You know what’s real talk on the eve of the first anniversary of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson: saying that riots make constructive change. Just ask Run the Jewels’ El-P and Killer Mike.

In an interview with the BBC, Mike and El looked back at the Ferguson protests where heavy days were marked by tear gas and police brutally steam rolling a Missouri neighborhood while screaming and threatening protestors, residents and MSNBC journalists alike. Here’s what the pair had to say:

“Riots work, and I’ve never said that in that way before. I’m an American because of a riot,” said Killer Mike. “The Boston Tea Party is sold to us from the time we’re kindergarteners to the time we graduate high school, we’re told that Americans and patriots got so fed up with paying taxes to the crown that they decided to burn some shit to the ground. That’s where they sell to us.”

“The power has fucked up by selling us a story we believed,” El-P added.

“So when people say ‘Riots don’t work,’ Ferguson was over 60 percent black as a community. They had less than 60 percent representation in politics,” Mike said. “Post-riots they have two new black city council members, they have actually advocates in the community now and the police chief retired so if it was argued that riots worked for Ferguson, abso-fucking-lutely they did.”

They’re right.

While Ferguson is far from “fixed,” the New York Times’s Monica Davey recently reported on the strides and stalemates happening in that community in the shadow of Mike Brown’s death. The police chief has retired, and there is now an interim police chief who is black. Still, people are being arrested and fined for silly reasons, which result in crippling fines, and the Mayor is still a fool, saying things like this:

“We barely pull anybody over anymore,” he said. Noting that some have suggested that police officers nationally may be behaving less aggressively amid post-Ferguson scrutiny, he said: “I hate that people call this ‘the Ferguson effect.’ I’ve told people they should call it the Eric Holder effect — when you have the top law enforcement agent in the country come in and scare police from doing their job.”

“I have officers that tell me ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do out there,’ ” he continued. “ ‘I’m scared to pull somebody over because I’m going to be called a racist.’ ”

Wonder why they’d think that officer?

The changes that have been made in Ferguson are a direct result of the social and political unrest that happened in the days after Brown was killed by a racist former police officer that’s now hiding in his home on the outskirts of St. Louis. So, you know, burn it down.


Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.

Image via BBC.

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