Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Musings - Exhaustion

I look at the world in which we live and I have to admit... I grow tired. Today the family of Freddie Gray laid his body to rest and the city of Baltimore erupted in riots. And the court of public opinion erupted with name calling and judgments passed. And then there is me-- tired. Tired of the cause, tired of the automatic judgments, tired of lazy police work and tired of lazy self discipline.

I am sitting here watching the news and I am hearing the Police Commissioner and even the Mayor of Baltimore- both Black, lay blame SOLELY at the feet of the protesters, and that, my friends, is wrong. Too many times I see my Facebook feed full of people from Columbus, Ohio talking about what they WOULD not do... which is really easy because we DON'T have to do anything. We have been blessed - thus far - because central Ohio has been relatively unscathed by police brutality. But you can't be lulled into some false sense of security because it hasn't happened to you. You cannot completely dismiss the cause of their anger. You cannot discount the pain that the community feels at yet ANOTHER unnecessary death. You cannot and more importantly SHOULD NOT dismiss these city uprisings as simply criminal behavior. If you do that, you are being short sighted. You are giving no legitimacy at all to the daily fight that comes with being born Black/Brown in America.

Now-- I think it is necessary (and easy FOR ME) to say that I don't agree with the destruction of property or harming people. I do not agree with looting, stealing or felonies during a time of protest. I also do not agree with the militarization of an American city, injuring police officers or the unnecessary death of a citizen while in police custody.

I do not agree with all of those things. On any given day, I would not flood the streets with my friends and protest. On a normal day in the life of Hot, Black and Bitter I would not advocate for what is happening in Baltimore this evening. HOWEVER, these are not normal times. These are not average days. The facts are these: almost every month since July 2014 there has been a VERY public death of a minority person... all over the country. You read that right. Starting with Eric Garner in July and ending with Freddie Gray a week and a half ago, there have been at least 10 deaths of minorities where there is video/proof of misconduct. And for each of these instances there has been no answer. Nothing. There has been no movement made to make streets safer for Black and Brown citizens to be on. There has been no follow through with community groups. How do I know that? Because the undercurrent of disenfranchisement continues to run deep.

It is amazing that people actually think there is a "proper" way to protest. There is not proper way to protest. Good behavior is not always going to get what you want, what you need. People are sick of constantly living with a target on their back; of being treated like a criminal- even if they are law abiding; being stopped for a broken tail light and ending up in the morgue. The conditions which people are forced to live under lays down a trail towards civil disobedience. And as long as there are severe instances of misconduct or intolerable conditions, there will be an angry response. And there SHOULD be. Protest against the status quo is what America is built on... or have y'all forgotten? Our "founding fathers" protested and fought wars to get what they wanted. Our country continues to do that on a global scale NOW. It truly is the American Way. So why all the name calling on the streets of Baltimore, NYC, Ferguson, Cleveland, Chicago? You know why... and so do I.

Just an aside to all y'all folks saying that you can't understand the reasoning behind these protests... count yourself lucky. Be happy that you have not been placed in a position where you would need to protest and potentially put your life on the line. Be glad that the injustice that blacks the eye of our country on a global scale has not touched YOU. Maybe the view from that high horse is different than what we can see when our boots are on the ground and our hearts are on our sleeves?


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