Enough is Enough. A Micro-Rant on Racial Violence.
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
The never ending assaults against African American humanity should call into question whether, in fact, black lives do matter. A reckoning is required; a reconsideration of who we are, what we want and expect of each other as it relates to race.
Look, people can believe whatever they want, but if you think of yourself as a thoughtful, rational, and caring human being - as a "good citizen", a "good American", or certainly a "good person" - then you've got to seriously ask yourself where you stand on this issue. Perhaps more important, you've got to also ask what you're going to do about it.
Conceptions about race are a particularly complex mash-up of beliefs, myths, insecurities, and fears. The fact is that - in its current incarnation - 'race relations' are the product of both historical narratives about black folks and current tactics that intentionally use race to stoke political and economic ends.
While slavery was a long time ago, since our nation never directly dealt with the social narratives that dehumanized black people then, we have no choice but to live with their caustic residue now. Those narratives drive the conception that black people are dangerous, violent, and animalistic. They also are the spark behind contemporary police violence.
The fact is that race, still, creates distinctly and dramatically separate outcomes in this country. Unfortunately, all men and women are apparently not created equal and do not have equal access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have not been able to manufacture the aspirational vision for our nation that our Founding Fathers had for us.
Part of what makes police violence against black people so atrocious is that it, literally, has no rhyme or reason. Black people can be minding their own business - eating ice cream in their apartment, babysitting their children, playing on a playground, or whatever - and the mere color of their skin has been so weaponized as to pose such a mortal threat that their lives can be taken from them in an instant. This, while mass murderers are taken to Burger King.
Apparently, it doesn't matter what white criminals do. Their humanity is always honored.
All that said, this feels like an important inflection point on this issue. More and more people seem to be asking themselves if they are, really, OK with this kind of flagrant violence against African Americans. Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Those who remain silent make a clear statement on this issue: about who they are, about what's important to them, and about what kind of country they want to live in.
This is 2020. For our childrens' sake if not our own, I hope we are soon getting to the point where, as a nation, we choose to move beyond this kind of behavior. How many more innocent lives have to be taken before we come to grips with this in a forward thinking and intentional way?
Enough is enough.