Near the end of Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech at American University, chaos broke out as a few Black Lives Matter protesters commandeered the microphone, demanding they be heard after the Q&A had ended.
After the dust had settled, I found two of the young men outside the lecture hall and gave them a chance to get their words out. Seconds into the interview, the softer spoken of the two told a man off-camera to “shut the f**k up” when he tried to explain that the question portion was over. The protesters insisted that they were shut down because of their skin color, but Milo had stated earlier that he was only taking one last question, as it was getting late.
“Why does he equate Black Lives Matter with black supremacy?” the main protester said.
He described himself as the Vice President of AU’s Black Student Alliance.
I asked the two a few questions about their movement.
“Black Lives Matter has protests [where] they sit in the middle of highways, but on these highways you have ambulances carrying patients to triage, you have people going to work, and some of those people are black, and some of them are white. What’s your opinion on stuff like that?” I asked.
“We do this in the Black Lives Matter movement because we feel that’s the only way our voices can be heard. Riots… when we see riots in places like Baltimore…” he replied.
“So are you saying you agree with rioting?” I continue.
“I don’t agree with rioting.. I’m saying riots are the voices of the unheard. A riot is a way that people feel that is the only way their voice can be platformed and seen on American media,” he stated.
“There would be no riot if their protests were heard,” his friend argued. “Nothing is happening when we try to stay in the system.”
The two attempt to justify this by saying they were simply explaining why riots happen.
The conversation then unfolds into the disproportionate rates of whites versus blacks killed by police officers. We agreed not to get into the details of their ideas of “unjust police killings” before we were ushered out by campus police.