On Monday morning top US Democrats introduced a police reform bill in response to nationwide protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people at the hands of police.
At the point when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer,Kamala Harris, and other top Democrats knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on Capitol Hill to respect the life of George Floyd, the Internet’s eyes hopped to the colorful texture hung around their shoulders.
Congressional Democrats are being criticized over the stoles made of Kente cloth (a traditional African textile) -they wore during a moment of silence for George Floyd.
Most of them were seen wearing Kente cloths during the moment of silence as well as during the news conference. What everyone seems to be less clear on, is why they decided to do so while wearing kente cloth stoles.
Representative. Karen Bass, chairwomen of the Congressional Black Caucus, clarified why
“The significance of the Kente cloth is our African heritage,” Bass said during the news conference. “And for those of you without that heritage, we’re acting in solidarity. That is the significance of the Kente cloth – our origins and respecting our pasts.”
However social media was not impressed at all, many argued that the lawmakers were just using the cloth as a political prop and that it was just another instance of performative activism.
here are some of the tweets :
“Hey AFRICAN-Americans, trust us on 100 years of non-police legislation…
…We don our kente cloths to distract from the fact we’ve had an black Democratic President for 8 years and the only legislation he addressed was the Blue Alert Act, in favor of cops.” pic.twitter.com/irQG7YDDG9
— Larry Johnson (@2LarryJohnson7) June 8, 2020
Not sure why our elected officals think kneeling or wear Kente cloth makes black citizens feel loved, acknowledged or appreciated. We want the change and policy we voted for, the change y’all preach about—not pointless , wannabe symbolic photo opps 🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/2K0zBl7lMC
— D. “GOAT” W A T K I N S (@dwatkinsworld) June 9, 2020
The Democrats proposed bill would “make dramatic changes to police policy across the country and undo decades-old laws,” as per Politico. In any case, for some, simple “change” of the current police power, feels unsubstantial considering the viciousness police have unleashed on Black lives for quite a long time.