to me. It was offensive to me as an organizer. It was offensive to me as a mother, as a big sister, when I knew what terrorism really looks like. And I had experienced it myself. And Patrisse certainly has—the number of death threats, the kind of attacks that Patrisse and Alicia live under today, is unconscionable. And I can’t imagine how she sits here today with such grace and elegance and beauty and that smile, because it’s really—it’s unrelenting.
Activists of color are often labeled terrorists, yet Philadelphia’s Super Bowl white rioters were not given such label, even though calls were placed for federal authorities to intervene. Law enforcement from the local to federal level were called upon for help, including SWAT teams, Marine units, the National Guard, and Homeland Security, which handles terrorist tips. Even worse, an off-duty officer was reportedly arrested for partaking in the “celebration.” Several media outlets including CNN posted videos and images of the Super Bowl madness in Philadelphia.
On Sunday evening, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement on the Eagle’s first Super Bowl Championship, yet like many elected officials and other authority figures, as of this writing, has remained mum on the riots.
The silence from local and federal officials, as well as the media which oftentimes gives white people who commit violence a pass, to condemn the riots should come as no surprise as different from gatherings of people of color, this time around the rioters are the same skin color as the officials. On the other hand, social media has been ablaze since the beginning of the riots, with many condemning these acts. Via his Twitter account, @ScottyBrain wrote, "The place is on fire and people are having fight clubs in the streets. Completely lawless, this is what you can expect to see when the system breaks down." Surprisingly, perhaps, conservative Alternative Right member and Twitter user, @LauraLoomer asked, "Why would you riot after your team won?" To most, it seems, the events that transpired in Philadelphia were senseless.
Mainstream media has covered the riots as celebratory, thus turning a blind eye to the serious nature of the matter: bodily injury, property damage, noise pollution, and so forth. If an article does appear on mainstream media, such as The New York Times or Washington Post, for instance, such articles are buried--almost hidden--under small fonts or at the very bottom of the page. Boys are not just boys when the reality involves destruction of public and private property.