Including Audio Version by Jim Goad!
The Big, Fat, Stupid Alabama Riverfront Race Riot
You may have heard that there was a little violent dust-up on a dock in Montgomery, Alabama last weekend. You may have also heard that it was started by vile white supremacists and ended by noble black freedom fighters. You hear a lot of things these days.
Since almost everyone lies constantly and believes only what they want to believe, the fact that I’m even bothering to talk about this situation feels like shoveling through a graveyard of bullshit. And nothing grows from these graveyards but more bullshit. Having said that, I will wearily pull out my shit-stained shovel and proceed to dig.
This incident happened in Alabama, the state with the nation’s sixth-lowest average IQ and the third-highest obesity rate, and there was no shortage of stupidity and flab flying all over the place last Saturday evening.
I’ve seen multiple smartphone videos filmed from both land and water, but since the only voices one can hear are those of the videographers, most of whom seem to be black women who are so busy “whoo-whooing” and “aww-yeahing” and “we-badding,” it’s impossible to hear what any of the gladiators involved in the dockside melees are saying.
As far as I can tell, the incident started when Jim Kittrell, the white captain of a riverboat called the Harriott II, attempted to dock his vessel, which reportedly contained over 200 tourists, but was unable to do so because a small pontoon boat tied to the dock was blocking his way. Multiple times over a loudspeaker, he told the boat’s white owners, who seem to have drifted from the boat to the dock and elsewhere during the estimated 30-45 minutes of failed negotiating before things got violent, to move their boat. According to Kittrell, he was only met with verbal taunts and middle fingers.
At some point, a frustrated Kittrell summoned a paddleboat to ferry a corpulent black senior deckhand named Damien Pickett and a 16-year-old white deckhand trainee from his boat to dockside. Footage appears to show Pickett untying the pontoon boat and pushing it a few feet to allow space for the Harriott II to dock. Over the next few minutes, members of the white party suddenly appear and begin speaking to Pickett.
Things quickly grow more heated and animated, and despite whatever you may have heard or read, Pickett was hardly meek. He’s wildly gesticulating, is clearly screaming, and his chocolatey blubber rolls in tandem with every one of his new conniptions.
From the Harriott II you can hear the mostly black passengers gleefully chanting, “Move, bitch! Get out the way! Get out the way! Get out the way!”
The first punch was thrown by a white guy. Pickett takes off his hat and flings it in the air — which I interpret as black sign language for “It’s on!” — and begins fighting back. Another white guy, presumably a member of the same boating party, rushes in and tackles Pickett to the ground. For a few moments there appear to be three white males and three white females surrounding Pickett. It’s unclear who’s swinging fists and who’s trying to break it up. Pickett’s teenage white coworker attempts to intervene with no success. Then a black male comes running down a cement ramp and enters the fray. From his body language, it seems as if he’s trying to de-escalate the situation.
Then a 16-year-old black worker on the boat proved all the stereotypes wrong by jumping into the water, swimming to shore, and body-slamming one of the white attackers onto the deck as onlookers cheer loudly.
There’s a brief lull in the action as a group of mostly black cops show up and the Harriott II pulls into the dock.
Once the riverboat has landed, the violent festivities resume. Extended video shows that once things have quieted down, a group of black crewmen disembark from the riverboat and run down to the original party of whites, most of whom are aboard their pontoon boat and not actively engaging in any more mayhem. The black crewmen approach the whites, sucker-punch them, and drag them off the boat for a ripe fresh beating. With the odds reversed to the tune of at least 15 to five, their numbers enhanced by a handful of feisty black women, and their fighting spirit encouraged by the hooting and hollering of a nearly all-black crowd of onlookers, the blacks proceed to punch them, kick them, drag them by the hair, toss them in the water, and even slam a metal folding chair over two white heads — one male, one female. The blacks did not discriminate by gender or age, but everyone they attacked was white.
So was the whole sorry-ass sloppy stupid incident racially motivated? Captain Jim Kittrell can’t even seem to agree with himself about the answer to that question.
