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Wipe the Tears With a Clenched Fist

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It feels like nothing ever changes. Each damn summer. Another killing. Another dead Black man. Another police officer guilty of murder. And knowing that no charges will lead to convictions. Each damn summer? Who am I kidding. Each damn day practically. Black lives matter but they really don’t. It’s a farce every time people say “This time will be different”.  This time there is an investigation *and* prosecution. Lord, a prosecution seems like a success. And still no conviction. There are no rights of a Black man that a white man is bound to respect. None that a white man – or Obama – are bound to respect. Racism is inculcated in this country. Racism founded this state and never left. Only took deeper root every year and stayed. But lynchings don’t occur? Who the hell is being fooled? The lynch mobs of yesterday are the police of today. Men and women are slaughtered for selling cigarettes, showing identification. Selling music or pants sagging. Or music being too loud. Or knocking on a door. Or having a toy gun in a park. Or anything. Or resisting. Or not resisting.

People are shouting about a race war or civil war or something of that sort because someone killed 5 cops in Dallas? Please. Spare me the historical myopia. Race war started the first time capitalists abducted Africans and shipped them to the “New World” while concurrently slaughtering the Native peoples. That was the race war’s beginning – 400 years ago. Don’t tell me a word how one man has started a race war by shooting 5 cops. Maybe they were nice husbands and sons at home. Or maybe not. Maybe they were spousal abusers – something prevalent among blue heroes. Or maybe not. Or maybe they are part of a profession that institutionally is oppressing minorities. Maybe? No, actually.

Fellow whites don’t get it and refuse to accept it. Closed our eyes and ears and say “na na na na I can’t hear you I can’t hear you” like petulant children. It’s real and they know it. They know it every time when they say “ni**er” behind closed doors and “thug” in the open. And they know reverse racism is bullshit. Ask any of these liars in their heart if they want to be Black and the answer is no. And it’s institutional. As institutional as when I heard NYPD detectives investigating a stolen purse and saying “We have two choices – Black or Hispanic” before ever looking at the surveillance video.

How do we question the legitimate resistance of Black America to 400 years of oppression when we are willing to defend ourselves by slaughtering Afghans and Iraqis because a Saudi was the inspiration for other Saudis crashing planes into the World Trade Center? And “leftists” aren’t spared either . How can you support the legitimate resistance of Palestinians against the occupying Israeli forces that touches Israeli children in buses at times but you can’t support the resistance of Blacks in your own backyard that touches occupying forces themselves? Not in my back yard?

Whether or not these cops were “nice” is besides the point – when a community or people is oppressed on a daily basis by a systemic institutionalized state that sends blue uniforms to oppress, the blue uniforms are seen. The Jewish rebel in the Warsaw ghetto didn’t see the Christmas gift the Nazi stormtrooper gave his child or the bended knee of the Nazi police officer at church on Sunday morning. The Jewish rebel saw the brown shirts and saw an agent of repression. And for those who have been oppressed for 400 years and for whom blue shirts represent summary execution for breathing, what difference does it make if that blue uniform is an umpire in a Little League? 400 years of dehumanization must be countered with forgiveness? When Blacks are seen as merely their skin color, why are police supposed to be seen as more than their blue uniforms? Dehumanization over 4 centuries has consequences.

What do people expect? Oppression of 400 years will never be resisted? Nobody will return fire? Whether it’s right or not – and I refuse to condemn resistance from a moral point of view for resistance is justified in the face of interminable and unrelenting oppression – it will happen. It always has and always will.

And what do people really expect? Christopher Dorner and Micah Johnson are inevitable when Black Wall Street was bombed. And Martin was murdered. And Malcolm. And Fred Hampton. And Bunchy Carter. And George Jackson. And MOVE was bombed. And Mumia imprisoned. And Assata forced out of the country and called a most wanted terrorist. And when George Zimmerman goes free. And Daniel Pantaleo.  And when Black lives are merely fodder for a new hashtag. When Harambe the Gorilla and Cecil the Tiger’s deaths cause more pain in society than that of Sam Dubose, what do people expect? The pain is real and the dysfunction of the US state is brewed in a cauldron of racism and capitalism and corruption that is about to burst. And yet it has burst. It burst for those for whom this state never existed for. But it didn’t burst in reality because it was never secure in the first place. It was never secure for Blacks. Or native peoples. Or Latinos. Or Asians. Or Arabs. Or any minorities. The US state was never a source of security for the massacred in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Or those who have lived under death squads funded by the US. Or…and the list continues.

And we ask why this happens and we fret over a “race war” which began 4 centuries ago. And we ask what the answer is. And what we should fear. And how to fix things. Or what we can do.

And, to be honest, there is nothing. The bursting sensibilities of secure America – white America – is merely a pinprick. For there was never security. There was just a buying of time via murders and oppression. Things will not get better before they get worse. There is no “going back to the good days” because there never were good days. Bernie Sanders and liberals want this return to the good days that never existed. And Trump’s supporters want it to. Band aids are the only thing the system can provide but Band Aids can’t stop the flowing blood. Things will not get better before they get worse.

Expect the worst.

Stay strong.

But cry.

Wipe the tears with a clenched fist.

Rest in Peace: Emmett Amadou Sandra Tamir Trayvon Renisha Rekia Timothy Eric Sean Oscar Eleanor Kajieme Patrick Sam Philando Alton Akai ……. And all brothers and sisters.

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Andrew Kahn is Editor of the Voice of America Blog.

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