The movement embraces more then just blacks….And shed’s violence….
New polling shows that the protests are indeed changing a ever large segment of America….
Credit…Simbarashe Cha for The New York Times
George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis pushed anguished black people into the streets, as had happened countless times after police killings of black people. But this time, the black protesters have been joined en masse by white people, in rallies across New York City and around the country.
Now, though, the protests in New York City are ebbing somewhat, though they are still drawing thousands of people to some events, particularly on weekends. And outside City Hall, there is a growing encampment of diverse demonstrators who are demanding deep cuts in the police budget.
And so that naturally raises a question for black activists who have long been dedicated to the movement: Will the commitment of white protesters endure?
Some of the white protesters identify as liberal and said they had long been sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement but had not done much, if anything, before to show it. Other white people said they had once believed that the police did not discriminate against black people but had changed their minds because of Mr. Floyd’s killing.
Some black people have responded to the influx of white protesters with a mix of hope, I-told-you-so sentiment and skepticism. For longtime activists, there is a frustration that it took a global pandemic and yet another death at the hands of the police to push white people to publicly embrace the movement. They wonder how long white people will keep showing up.
“We see so many white people who hate us, absolutely hate us for the way that we look,” Ms. Patton said, adding: “To see white people on the front lines, it’s exciting to know that these younger generations of white people care.
“This is a different level of protest.”
Still, some black protesters and activists expressed ambivalence about the shift.
Opal Tometi, 35, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, called the outpouring “beautiful,” but she added, “I have minor trepidation, like most, that this could end up being a trend.”
“When the social media posts die down, will the actions and people’s conviction for change die down too? ” she said in written responses to questions. “I have been waiting for this moment since I was 12 years old as the only Black kid on the block. I’ve always known I’ve been a part of something bigger than myself. I didn’t know how it would unfold, but here we are.”
Research does seem to confirm black protesters’ sense that they have been joined for the first time at demonstrations against police brutality by large numbers of white protesters.
One study of the Floyd protests on one weekend this month found overwhelmingly young crowds, with large numbers of white and highly educated people. White protesters made up 61 percent of those surveyed in New York, according to the researchers, and 65 percent of protesters in Washington. In Los Angeles, 53 percent of protesters were white.
Opinion polls have also shown that racial attitudes among white Americans have been shifting, with a sharp turn by white liberals toward a more sympathetic view of black people.