“Montgomery Riverboat captain speaks on Saturday brawl — ‘This was not a black and white thing’,” reads the headline on 1819 News:
Jim Kittrell, captain of the Harriott II — a famous riverboat that traverses the Alabama River, spoke about Saturday night’s brawl from his perspective. . . . According to Kittrell, he was pulling the Harriott II into the dock when he noticed a pontoon boat partially blocking the way to the disembarkation ramp. He asked the boat’s passengers over his PA system to move the boat “about five times.” . . . After threatening to call the police for their refusal to move the boat, he also offered that police would see the alcohol on the pontoon boat should they be called out . . . “They started shooting birds at us, so I called the police,” Kittrell said. . . . “One point I do want to make, this was not a black and white thing. . . . We just don’t want this thing to get out of control as being a black-and-white thing, that’s not the case at all. It was shipmates that were trying to take up for their hurt crew member.”
But the headline in the Daily Beast reads: “Riverboat Captain: Wild Dockside Attack on My Deckhand WAS Racially Motivated”:
Racism was at the heart of a dockside melee in Alabama that went viral over the weekend, according to the captain of the vessel whose Black [sic] crewman was attacked by a clutch of allegedly intoxicated white pleasure boaters.
“The white guys that attacked my deckhand — and he was a senior deckhand first mate — I can’t think of any other reason they attacked him other than it being racially motivated. . . . All he did was move their boat up three feet. It makes no sense to have six people try to beat the snot out of you just because you moved their boat up a few feet. In my opinion, the attack on Damien was racially motivated.”
I’m not a fan of drunken idiots, nor of fat people, and it seems that the whites were acting like drunken fat idiots. I have no idea whether or not this gaggle of obstinate revelers who refused to move their pontoon boat were motivated by racial animus, but to hear the experts tell it, they initially refused because, reeking of liquor and white privilege, they couldn’t bear to have a black man tell them what to do (even though they initially refused the same repeated demand by the white ship captain), and they clearly attacked the black man simply because he was black and not, oh, because he was screaming in their faces and they were drunk.
But the overwhelming black response to the incident is that it was definitely motivated by race and that race was the only factor. News One called it “A Glorious Day In Black History.” Behold Roland Martin’s stupid, chubby ass giggling and salivating over the anti-white violence like it’s a fresh rack of barbecued pork ribs. The folding-chair attacks inspired joyously sadistic meme after meme after meme after meme. The black boat worker who swam to shore to help his compadre is being feted as “Blacquaman” and “Scuba Gooding Jr.” online. He already has his own publicist.
I like to give credit where it’s due: Black Twitter can be very clever. It sometimes reminds me of the biting, meme-based racial humor of the Alt Right circa 2015, before everyone decided it was time to run a tighter ship and get all optical and sanctimonious.
Speaking of sanctimony, we were endlessly reminded (i.e., scolded and reprimanded) that Montgomery was a major slave-trading hub during antebellum days. It was the original capital of the Confederacy. It’s where Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1956. It’s the home of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s where a lynching museum — possibly the only one in the world, or at least I hope so — was opened in 2018.
And now, Montgomery is being portrayed as the city where these centuries of racial injustices are finally being avenged by a seedy, whoopin’-and-hollerin’, dass-rite chimpout where white women get tossed in the water and have folding chairs smashed on their heads.
As I write this, the only people who’ve had assault charges filed against them are three white males who were involved in the initial scuffle. Having been both an assailant and assaulted over my lifetime, I’m aware of how most jurisdictions think it’s worse to smash someone over the head with a steel folding chair than to punch them, but at the moment, Montgomery’s black mayor and black police chief have not filed charges against the alleged chair-wielding assailant, 42-year-old Reggie Gray.
I’ll never be able to grasp the big, fat, stupid magic trick that people, both white and black, can play on their own brains that makes them believe that when white people act violently in a group it’s racism, but when black people act violently in a group, it’s racial justice.
Maybe some kind of “smoking nigger” audiotape will emerge, but for now I can find no evidence that these drunken, sunburned douchebags wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing to an obese white guy who’d told them to move their boat. After all, they also assaulted Pickett’s white teen co-worker when he tried to intervene. Since details are still so scant, it’s hard to tell whether the second white guy jumped in and tackled Pickett because he saw a fellow white guy imperiled or because it was just a friend or family member.
But that’s the difference: Among blacks, all blacks are family members. It’s just a matter of degree. You punch one of them, you’ve punched them all. Whites these days don’t have that mentality.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a group of whites attacking a black person. Hell, it might have been news footage from Alabama about 60 years ago.
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