On Ferguson and Black Rage.
“Black people, remain calm. Trust the cops who murder you, the laws that fail you, the justice system that discriminates against you.” Jonathan Wall
President Obama advised Ferguson decision protesters to acquiesce to the non-indictment, because, in his words, our country is built on the rule of law.
I’m here to say that the rule of law has never applied to Black folks. It never applied when whips and chains shackled our people in bondage. It never applied when White terror swept through our newly freed communities during Reconstruction. It never applied when my grandparents had to drink from colored drinking fountains and study in colored schools during the height of Jim Crow. It never applied when my parents were racially profiled and almost denied their home in my Minneapolis suburb in the ongoing era of housing discrimination. It has not applied as millions of men and women of color are warehoused in prisons for drugs crimes that Whites commit at even higher rates.
Now it certainly does not apply when the body of a Black, unarmed, college bound teenager is perforated by the distant bullets of a White Ferguson police officer.
What our communities are demanding across this nation is an indictment of the system, not just of a single officer.
What should lead us to believe that after 300 years, that the supremacy of lawlessness has morphed into the rule of law?
Nothing. And that is why we see Black rage.
If we were Israel, we would be hearing overtures of our right to defend ourselves.
If we were Ukraine, we would be heartened by international sanctions against our invader.
For real, even if we were tailgaters after an upset, our destruction would be dismissed as child’s play.
But we are Black and so our long-simmering rage is not valid.
I’m here to tell you our rage is valid. Freedom is won by conquest and not by gift, and resistance is the language of the unheard. You cannot cage a people for centuries and expect them to stay tame. I am not saying I encourage violence, but I do say that if we criticize it in one form, we need to criticize it in all forms.
Now. The way forward is to amass community power. That is the only way to stop the marginalization. This generation of youth of color and allies needs to be focused on accumulating political, social, and economic influence–from the grassroots and elite levels–so we can capture and redesign the institutions that currently suppress us.
There will come a day when the Black community will not be so vulnerable.
There will come a day when people will be astounded as to how Blacks and other marginalized groups tolerated the oppression for so long.
That day is liberation day, and I am working so that it comes sooner rather than later.