DE SOTO, WIS — Riots erupted in cities across the country this weekend after the murder of George Floyd, and the destruction was condemned by some in the public spotlight from the safety of their social media platforms. Joining the condemnation was 38-year-old white woman Rebecca Boardman of rural De Soto, Wisconsin; a person who knows exactly zero black people.
Boardman, an insurance agent in the south western town of 282 white people, shared a meme that included a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. walking arm in arm with protesters during the March on Washington in August of 1963. The message crudely inserted onto the meme was not a quote from Dr. King or from any of his teachings. Rather it contained an oversimplified message of recognition for his accomplishments declaring that Dr. King himself “Never burned one building. Never robbed one store. Never destroyed one town. Changed the world.”
Though the sentiment is entirely understood in all of its superficial oversimplification of a complex cultural issue that continues to burn as hot as ever nearly 60 years after the picture was taken, the meme also embraces subtle condescending racist tones by a rural white woman attempting to weaponize the image of Dr. King against an enraged black community; a community that is expressing generations of pain and suffering through the only means that has effectively gained the attention of a nation that continues to ignore their strife through actively suppressing their protesting attempts:
Take a knee for the national anthem? “NOPE!”
I can’t breathe shirts? “NOT LISTENING TO YOU.”
Black poverty consistently between 20-25%? “I’M COVERING MY EARS.”
Over 1250 black people killed by police in the last 5 years “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA LA…”
It is reported that Boardman shared the meme via her $700 iPhone 11 whilst sitting on her $1,200 Macy’s leather couch, inside her $250,000 five-bedroom split level home while her $27,000 Kia Sedona sat idling in the driveway with the air conditioning cranked to cool the vehicle down so she could attend her $15 per class yoga session to justify buying the $5 white chocolate mocha latte from Starbucks.
Reporter Dr. Jonathan H. Dong contributed to this article.