You may have heard that there's some tension among Bay Area protesters of racial injustice over the fact that there are not enough black voices, and too many white ones, being heard in the streets. As this Chronicle piece noted last weekend, some have even suggested that "some African Americans are afraid to participate in protests in which small fringe mobs turn violent putting black people in danger of the very thing they’re protesting, attacks by police." Well, in the case of this white Berkeley activist whom KRON4 does not identify by name, it was just such a small mob of vandals who turned on him, despite all his good intentions, and punched him about a dozen times in the head and mouth after he tried to extinguish a dumpster fire that they set during a protest in Oakland.
It's unclear which night of protests this was, but the man says he was marching along Telegraph Avenue in Oakland when he "saw some men light a dumpster on fire." He went to remove a couple of cardboard boxes that had been set ablaze, and he says the "men then essentially returned... and it very quickly escalated where they started punching me in the head and face."
He says that some bystanders gathered but did nothing to help him, and eventually the assaulters faded back into the crowd and disappeared.
It's a terrible scenario, and all the more terrible because of how earnest and stalwart the guy sounds despite the ugliness of this. He went back out and joined more marches after the incident, after getting his teeth fixed, he says, "because I think it's very very important that citizens remain engaged with social change in this country." As for what he thinks of the looters, anarchists, and vandals who join every march just for shits and giggles, he kind of glosses over that completely and says, "I really defer the message of this movement to black leaders... but I implore my fellow white Americans to listen to these black mothers and fathers as they would want to be listened to if their children were killed."
Also, he adds, black women have been the most effective people in shaming the bullies and vandals when they show up to muddy the message of these marches.