For days now, I have been without words, speechless. It isn’t that I have been without thought, it is simply I have not had the heart to write the words. More and more I find myself truly at odds with my own innate desire to believe in the goodness of man and moving toward a more cynical outlook. We are a nation built on the backs, the blood, sweat and tears of others. We are a nation defined by genocide and built by slaves, yet we refuse to acknowledge our history or the unwilling sacrifices of those who died so we could have all we have.
I have been without words. In truth, I thought I had no right to speak.
Nate Silver predicts the Republicans will take the Senate in 2014. Not by much and it isn’t a sure thing, but if they do the obstruction this President has contended with during the first six years of his administration will be nothing compared to the all-out war of the last two. If the Senate and the House are in the hands of the GOP the horror story we have seen growing on the edges since the days of Ronald Reagan’s disastrous economic policies, if not truly since Nixon’s Southern Strategy will come to full fruition and this nation will finally and fully divide between have and have not. We will show our true colors to the world I think. Perhaps this will be a natural breaking point for some who up until now thought they were welcome and others who continue to insist things were getting better. Those hangers on to the tent poles of the GOP will find out what contempt they are truly held in when the flaps of the tent are fold down and they are begging at the opening with no ticket to enter the victory party except as the help or a party favor.
You know who you are even if you don’t want to admit it. You men of any Color, you women in general, you members of the LGBT and you white folks who haven’t got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of; yes all of you puppets who are trotted out now and then, whether high or low you will find out just how contemptible you truly are when your adopted tribe flushes you to the curb.
It is time to strip the blinders from our eyes. It is time call bullshit.
The United States of America is not and has never been the Greatest Moral Nation In The World.
We are a nation founded on principles that included Manifest Destiny, Genocide, Inequality and the Enslavement of Human Beings. These principles are written into the founding documents, the words of the founding fathers and court cases coming into this century. These principles were carried out by those who put their stakes in the ground and built the nation. While it is important to acknowledge it wasn’t all the signers, it remains vital we understand the compromises made leading to the horror show of today.
Michael Brown was laid to rest this past Monday, I was at work and so I listened on headphones to parts of his ‘Going Home’ memorial.
I listened and I wept, for him, for his family and for us as a nation because we simply don’t care enough to demand change. To stand up for what is right and good. To hold accountable Darren Wilson, the White Cop who shot at him at least ten times hitting him six. I wept because we do not see Michael Brown as our son, we do not embrace his parents as part of our tribe and feel their pain and weep with them and for them in their loss. No, we don’t feel any of this, our hearts do not crack or break at the loss of another Black child lying in the street without comfort as his blood runs out and his community records the depravity of his murderer standing over him.
We don’t seek justice for the victim; we seek excuses for his murderer. We don’t seek to comfort the family in their grief; we seek to silence and appease the community in their righteous fury. We approve even celebrate the police in their riot gear, their tear gas and their wooden bullets aimed at more Black Children.
Michael Brown, a young man who was to start college, a young man who was loved by his family; suddenly is vilified by police and press alike. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Where have we seen this before? Oh, yes we have seen this every single time a cop or for that matter a White Man, shoots an unarmed Black person. We accept the Black person as the enemy of the State, we acknowledge they are somehow ‘scary’ and not part of our tribe and allow them to be maligned by the press, by the talking heads and in social media so their murderer can walk away with a pat on the back and a ‘job well done’.
During the memorial service for Michael, Al Sharpton said:
“We sit like we have no requirements. Like it’s somebody else. But all of us are required to respond to this. And all of us must solve this.”
I have pondered this statement, all week I have pondered this one single statement. Now Rev. Sharpton was clear he was going to be political in his eulogy, I think this was approved by the family. Others spoke of who Michael was, giving comfort to the family on a more familiar level. This service though, the image of Michael in the middle of the street, it was a pivotal moment for Ferguson and for a nation. His memorial could not remain personal or private; could not be only a moment of comfort for his grieving family, their strength in allowing his death to be a gift, a reminder of just how far we are from The Greatest Nation In The World is shattering.
I thought I had no right to speak.
Here I sit, in my safe haven of privilege brought to me because I am fortunate in my birth. Sure I could have been born a man, that would have made me doubly fortunate but I was born White, I was also raised in a middle class household, even if it was dysfunctional as hell, I remain privileged in my birth. My rose-colored glasses are difficult to set aside, the latch on the gate to Hopeland hard to lift; nevertheless, there are things that need to be said, truths we all need to hear and accept. Without these truths, there will never be true change and all hope is lost, not just for those who need it most but for all of us.
We do not live in a post racial society. If you believe we do you are lying to yourself and anyone you say it to. If you are White, you are privileged every single day you are privileged, no matter how poor you are your skin gives you privilege whether you take advantage of the opportunity you are afforded by that privilege or not.
White Privilege is a Burden / Hardship for the Black person; for every single privilege we enjoy they pay for due to nothing other than the melanin content of their skin. This is a truth we do not understand, cannot understand ever. We do not wake up in their life, though some of us might wake up lying beside them, sharing their lives day to day, we do not wake up sharing the burden we have visited upon them by our complete and utter contempt for their humanity for the past nearly three hundred years of their inhabiting this land with us. Our forefathers, by Constitution and court order defined the humanity of their slaves as ‘less than’ their own. In fact as exactly three-fifths, now I will grant you the original three-fifths rule was to prevent Southern Slave owners from gaining greater votes in Congress by counting their Slaves as ‘Whole Men’, this single ugly diminishment of humanity has demeaned and diminished the citizenship and humanity of the Black community ever since. The three-fifths rule was in part the foundation of the Dred Scott ruling and has been used in other similar rulings as well. My heart tells me this rule is why so many people find it so easy to kill young Black men and women today. Why so many people find it easy to debase them, leave them lying in the street without care or comfort. This rule, stripping them of even one-fifth of their humanity is why so many find it so easy to murder them and walk away without guilt.
I thought I had no right to speak, but I do have a right to speak because I am human and my heart is whole.
We cannot allow this to continue. We cannot allow our young people to die in the streets without speaking up no matter the color of their skin they are part of us, members of our tribe, citizens of our nation. We must end this. We must come together and build a true movement to end the police state that quells peaceful marches with violent retribution. We must demand our representatives, at every level from President to School Board, speak for us and to our issues; that they stop playing politics and start working to solve the problems of this nation. It is ridiculous that our President cannot speak to the horror story of a national tragedy for fear of giving offense during an election cycle.
Post Racial my happy ass.
I can only say this, if you have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote get off your butt, stand in line and do it. If you have the opportunity to march for freedom, for justice, for change do it. If you have the opportunity to show up, show your support, be part of something larger than yourself do not let your fear hold you back, do it.
Do not let your legacy be your apathy.