Right after police officers were shot in Dallas on July 7th, so many people were trying to explain to me why racism is not the problem. I’ve heard someone proclaim “but Obama is black”. I was surprised to hear someone insisting that “all lives matter” instead of just black lives. I heard people screaming “all violence must stop”. I certainly didn’t hear such an urgent call until the Dallas snipper shooting. And a seemingly constructive argument on racism was met with “don’t be divisive”. And so on and on.
Any of these stances are just incomprehensible knowing that, according to the ever deteriorating statistics (1), somewhere in the US somebody is killed by the police authority everyday. People are killed by the police at a pace four times faster than in the heyday of the lynching era (2). It is so obvious and I do not really feel the need to explain, but at the same time, this is very important, and the obvious atrocity is just a finger tip sticking out of a huge mass grave right under the foundation of the United States of America.
It is not a coincidence that this country kills millions in colonial wars, incarcerates horrendous numbers of people for corporate profit, and treats education, health care, and all sorts of basic human rights as fair game in capitalist pursuits. It should be noted that more people lose their lives and suffer in many ways because of various forms of economic restructuring for the interests of a select few than because of wars. The US establishment has institutionalized the essence of slavery and settler colonialism as a global invisible caste system. The system preys on dehumanized minorities and economically disadvantaged populations caged in the lower layers of the caste system, where they endure a disproportionate amount of exploitation and subjugation. They function as the source of profits as well as a gateway to introduce unjust laws, inhumane precedents and the rest of the colonial schemes for the corporate capital. The momentum of plundering is powered by, as you might have guessed, capitalism.
A police officer leaving a body on scorching asphalt for hours is a street execution, parallel to the act of hanging a body from a tree. A dying Black man covered in his own blood is the headless body of an American Indian. Yes, white people get shot too, because anyone who can’t go along with the norms and values of the patriarchal white supremacy of money and violence is marginalized and located down at the bottom of the caste system, just as courageous white people were hung right next to their black friends by the lynchers.
Conversely, anyone who upholds the rule of the hierarchy is given varying degrees of opportunity to get ahead in the hierarchy. The pain and suffering inflicted on the ones at the bottom and the limited opportunities given to the people at the bottom keep the divided population fighting among themselves in climbing the hierarchy or just to struggle to remain where they are forced to be.
A bullet in a black man’s head is a message to get back in the hierarchy. It’s a call to protect one’s position by securing one’s spot in the layers of a power structure by looking up to the privileged people and by looking down on the bottom dwellers. In such a structure, black victims of police violence are described as “no angel” while fallen officers are called “Heroes”.
When someone says “black lives matter,” you hear “all lives matter.”
When someone says “slavery has never ended,” you hear the reply “we have a black president.”
When police officers become shooting victims, you hear the now urgent call “all violence must stop”.
When someone mentions the role of economic and racial divisions in our predicament, you hear the chastisement “don’t be divisive”.
A call for unity within the caste order will legitimize the inhumanity and injustice. We are already divided in the caste system. And not only are we divided, we are being forced to play the roles of victims and victimizers. In the process, we are increasingly dehumanized as a whole to play the role of prey in an acute phase of economic exploitation as the cycle of capitalism forces the mode of governance into fascism. Tools to enforce compliance–militarized police, draconian laws, commodification of human rights and so on–are already in place. A call for reforms without seeing the caste system will strengthen the tools of centralization and the accumulation of power and wealth into the hands of the few. We have seen crime bills being used to oppress minorities. We have seen war on drugs used to oppress minorities. We have seen war on terror harnessed to colonize, militarize and corporatize.
As long as the population tolerates the institutionalized invisible caste system, it will continue to function as a smoke screen to hide the most effective feudal system that has ever existed on the planet. It is an urgent challenge of our time to truly reach out and share what it is to be human among all of us.
(1) Mapping Police Violence: http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/