As I sit here I reflect on a conversation I had with my friend. He began this conversation with me by simply asking “Charles what do you think of all of this”? I took a moment to gather my thoughts but it was at that moment I was momentarily paralyzed with a loss of words. I remained silent for a little while longer. Noticing the silence he asked “Bro like what are your thoughts with the shit that’s going on”? Hearing the question phrased in this fashion I was able to formulate some thoughts. I moved to change these thoughts into words. I began to answer his question by saying “ I wish I could say that I am surprised but sadly that is not the truth. In fact, I am not.” This response caught him off guard a little so he asked me “ What do you mean by that” I told him “look what do you expect? A pandemic has caused people to remain in isolation in their homes since the beginning of March. And even in this nationwide and global pandemic, Black Americans continue to face the same racial injustices, marginalization, inequities, and inequalities they have experienced for the past 400 years”.
Now for the purpose of this, I do not want to go into the conversation that ensued following this statement I made. However, I want to focus on the element that I was not surprised. Let me tell you why these murders, public killings, and spectacle lynchings are just scratching on the surface. Do not get it twisted I am not making light of these deaths. But what I am saying the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Paris Cameron, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Brooklyn Lindsey, Mike Brown, Tony McDade, and so many countless other Black Americans are parts of a much greater evil system. And these deaths are enabled and are permitted by the greatest sin of America which was the institution of legalized slavery which lasted as a legal institution from 1619 until 1865. Following the abolishment of slavery America has never repented for this great sin, in fact, America continues to commit sins against Black Americans. These sins only are perpetuated and sustained by the White Capitalist Supremacy Patriarchy which manifest systemic racism. And, in this manifestation, Black Americans continue to face inequalities, inequities, disenfranchisement, marginalization, hatred, and death. These traumas are apparent and urgent. But how do we move forward and transform?
Before we transform we must remember something. And, that is before we are Black, White Latinx, Arab, Asian, etc we are HUMANS. And, I don’t write this to be corny, cliché, or ‘colorblind’. However, I say this as the realization we are humans who coinhabit this planet, and currently, the way we are living is not sustainable. With this realization, we need to figure this out! In addition to this realization that we are all humans, we must address that there is a system in place to keep Black Americans from gaining economic and political freedom. Also, this same system restricts Black Americans from truly living free in a country they built. WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THIS FACT. WE CAN NO LONGER REMAIN PASSIVE. IT IS CRUCIAL THAT WE CALL A SPADE A SPADE. The spade is the WHITE CAPITALIST SUPREMACY PATRIARCHY. The system of the WHITE CAPITALIST SUPREMACY PATRIARCHY is a system that affects our daily lives. Racism is not the only kryptonite that suffocates Black lives, but it is a part of a system. Capitalism, patriarchal masculinity, American hegemonic values, and racism are the variables that drastically hinder Black life. However, I firmly believe we can change this system. I have faith in the people of this country. America has rallied on multiple occasions. Now more than ever is a time to rally. Our rally call now is liberation. We must liberate every American citizen to create a society in which every citizen feels to live free.
So how do we move forward? How does America get baptized to wash away its original sin? To be honest I do not have a real answer to this question because the system of oppression has existed for centuries. But, what I do have is a start to dismantling this system. Like I said previously we must first address and acknowledge that such an institutional system exist. And then something different. It’s a very philosophical and abstract idea because we live in a world that operates on a binary either you’re right or wrong, you are good or bad, you are Black or white, there is just and unjust, and finally yes or no. But the reality is no one truly lives on one side of the spectrum the majority of people operate in the grey. And given this fact, people have their own ideas, experiences, biases, prejudices, and perspectives. However, given this binary, we are conditioned to think and believe certain ‘truths’ the problem with this way of thinking it avoids conversations and discourse. We need to enter the zone of proximity and have deliberate and challenging conversations.
Therefore in these conversations, it is imperative that we do not cancel people. Meaning, we cannot call people out but we must call people in. Calling a person out is a tool of alienation. Therefore, we must call people in. If a person goofs up don’t criticize or chastise them but rather provide constructive criticism. With this being said, it is vital, WE CANNOT BE SOFT WE HAVE TO ACCEPT CRITICISM AND LEARN FROM IT. Now, conversations only go so far.WE MUST ALSO QUESTION and ACT. What should we question and act upon? To begin with, how can we create equitable economic opportunities for EVERY CITIZEN? How do we educate our children? How do we fund our public school system? How do we police our citizens? How do we disrupt the current housing structure that systematically displaces Black folks? These questions are very broad strokes on the painting of oppression. However, I believe these strokes are important. Along, with these questions, we must also act. We act by voting, and not just for presidential elections but also for LOCAL ELECTIONS. In addition, we need to be politically active writing and calling our local politicians.We must fight for representation and diverse voices and faces in every field. We must write and create! We must work to educate. Not only do we educate but we must also be liberatory educators. Meaning, we allow for folks to question and to think.
Ultimately, I believe it comes down to seeing the world and your life in a different way. We begin to see differently we enter the zone of proximity. We have to get close to people. We have to have conversations that are hard and uncomfortable. More than anything we have to know each other. Like the magnificent bell hooks said “ When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us”. That is how we baptize ourselves.#blacklivesmatter#sayhername#Forward Change
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