Black people everywhere have come together on social media to laugh and discuss a racial brawl that happened on a riverboat dock in Montgomery, Alabama over the weekend. Here’s why.
Fade in the Water. ROLL (ed up in the) TIDE. The Alabama Sweet Tea Party. The Montgomery Massacre. The Riverboat Rumble. The Montgomery Melee.
No matter what they call it, Black people are talking about the big fight between a group of white men who attacked a Black dock worker and the Black people who swarmed in to defend him.
In case you didn’t have internet in your house over the last few days — which would quite literally be the only reason you would not have already heard about this, the incident happened at Montgomery Riverfront Park in Montgomery, Alabama, on Aug. 5.
A riverboat was returning to port and attempting to dock, but a pontoon full of white people was blocking its spot. A Black man who worked on the dock tried to get the group to move their boat. He informed them that the riverboat was trying to dock and told them they needed to move, and instead of moving their boat like they should have, the men decided to jump and physically attack the Black man instead.
What happened next was a thing of beauty.
Black people came together to defend and protect that man, including a Black teen who apparently jumped from the riverboat in question and swam to the dock to help.
At the end of it all, multiple people were arrested — including the white men who started it in the first place after they were identified by people in the crowd watching,
Since it was all caught on video, hopefully they won’t escape accountability for their actions.
Because that’s really what all of this boils down to, and that’s what’s really driving the pure joy Black people are experiencing in this moment — accountability.
You see, accountability is like kryptonite to whiteness. Whiteness is quick to deflect when it’s in the wrong, but that same whiteness will demand accountability for Black people at every stop. It’s a weird type of cognitive dissonance none of us have been able to figure out yet.
As Black people, we have to defend our humanity on a daily basis in America. Whiteness is a privilege that is wielded over us heavily on a daily basis in all parts of our lives. Black people can’t eat, sleep, walk down the street, go to the pool, play in the park with their children, or do relatively anything without their words and actions being policed by white people.
And because of whiteness, there are white people who believe they don’t owe any respect to Black people in positions of authority.
Witnessing a group of white people get their comeuppance for disrespecting and physically attacking a Black man who was simply doing his job is the smallest and sweetest of victories, and baby? We will take it.
Why didn’t they just comply?
Yes, Black people celebrated this fight like it was a Black national holiday. I know for a fact no one got any work done the Monday after the incident happened because everyone was too busy scrolling Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok laughing at all the memes.
We are completely unserious as a people, and one thing we gonna do is make all the jokes in all the formats when something major happens.
I mean, have you seen the stop-motion animation gummy bear reenactment?
Black people really are God’s gift to humanity. We are the proverbial “color purple” Alice Walker wrote about. No wonder they can’t help but stop and stare when they walk by us. We are magnificent, baby, and we prove it time and time again.
The creativity coming out of this moment alone is proof that we definitely make the culture.
And it all is an expression of our collective relief that for once, some form of “justice” was served.
Even if those white men never serve a day in their lives for this incident, we will all remember the extrajudicial punishment they got on that dock.
A punishment, I might add, that didn’t end in death — the way it has so many other times for us when the shoe is on the other foot.
This is what we wished could have happened for Jordan Neely, Trayvon Martin, O’Shea Sibley, and Jordan Davis.
No, this is Black people feeling like just once we got to see Chad, Becky, Karen, and Brad get what they deserved. It was swift. It was immediate. It was satisfactory.
And it’s going to be memed into perpetuity for a long time coming, so prepare yourselves.
We are going to get these jokes off and laugh and laugh.
This is one small moment of brilliant Black joy in a sea of moments when we have to laugh to keep from crying.
Let us have it.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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