In December of 2014, I wrote this post as a placeholder for further exploration. I never got back to the subject because I was trying to juggle the holiday performance schedule and the last semester of classes before graduation in May. It isn’t that the problem had gone away, but it seemed quiet for a time.
The primaries have come and gone, the presumptive nominees are digging in and preparing for their party conventions, and we are reaping the rewards of decades of toxic repressed racism and anger, combined with a rhetoric of hate from the Right that promises to throw our supposedly inclusive society out in favor of pre-war fascism, just as I’ve been predicting since 2012.
Go back and reread the posts I’ve made since I launched this blog, way back in October, 2012, just prior to the election. Every word, every warning…it’s all there.
In March, 2015, articles began to surface that identified a serious problem. The problem, outlined in several useful articles, suggested that white people are so privileged, so clueless about what it means to be a person of color in this country, that any approach at all voids the conversation because people are too entrenched in their beliefs to see what that privilege looks like.
These articles include the following:
America’s white fragility complex: Why white people get so defensive about their privilege The author of “What Does It Mean to Be White?” on Black Lives Matter and our biggest misconceptions about racism
As I said at the bottom of the post I made in December, race is fiction. Racism is real.
But that’s not all. Not even a fraction of reality.
In the wake of three horrific events that are currently in the news, people who care are seeking answers, trying to come to grips with retaliation and looking for someone to blame. Stories, like clockwork, are coming out again. They describe similar circumstances, near misses, lucky escapes that depended on the gun holder’s ability to put it away instead of using it without thinking first. And they will not go away. They MUST NOT go away.
What we have learned in a short 72 hours is this:
- Police still fire on unarmed men because they believe their own lives are at risk.
- Going armed is, in fact, a privilege reserved for white people, because by definition a black man is guilty, regardless of due process.
- “The right to bear arms is …also to defend yourself from the government should it become tyrannical.“
Except, of course, when you’re a person of color.
How has this become a thing in our country, where freedom is supposed to be prized above and beyond all else? This shit’s not new. 1968 was only 48 years ago. And in just that brief generation or two, look at what we have done.
Here’s why this matters: The Counted People killed by police in the US. You’ll notice right off the bat that the cops are doing this to all sorts of people, but based on the statistics, Native Americans and Blacks outnumber the rest of the dead by 2:1. Make of this statistic what you will, but why are good guys with guns doing these things, when due process is supposed to do it for them?
Cops don’t wait. If you’re packing heat, you’re guilty until proven innocent. Doubly so if you’re not white. Here’s why: Shooting to kill: Why police are trained to fire fatal shots
After last night’s events in Dallas, they may have a point. The attack on Dallas cops who were there to help, not hurt, has drawn the attention of everyone, and for various reasons. It was, on its face, a horrible event. Anyone who appears shocked that it happened has clearly missed the point, though, about rhetoric that says our guns are intended to protect us from oppression and tyranny. How are these identified? By the shooting of unarmed men by hair-trigger cops with axes to grind?
What do you do when a good guy with a gun can’t stop bad guys with guns?
Where’s the NRA on this?
The NRA includes talking points that boil down to Number 3, nine times out of ten, in an argument over gun rights. I’ve heard plenty of this crap since I started making noise about it online. But when the tyranny is aimed at people who don’t look like us, and when those numbers seem to be invisible except for a few high profile incidents where someone was in the right place at the right time to shine a light on the truth, the argument evaporates in a puff of white privilege.
It is the same with the open carry policy. It’s okay to carry a gun for protection if you’re white. If you’re not, it’s a ticket to the grave. The NRA is still largely silent on the subject, because on the one hand, this is the bed they made, and on the other hand, they can’t condone violence against the police or they risk unmasking themselves as the hypocrites they are.
Justin Cohen, in a piece from July 6th that predates both Philando Castile’s murder and the Dallas shooting, lays it all out. If we want justice for all, if we truly want a nation where all men, women and children are created equal, then it is on US to make this happen. Accountability starts and ends with the holder of the weapon. It should not ever require chance or accident to see these acts of murder for what they are.
If we don’t do something, Dallas will be just the start of the ugliest summer on record in the United States of America since the American Civil War.
Storm’s not coming anymore. It’s here.
#BlackLivesMatter #SayTheirNames #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #DisarmHate #Enough