Today’s verdicts made it feel like a good day, and it was for that. Remember, we still don’t even have sentencing done yet. George Floyd’s murderer could receive up to 40 years in prison for second degree murder, up to 25 years for third degree murder, and up to 10 years for second degree manslaughter. We’ll see soon, and hopefully I’m surprised and he receives the fullest extent and it sets a precedence that can’t be ignored.
But George Floyd’s murderer is himself a symptom, a symbol of something much bigger than he is. The murderer is just the oozing abscess on the ass of the dirty system many of us seem to be blind to, or afraid to tell the truth about. That system is still alive and well.
Justice has not yet been served, and just, “no…” Floyd did not sacrifice his life, nor was it sacrificed for some invisible greater cause. STOP IT. He was MURDERED. It is not time to relax or spit empty, pain-inflicting platitudes.
Take that breath today – but tomorrow – well, it’s another day in the same exact system Floyd was murdered in. Don’t be that person that can’t/won’t admit that the problems still not only exist, but are cemented in. We do this same weird dance with elections/politics, and I suspect this won’t be different. One just verdict doesn’t equal justice, nor does it dismantle this corrupt, racist, bankrupt system. So…
Breathe in this moment tonight. Exhale and stand back up tomorrow. Keep it moving. Keep the pressure on.
“If you stick a knife in my back 9 inches and pull it out 6 inches, that’s not progress. If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They haven’t pulled the knife out; they won’t even admit that it’s there.” -Malcolm X.
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 builton 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.”
“True wisdom listens more, talks less and can get along with all types of people.” Kiana Tom
Well, wouldn’t it be nice to see more of that! Watching the news, reading different social media, conversations with others… ONCE AGAIN everybody is judging, and no one is listening. It is easy to get caught up in the finger-pointing, and apparently way easier than examining ourselves, and a world away from even considering that who we are pointing at might just have a valid experience that should be listened to.
We are quick to belittle someone else’s experience; and how ridiculous that is when we cannot possibly know what it is like in their shoes. It is one thing if it is someone we can relate to, but if they are not then they are discounted and dismissed immediately. The mentality of “If it isn’t happening to me that way, then it’s not happening to you,” is not only absurd, but dangerous. Then we sit back in bewilderment when someone gets so sick and tired of being marginalized and unheard that they lose it. Is it REALLY any wonder? Is it really so hard or scary to ATTEMPT to understand another’s experiences? It is FOOLISH to think that other people do not have lives we cannot imagine!
We are so scared of losing what we know about ourselves or our foothold that we go into full defense when it is challenged, when it’s the very time we should be LISTENING. It is sad, because what is greater than losing our former selves to humanity? But that point is missed when we’re attacking one another, when we are consumed with proving how right we are and how wrong they are.
It is all FEAR. Be bold; be fearless today. Take a step outside of your own box… have a listen.