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Last night, as the sun set over Montgomery, Alabama, Black America went to sleep with cell phones still clutched in hands, eyes shimmering with tears of joy, and sides pulsing with echoes of unbridled cackling at the epic brawl between Black crew staff of the Harriot II Riverboat and white pleasure craft owners.

No need for the usual play-by-play here; just do a quick Google search with the keywords “folding chair” and “Alabama,” and you’ll find all the news hits to get up to speed on the wild and unforgettable scenes that unfolded. Trust me; it’s one for the history books!

This wasn’t your typical riverboat docking incident; it was a powerful display of collective solidarity and karmic justice that left many of us chuckling with satisfaction.

At the center of it all was a hardworking Black security guard doing his job and facing aggression from a gaggle of sun burnt white folks who seemed to think they were above the rules. Black America took delight in witnessing the courage of this lone Black man, who tossed his hat skyward to the moon, to the gods, to Eggun, to Black Jesus, to Wakanda, or somewhere in the Black Diaspora as he squared up and stood his ground.

But the story didn’t end there.

The true testament to the strength of our community shone through as other Black folks rushed to the guard’s aid, forming an unyielding front against the injustice unfolding before them.  Those Black folks enthusiastically embraced citizen journalism, pulling out their cell phones to deliver side-splitting play-by-play commentary and vivid sound effects with their charming southern twang.  The cheers resounded as a courageous 16-year-old boy fearlessly leaped into the water to lend a helping hand.

And there was a lot of knuckin’ and buckin’.

A white woman who was involved in the attack against the guard was dragged by her hair and unceremoniously thrown in the water.  An older brotha wielding a folding chair like a whack-a-mole player delivered some comeuppance to a couple of the aggressors.

As the videos of the brawl circulated on social media platforms, Black Twitter came alive with humor and a sense of vindication. It was as if the ancestors themselves were watching with pride, knowing that their descendants were standing up against the injustices of our time.

Harriott II riverboat in Montgomery, Alabama

Source: Buyenlarge / Getty

But why did Black America find this incident so amusing?

Sometimes, when the tables turn, and we witness the oppressors facing the consequences of their actions, it’s hard not to find a certain catharsis in the moment.  For far too long, Black people have endured racial oppression and violence at the hands of those who believe they are entitled to brutalize us with impunity.

In this moment, it felt like the tides were turning, and the oppressors were getting a taste of their own medicine.

This moment was about acknowledging the deep-seated frustration that arises from centuries of systemic racism and oppression. It’s about recognizing that we’ve had to fight for our rights peacefully and protest for justice, only to see racism persist in our society.  So, when we see a situation like the riverboat incident, it’s hard not to feel a sense of vindication. It’s hard not to laugh at the poetic justice that unfolds before our eyes.

There were some Black folks who shared the Montgomery videos with disclaimers. You know the ones: “I don’t condone violence, but… blah, blah, blah.” Why do some of us feel the need to tiptoe around the obvious? Let me make it crystal clear: I absolutely condone Black people defending themselves and each other against racists who dare to attack us.

There’s a fine line between condoning senseless aggression and recognizing that sometimes, karma takes the wheel. The Montgomery riverboat brawl wasn’t just a random act of violence; it was a powerful display of self-defense and collective solidarity against oppression.

It’s about time we shed the shackles of forced pacifism and started acknowledging the harsh reality of racism that still plagues our society. Our history is riddled with violence perpetrated against Black people, and it’s a testament to our resilience that we’ve continued to rise despite the odds stacked against us.

In our current moment, state-sanctioned violence continues to claim lives, while we bear witness to a far-right U.S. Congressman using outdated and offensive language to refer to Black people as “colored.” Concurrently, MAGA Republicans are actively passing laws that aim to erase our history, banning books, and shamelessly promoting harmful narratives, even suggesting that slavery had benefits for us.

The audacity and clarity with which these racists seek to erase our existence is profoundly troubling. Their vision of “Making America Great Again” seems to entail pushing us back into slavery, subjugation, and the horrors of lynching that we have fought so hard to overcome.

The Montgomery incident was not just a mere scuffle; it was a manifestation of a deeply rooted struggle for justice.

When you’ve been subjected to systemic racism for generations, sometimes, it takes a righteous outpouring of emotion to let the world know that enough is enough.

It’s not about promoting violence; it’s about acknowledging the catharsis that comes when those who have suffered injustice finally get a chance to reclaim their power. The satisfaction we feel watching the scales tip in our favor is not malicious joy; it’s a sigh of relief that justice, in some form, has been served.  It’s hard not to revel in the poetic justice that unfolds before our eyes.

It’s a reminder that we won’t be silenced or pushed around any longer. It’s a statement that we won’t let our ancestors’ struggles be in vain. It’s a declaration that we are strong, united, and unyielding in the face of adversity.

To those who share the Montgomery videos with disclaimers, I want to convey this message: It’s absolutely acceptable to support self-defense and take a stand against racism. Embracing the karmic justice that unfolds when those perpetuating hate are met with a formidable force of righteousness is entirely justified. Feeling proud of Black individuals defending themselves and each other is only natural, as any community would do in the face of aggression.

This was more than just a brawl; it served as a powerful reminder of the strength and resilience of Black America. As we laugh, hit the replay button, and share memes and GIFs, let us not forget that this is not merely about a single incident; it symbolizes the ongoing struggle for justice, equality, and demands for respect that continues to shape our collective journey towards liberation.


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