Five Things White People Need to Know About Anti-Police Protests

Mass protests against police violence are nothing new

Manny Otiko
4 min readJun 7, 2020


Photo by Fibonacci Blue (Flickr)

The anti-police violence protests which have spread across the country and globe are being received with mixed reactions. Some white people seem to look at this as a moment for understanding and sympathy. On the other hand, others have acted callously by mocking the protests with the disgusting “George Floyd” challenge (people reenacting his death) or muttering simplistic phrases like “All Lives Matter.”

Here are a few important things to know:

This is not new
The current protests roiling the nation are just the latest iteration of a long-running drama. I’m almost 50 and the first one I can remember was the Rodney King riots. Before that were the race riots in the 1960s, which were often a reaction to state-sanctioned violence. There have been many similar incidents in American history.

America seems to be stuck in a vicious cycle. Police kill black people, police don’t get punished, African Americans protest, protests turn violent, things calm down. Rinse, repeat. If you want to stop the cycle, fix the problem. Hold the police accountable.

This is predictable
I recently watched an interview with Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, on VICE News. She said she wasn’t surprised at the protests. She called for accountability four years ago, when her son, a cafeteria worker, was killed during a traffic stop.

Castile was a licensed gun owner who notified the police officer of his weapon. He was reaching for his wallet when he was shot dead — in front of his girlfriend and her daughter. His girlfriend live-streamed the incident. Officer Jeronimo Ynez was acquitted.

More than 30 years ago, when Los Angeles went up in flames over the Rodney King riots, I wasn’t surprised either. If you listened to hip-hop (rap) music, you would have known there was simmering rage…



Manny Otiko

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.