When oppressors lose their grip, everyone looks like the enemy.

Michelle and I had a discussion the other day as we were watching more rioting at the hands of the police and I made the observation that what we’re seeing is the wide-spread realization that the ideals we thought made this country great have never existed for anyone other than rich, white, men. This has never been a great country for anyone else. Those freedoms we like to recite from the Constitution weren’t written for anyone else. Not even rich, white, women. Even they had to fight to be recognized. And even then, they’re still not considered as equals.

Not that we can’t make the concepts behind those ideals an actual reality for all people. But as this nation stands right now, that just doesn’t exist. And the reactions we’re seeing from the side of the establishment are of a dying system, desperately trying to retain its control over everyone else.

Sure, we have countless examples of those of color rising out of poverty, creating businesses, wealth, and striving for the “American Dream.” But even in those cases, more often than not, they are still met with violence and the assumption that what they have isn’t theirs, or they don’t belong in the places they have the right to be, just like anyone else.

So even when they “lift themselves up by their bootstraps,” they are kicked back down by a system that has a default, inherent belief that they don’t deserve it.