The privilege of rushing Franklin Street

For the most part, the cops are seemingly friendly and let folks do whatever they please

Rushing Franklin Street after UNC’s men’s basketball team beats d00k or wins the national championship is tradition. Since being here, I’ve been able to rush Franklin three times (five if you’re including the Final Four wins), and this past Monday night was definitely the sweetest of them all.

But one thing I’ve always noticed during rushing is how relaxed and calm the police are. For the most part, the cops are seemingly friendly and let folks do whatever they please, from climbing on street posts to setting couches on fire. Mind you, the bonfires are very much illegal and according to this NowThis video, seven people were injured from the fires. Along with that, no arrests were made.

I find it interesting that when sports fans celebrate, everything is seemingly fine, people can do illegal things, we all laugh about it the next day and keep going about our business. Yet when people protest — specifically black people and other people of color, peacefully or violently — the police are there practically ready for combat. It’s a frightening sight to see

When people destroy property because their rights are being oppressed, it’s quickly called a riot and those involved are written off as “thugs” and “hoodlums”. The imagery associated with these words are often younger black men, which in turn, further negative stereotypes about the black community.

Yet, when young white people set objects on fire because their favorite sports team just won a national championship, very little is said and people deem the action celebratory. The cops let folks be and we go on about our lives.

It’s funny how setting shit on fire for the hell of it is okay, but when your life is threatened simply because you exist and you choose to destroy something that was never really meant for you, everyone wants you to stay silent.

I’m not pushing for stricter enforcement during rushing on Franklin. But the next time you want to judge someone for rioting because another unarmed black person was killed, think about all of the fires you jumped over and all the potentially illegal things you did just because your favorite sports team won.