May 31, 2020

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi stressed the importance of empathizing, not sympathizing, with the George Floyd protesters who turn to looting.

In case you’ve missed it, Velshi has been doing amazing reporting from the protests in Minneapolis. This morning, he spoke about what he has learned from the looters and why he thinks we all should “get our heads around” what they say is their motivation:

VELSHI: I don't want to justify any of the violence or any of what's going on, but the message that I was hearing very clearly from some of the protesters is that the concept of accountability does not exist for those who bring harm or death to African Americans, so why am I following those rules? I'm not arguing that that's the right way to think about it, but it is a way that some people are thinking about it.

[…]

Again, I think there's a way of articulating and empathizing with the view, without sympathizing with it, without saying that any of this is acceptable. It’s not acceptable. These are people's private businesses, these are private property. This is taxpayer cost that has been ruined, but the concept of “there is no accountability for anyone who does something bad to me, so why do I have to achieve that same accountability to society?” It is something that is worth people getting their heads around, that the grief and the confusion is great out here.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Yeah, nobody's condoning the violence. And as you pointed out yesterday on the air, Ali, residents are scared. They're in the middle of these protests that are happening overnight. But nonetheless, [previous guest] Marc Morial makes a really good point, as did Eddie Glaude on our air over the last couple of days as well, is we need to understand what is driving these protesters in Minneapolis and across the country, what was driving protesters in Ferguson, what was driving protesters and people that marched during the civil rights movement in Atlanta.

Later, Minnesota officials said they suspect that much, if not most, of the crimes committed during the protests have been by out of state actors, possibly from white supremacy groups, intent on sabotage. Clearly, Velshi has spoken to people he sensed are legit. Maybe there's a mix of both.

UPDATE: Later last night, Velshi and his crew were shot at with rubber bullets, Velshi catching one in the leg.

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