Activism, Anger, Anger Management, Black Reconstruction (1935), Civil Rights, Eric Garner, Faith, Federal Government, Ferguson Missouri, Ferguson PD, God, Institutional Racism, James 2:26, Michael Brown, Murder, NYPD, Officer Darren Wilson, Police, Police Brutality, Prayer, Rage, Science, Social Justice, Structural Racism, Sunil Dutta, W. E. B. Du Bois, Wages of Whiteness, Works
We can add Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Kindra Chapman, Samuel DuBose, Joyce Curnell, Ralkina Jones, Raynette Turner and Christian Taylor to the list I started the post below with nearly a year ago. You could add Zachary Hammond to it as well, as structural White supremacy kills Whites dead, too (police state). There’s The Guardian‘s “The Counted” webpages on deaths at the hands of law enforcement. There’s also the Killed By Police website and via Facebook, and Fatal Encounters, among others, that track these death back much further (since The Guardian only began their webpages in June 2015).
The post I wrote last year was about what we could do, what I could or can do in light of living in a racist police state, otherwise known as living with the Gestapo. It’s still an open question, especially with reporters shoving microphones in the faces of the aggrieved asking them to forgive police officers who murder five seconds after learning the news. We’re supposed to be nonviolent, to forgive and turn the other cheek. Long before Malcolm X said during a radio interview in Boston in 1964, “In fact, it’s a crime for any Negro leader to teach our people not to do something to protect ourselves in the face of the violence that is inflicted upon us by the white people here in America,” this has been an issue. Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells (before she became Wells-Barnett) Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Nannie Burroughs, Marcus Garvey, among many others, raised this issue of what to do about state-sanctioned racism-based violence and murder years ago. We still don’t have any good answers, but we do have options. (A revolution, though, may well be necessary…)
After the events of the past month — between Eric Garner and the NYPD, Michael Brown and the Ferguson, Missouri PD — I find myself of two minds. My primal mind says, “Fuck the fucking police!” Resist with rocks, with bricks, with bombs and grenades. Go buy a composite bow with composite arrows. Go buy a rifle with a scope, and take out as many of these motherfuckers as I can. Maybe they’ll think twice about putting someone like me in a choke-hold or shooting us with our hands up if they knew we could organize ourselves into vigilante groups, well armed and well adept at escape and stealth, ready to put the likes of Sunil Dutta out of their racist-ass misery!
– What we should be able to do to any corrupt cop or vigilante killing unarmed people of color…
The mind I live in and with every day, though, puts the kibosh on such evil yet well deserved plans of action. Because in light of so much police harassment, brutality and state-sanctioned murders, to say that this shouldn’t be a response belies everything all of us know about human nature. Yet my mind says, “No. This isn’t the way to fight. You’re a writer. You’re a teacher. You’re a believer. Use your tools!” So I pray, I always pray, for people to seek and find the light, to forgive and be forgiven, for peace.
But as the New Testament in James says, “Faith without works is dead” (look that one up, evangelical Christians committed to White privilege!). None of us can hope to change our own lives — much less something as intractable as structural and institutional racism — on prayer and faith in God, the federal government and/or science alone. We have to do, too. In my case, writing and teaching is what I do. Posting to my blog about the palpable rage that I know exists within me and many others who have faced brutality because of racism, misogyny, poverty, homophobia, Whiteness and fear. Teaching about “the physical and psychological wages of Whiteness” (thanks, W.E.B. Du Bois via Black Reconstruction ). Being part of the social media crowd demanding humanity and justice for Michael Brown. This is who I am and what I do.
Is it enough to assuage my rage, my guilt for not being able to do more? Yes, most of the time. But I have to remind the perfectionist that remains within me, I can’t do much, but I can do something. And, that this isn’t about me, even with as much as I’ve experienced in racial profiling and abuse of power, at home and with police. It’s about all of us. So, if I do buy a composite bow with arrows, I will train to use it well. Just not on other humans, no matter how reprehensible.