Blue Lives, Black Bodies, Omelas on Repeat

There is no such thing as a blue life.
There is a blue uniform and a system of blue, a blue code, a blue lifestyle, a thin blue line, a blue code, and a blue brotherhood.

Here is a perfect example.

Here is a Black man in the blue system… do you see how they treated their “brother” in blue? He can belong to the blue system; he is still Black. He can belong to WHATEVER he wants to belong to. He can take off the uniform or the badge, but he cannot get out of his skin. If you think this story is an isolated incident, I invite you to take off whatever it is impeding your eyesight and sensibility.

Stop being afraid to look. Stop being afraid to acknowledge. It takes looking squarely at it, getting past your hurt feelings, your fear, your denial, to change this. The SYSTEM is racist. Stop with “not all cops” and “Oh, it’s just that one bad cop….” It doesn’t matter that you know one good one or post a video of that kind one. The SYSTEM is racist. Law enforcement is just one thread in the web of a racist SYSTEM. That is why it is called “systemic racism.” Our country was literally built on this and for this. Yes… FOR this. THIS is our FOUNDATION. This is its intent. It is working just as it was designed. This is not an accident.

If you built your house’s foundation or business on a pile of shit (now I have your attention), how long do you think it would last? How long before it became so offensive you just couldn’t take the stench anymore? How long would it take to just break down and finally fall into its own waste compost?

What if it was built on the backs of Black bodies?
WELL, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE DONE.

We have ignored the stench for too long. It is breaking down and the bones are showing. A truly free and whole society cannot continue to be held up on a foundation of brittle bones, stench, fear, hate, and violence. It’s crumbling. While it Is flailing and falling, it is sucking more bodies down with it, including you and me — Mr. and Ms. WhiteBody. Those that stand by watching or pretending not to see are letting it happen. You think you are free from it; you are not. You may not look at it or talk about it, but that doesn’t mean it is not there. The cracks are in the foundation; the infection is present. You are also enslaved to a system that doesn’t give two f**cks about your well-being, but it has you thinking it does. Whatever we let happen to another sentient being, and certainly our most marginalized, permeates our souls. It strips the skin off of our humanity, leaving us bare and vulnerable, and at the point of breaking down. Some of us don’t even realize we are being digested down into the sink-hole of humanity because we are so used to living in the dark, or because we would rather live in the dark than to do the necessary work of setting ALL LIVES free from the rotting corpse of this country’s foundation. We would rather go down with it than to do the work and the recognition to save us ALL.

You can continue to spray the air freshener, paint over it, decorate it with flowers and ribbons, plug your nose, close your eyes, prop it up, or rename it… but it is falling. The signs are all around us. You might want to pay attention to the road you are on.

This is a whole package filled with all kinds of racism – some blatant and obvious, and also insidious, stealthy, and meticulously planned. It has to be unpacked.

I appreciate the work of W. Kamau Bell. Recently he was a guest on Conan, and he was asked about “All Lives Matter” rhetoric and #BlackLivesMatter. The entire interview is really good, but if you want to jump to specifically that part, it is at 11:30. With that said, I urge you to watch the whole thing, especially if you have been trying to figure out your White or non-Black place in this ongoing movement. If not now, when?

There is something ANY ONE of us can do.
Being silent ain’t it.
If ALL of us aren’t free, NONE of us are free.

One last thing: It is up to the benefactors of this system to fix it, dismantle it, change it, cure it. It is not up to, nor can it be done by those that are inflicted by it. For a great example of what inaction looks like and the harm it causes, read “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas.”

With true love and solidarity,
Deb

W. Kamau Bell On #BlackLivesMatter &
The Importance Of Showing Your Work
CONAN on TBS
https://youtu.be/73DBeuN0ek8
Instagram @amplifierart
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBYTBzRJhyw/

Missing Wheels, Broken Heels, and the Future

You can’t get to a better present or a new future without acknowledging the past, and you can’t apologize your way out of bad behavior without reform.

Acknowledge
Action
Commitment
Integrity

Relationships, reparations, business, neighbors… all of it is really about relationships, is it not?

Most of us say we want a better or brighter future, but fail to do anything different. We sit here and wait on someone else to change it so we can step into it and say, “Look at me in this new thing!” Then we pat ourselves on the back and wonder why we get stuck again.

We hurt each other, and sometimes we take a corrective course, but fail at acknowledging what happened. Can you imagine bringing your car home from the shop with only three wheels? The shop fixed everything else, but the front passenger tire was removed because it was flat. Well, you don’t have the flat tire anymore, right? Have you ever had your shoes polished? They look so great afterwards – all clean and shiny. But what if you got them back with a heel missing? Yes, it’s like that when you forget the acknowledgement. Your shoes look great, but the function is just off, and no one notices how shiny they are, just that your heel is missing and you’re walking weird. Then to add to the ridiculousness of it all, you’re trying your darnedest to ignore what’s wrong with the shoes and keep talking about how clean and shiny they are.

Relationships are like that. Corrective action doesn’t mean a whole lot without conversation about the problem and a meaningful apology, and especially if it has been an ongoing issue. The other person likely sees what you’ve corrected, but is now standing by for you to resume your previous behaviors. Why? Because there was no conversation or apology, and the recipient/s of your bad behavior are likely operating in protective mode. That is the foundation, the frame, that you created by skipping over key steps and actions. You’re just driving around with your person or people, bumping along without that tire and wondering why the ride is so rough. Your passenger/s know… but you’re still pretending you’re in a new vehicle.

Our country, our government, our systems have this same issue. We have whole systems put into place that were born out of racism, classism, sexism, etc. The sentiments of our time may not be the same as they were then (we say), but the systems are still in place bringing with them into our present and our future the spirit, the energy, and the isms that put them there in the first place. That’s us gimping along in our polished shoes with the heel missing. We keep saying we’re fixing things, making them better, but we’re failing to recognize or acknowledge what got us here in the first place. We can keep shining those shoes, but until we go back and look at what’s missing, acknowledge that it’s broken, we are not going to fix it. Fixing it doesn’t mean that everyone gets to have shoes with broken heels, or cars with only three tires so that no one notices what’s wrong.

I think this is why we don’t like to discuss reparations for Black folks. This means we have to take accountability for the brokenness that we caused. This means we have to acknowledge that everything isn’t fair and equal now just because we marched and made new laws. This would mean we would have to acknowledge that we have a whole group of people that are severely affected still because 1. the life we forced them into was an unspeakable horror to begin with; 2. we are pretending that we made it right with laws; 3. we refuse to look at the space we created and the foundation we keep polishing (original systems); 4. we think we apologized long ago; 5. we think they should be happy with shiny broken shoes.

You can always make a difference, but pretending and turning away will keep you stuck. If you’re stuck, you’re likely holding other people down with you or trying to keep them there with you. Don’t turn over a new leaf, plant a whole new garden.

  • Acknowledge what went wrong.
  • Take corrective action.
  • Make a commitment to do better or cease the hurtful behavior.
  • Stay in integrity; keep your word because you are a keeper of your word.