Saturday, July 9, 2016
This isn't something we can forget about until next time #BlackLivesmatter
Before I can type anything, I have to acknowledge a couple of things. I am a white middle aged male. I have lived in so-called dangerous neighborhoods and cities, for the most part I have never had to experience the constant harassment, embarrassment and brutality people of color experience on a regular basis in our society. I benefit from white male privilege. Knowing that there is something wrong, makes me obligated to support in solidarity the efforts of everyone who is attempting to change this stupid and insane status quo.
The so-called most dangerous city I lived in, was Oakland (downtown). I once rambled the streets drunk and high, out of my mind. I once woke up on B.A.R.T after blacking out only to find myself several stops further than where I needed to be. Stumbling over to a waiting AC transit, I belched out "I got too drunk and passed out on B.A.R.T, any chance this is going down town?" The driver replied "well yes young buck, tonight's your lucky night." I searched through my pockets, I lost or spent all my cash. "I am light on the fair." "You come up in here, I got an extra transfer for you." This was a black older gentleman, who could see I needed help, despite my recklessness. He helped me out, told me about his church and why a young guy like me should slow down on the alcohol. In the grand scheme of things this was a small gesture of kindness, but these gestures go a long way.
The point of my anecdote is we as human beings have an amazing capacity to acknowledge the pain of others within vast displays of genuine empathy, but instead we are rotten to one another. We murder each other on the streets, we seek out reasons far and wide in attempts to debase and dehumanize one another. We are self serving, and manipulative, because we think it's easier, or more beneficial. We are not a humane species.
I can understand why oppressed people organize and fight back. Why shouldn't they, the justice system only serves to hinder, never to help or offer condolences and fairness? An example of necessary activism occurred this last week. Activists completely stopped traffic on I-880 in the east bay. Disagree with me if you need to, but the time is now to exclaim "wait hold up, nothing gets done until we figure this out." This is what's needed. An authentic moment of new consciousness, the rat race can wait. Let us come together and really look at ourselves in the mirror. Different sources list the number of people (not just people of color, who are over represented in these atrocities.) killed by police officers here in the US in 2016 at right around 600 deaths. This is egregious, this wrong, and we ought to be able to improve all of the conditions that create this insane reality. The first step is acknowledging we have a problem.