Americans watched in horror on August 24 as a roving band of Black Lives Matter protesters surrounded a woman dining outside at a Washington, DC, restaurant.
“Are you a Christian?” one person yelled in her face while others chanted, “White silence is violence,” and demanded loyalty.
A video clip of the altercation posted on Twitter by Washington Post staff writer Fredrick Kunkle received nearly 13 million views so far and counting.
1) In a scene that played out several times Monday, a Black Lives Matter protest that began in Columbia Heights confronted White diners outside D.C. restaurants, chanting “White silence is violence!” and demanding White diners show their solidarity. #DCProtests pic.twitter.com/fJbPM76vb0
— Fredrick Kunkle WaPo (@KunkleFredrick) August 25, 2020
Lauren B. Victor, the diner in the video, spoke out in an op-ed piece published by The Washington Post on September 3. Pointing out that most of the feedback she received from the clip was “favorable,” she said she wanted to share her thoughts on the incident.
Victor related that she didn’t see any signs and had no idea who the people were and what they were protesting. She said she asked them about their message, but none of them would answer.
Continuing, she wrote that when the protesters surrounded her and demanded she raise her fist that she felt bullied, that it’s “never okay to coerce” participation. Tellingly, she added that she would not have raised her fist with the power of hindsight had she known the reason for the protest.
“If you want my support,” she wrote, ask me.
“That’s what we do in a democracy.”
She concluded her op-ed explaining that she was sympathetic to the protesters’ cause, and although they frightened her, she experienced hope at the idea of young people uniting for a common cause.
While it’s great that she came through this situation with a positive attitude, it doesn’t excuse the protesters’ actions. Bullying is pathetic and undermines the aim of the protesters — unless creating havoc was their aim. If that was the case, congrats — mission accomplished.
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