Protests: Why are some white people randomly gifting Black people money?
Gary Trowel took part in a protest against Black Lives Matter, which pushed for an arrest in the Breonna Taylor case when an older white man came up to him and handed him cash.
The 23-year-old cafeteria worker held his fist in the air when the exchange surprised him.
"At first I thought, wait, what is this man doing?" Said Trowel. The man smiled when he gave Trowel three dollar bills before leaving. "At first it felt good. Then I thought, should that be for reparations? '"
While police demonstrations continue around the world about the murder of unarmed blacks, well-meaning white allies are believed to be giving money and other gifts to blacks to demonstrate their solidarity.
Some say they have received payments out of the blue from whites they barely know via money payment apps. Others say white people have shown support by offering free services or giving encouraging words when tipping.
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Youngest recipients of white cash have mixed feelings about the gesture. Racial experts say the money is better spent elsewhere to help.
This older white man gave me a tip at work today and said, "I'm sorry what happens."
5:09 a.m. - June 2, 2020
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It's common to offer condolences in times of mourning, and showering black people with cash after high-profile police killings is probably an extension of that, says Rashawn Ray, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland and a think tank member of the Brookings Institution .
He also conducts diversity training for companies and law enforcement agencies.
"White people realize that a black person who dies as a result of police violence is sending a current across the black community," said Ray. "White people are trying to figure out what to do in these times. Sending money is one of the things they do."
While many people appreciate the gifts, receiving money out of the blue can be uncomfortable. Especially if it comes from someone outside your immediate circle of family and friends.
Joanna Powell was shocked when she recently received $ 25 from someone she hadn't spoken to in the Cash App.
"Have fun," it said in the message next to the cash notification. She was at a loss. But after texting the sender, she saw it as a strange way to show support for the movement.
"I told him you didn't have to do that. He's someone who wants to be progressive, but I didn't really like it," Powell said. "If I send $ 25, nothing changes in what's going on and I didn't really need it."
White people could also show solidarity in other ways.
24-year-old Edriana Clyde took her car with her for an oil change that was supposed to cost $ 40. Instead, the white mechanic did the job for free.
"He told me he learned about races in college," said Clyde. "Then he said, 'You don't have to pay anything' and I couldn't help but think it had something to do with the time we live in."
Paradoxes, the Great
My white colleague gave me a hundred dollars today and asked if I was feeling emotionally well because everything was going to end in the world.
8:53 PM - May 28, 2020
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Experts say it is a step to recognize minority struggles in this country.
But what black demonstrators are demanding is a systemic change that would end police violence. Proposals for restructuring the police are becoming increasingly important. Minneapolis is considering the dissolution of its police department, while New York City and Los Angeles are considering drastic budget cuts.
The protests have also led to demands for redress, an often taboo subject in mainstream political discussions that would compensate blacks for the free work and suffering of enslaved people, and for the years of missed opportunities for subsequent African Americans. Proponents argue that reparations will rebalance wealth in this country so that the black community has more economic power to thrive.
If these sudden recent bursts of generosity are an effort to make amends, it is far from what many people think black people are owed. Japanese Americans received payments of approximately $ 20,000 for their internment during World War II, and Indians received some compensation for land confiscated from the United States, although the amount and management of these payments were criticized as unfair. Estimates of what descendants of enslaved Americans should receive vary widely, with many coming in well over $ 100,000 apiece and totaling up to trillions of dollars.
"We will not come to Venmo from this crisis because the crisis needs a structural solution," said Raul Perez, assistant professor of sociology and criminology at the University of La Verne, California. "It shouldn't just be these micro repairs. What about the macro repairs?"
Thousands of protesters gathered in Hollywood, California to protest racism and police brutality.
"Ask how you can help."
If you can't take part in protests, there are many ways to campaign for the police brutality and unfair treatment of blacks movement without accidentally giving away a few dollars.
If you want to show solidarity with someone you know, start with a conversation.
"Ask how you can help," said Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert who founded the Swann School of Protocol. "Now that the blinders have been removed, it's a chance to learn what people really need instead of sending what you think they need."
There is renewed interest in shopping in black-owned companies, putting money in hands that support the community. You can also use protests as an opportunity to educate people and donate to institutions that promote equality, Ray said.
Some groups, such as the National Council for Detained and Formerly Detained Women and Girls, focus mainly on ending the mass incarnation. The Equal Justice Initiative provides legal representation to those who have been wrongfully convicted. And the Black Lives Matter website accepts direct donations.
Allies can also campaign for changes in policing at local level or volunteer for anti-racist advocacy.
"If you give $ 25, it should go towards a pot that could really make a difference," said Kenneth Nunn, a law professor who co-founded the Center for the Study of Racial Relations at the University of Florida Law. "If you send it to someone, they can buy lunch. You can get rid of any guilt you feel. But it won't help much else."
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Protests: Some Whites Give Cash to Black Comrades, But Why?
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