September 25, 2016

There Is Something In There....

Still can’t get my race post articulated. Don’t know what I want to say or how I want to say it. I guess that for now I can boil it down to one sentence #blacklivesmatter. Full stop. It can’t be simpler than that, and yet trying to explain what that means to me and why I care about it, is taking up a lot of mental energy.

There is something in there about love and empathy and justice. About listening, understanding and believing people when they say they can’t breathe.

There is something in there about how a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. About fear and hatred and jealousy and colonialism and white supremacy and the war on drugs and James Baldwin and a centuries long struggle for identity and acceptance.

There is something in there about cultural appropriation and physical annihilation.

There is something in there about trying to understand and solidarity and segregation and poverty and incarceration and brutalization. About oppression and silence and civil and human rights. There is something in there about Sam Cook and Malcom X.

There is something in there about the right time to protest and the right kind of action. The master telling the slave when to talk and what to say and how to say it and where to say it, when all the slave needs is to be heard.

There is something in there about how the NFL and every player and coach and fan should sit down and hold hands, or raise their fist and force the flag and the anthem to reflect the values they claim to uphold.

There is something in there about the Daraja girls and when we say #blacklivesmatter it also includes them. Because let’s face it if they were in the US, they would be treated like second class citizens because America hates black people. If it didn’t it would stop killing them and putting them in jail. It would stop destroying their communities an ignoring them. If America didn’t hate black people who it would adhere to its constitution and treat everyone equal under the eyes of the law.

There is something in there about voting rights and Bull Connor. About 400 years of not yet, a bit longer, be patient. Don’t be so angry. Don’t kneel. Sing the anthem. Respect the flag that holds you down. Fight for the state that will put you in jail.

There is something in there about Muhammad Ali and, “ain’t no Vietcong ever called me nigger.”

There is something in there about how people are sceptical and need to be reminded that #blacklivesmatter. It is so engrained in their mind that black lives don’t matter that to admit that they might could bring the whole system down.

There is something in there about how small of a statement this is, but how much it affects those in power. Because if a life matters then you cannot destroy it with impunity. The acceptance of its worth is all it takes to treat it with respect, justice. Love. But our nation, the world cannot even bring themselves to say that #blacklivesmatter without some kind of qualifier. Because to admit that they matter is to face the cruel and unjust history of racism worldwide.

Like I said earlier, I am having a hard time articulating my thoughts. I remember as a kid watching movies about the civil rights era, being shocked by the audacity of racism so long ago. I wondered how I would act. What would I do? Would I drive to the south and march and be beaten for the right of human beings to be human beings? Not much has changed. The struggle continues. I sit behind this screen and squeeze out these tiny words, to try and say to the world that I hear. I see. I feel. I want to help, but not quite sure how.

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