“The Powerful words of David Banner on Trayvon Martin”: http://youtu.be/H_jzYC2DQmY
“We have to get some type of legislation now, we have to do something that means something, because we march, we holler, we talk, but with no goals…”
This statement is extremely true for a number of reasons. Black America has not only had to sit back and watch these types of absurd injustices, but has also endured a blatant disrespect for our brothers and sisters in public, and to no avail. Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson go on national news programs to explain the outrage of black people, then it ultimately goes away in less than a week. Michael Richards went on a comedy stage, got heckled, went on a racist rant, firing off the word “nigger” a few dozen times, only to end up going onto David Letterman to apologize. Even with that, people were in the audience laughing. Sadly, most Black Americans have become numb to the stone cold fact that in America, you can do black people wrong, and escape severe penalty. Don Imus calls the Rutgers women’s basketball team a bunch of “Nappy Headed Hoes”, black people get upset, he goes on Al Sharpton’s radio show…all of a sudden it becomes a commentary about misogyny in hip-hop music and the NAACP decides to “bury” the “N-Word”. Sean Bell gets shot 50 times the night before his wedding by NYPD, black people get outraged, after a few weeks…it goes away. Jena 6 arrests…black people all wear black across the nation, we march…and then it just goes away. It’s a sad trend, but David Banner was absolutely correct; the outrage of black people and others who understand these types of injustices tends not to actually lead to a damn thing. The Trayvon Martin incident HAS to be different. Black injustices are seemingly the easiest for people to simply “get over and move past”. When the LGBTQ community feels offended by something, someone usually loses their job (when was the last time you saw Isaiah Washington on ANYTHING?) The truth of the matter is that what happened to Trayvon Martin is not just an indication of the danger of racist attitudes in people who hold positions of power (and in this case a loaded weapon), but also of the problems with the laws that allow people to get away with this type of crap.
“If you don’t make me comfortable, nigger I’ll kill you”
If you’re not comfortable dealing with issues of race, I would imagine this is the part of my post where you might either stop reading or tune me out altogether…I really don’t give a damn though. The truth of the matter is that not only is this comment accurate and poignant, it represents the same attitude that has either outwardly or subconsciously existed about black folks since this country was “discovered” in the first place. FEAR for black folks is one of the oldest elements to the human race and no one ever wants to just say it because they’re afraid of how they’ll be perceived. White people don’t want to say it because they don’t want to be perceived as being racists. Black people don’t want to make statements like this publicly because quite frankly, unless we have the level of celebrity of a David Banner, we know this can alienate us from the white people who we aspire to either work for or be given the breaks of this world from. I know this seems like a troublesome mentality when I express it in these terms, but let’s be honest about something, success in America, as a black person, rarely comes from radical views about race and sharply worded rhetoric about race…it comes from the ability to be useful in a White Man’s World. As black people, we find ourselves, CONSTANTLY trying to prove and reprove ourselves to the established order just so we can be accepted…we’re still finding ourselves having to “assimilate” into a culture that hates and fears us. The idiotic excuses of many of the people who have defended George Zimmerman have basically told us that maybe if Trayvon Martin had been tap dancing to his dad’s girlfriend’s house, with a tuxedo, and had a copy of a I.D., immunization records, taped to his back, and had been doing jazz hands the minute Zimmerman started following him, then maybe he’d be alive today. Maybe it’s just that difficult to get a man with a gun and an inflated sense of authority to feel “comfortable” when you’re black…
“They knew how they treated us, and now they scared because they feel like we should have done something back to them and we didn’t…”
This statement probably strikes many people as being extremely radical; maybe even insightful, and one that most people don’t want to deal with…which is EXACTLY why I have to deal with it. This is one of those statements that many of us, white and black and any other ethnicity (because God knows blacks in America aren’t the only minority that have been mistreated by the established order), think in the back of our minds and honestly NEVER verbalize. Reverend Jeremiah Wright was made into a social pariah for a sermon implying that America had its comeuppance coming when 9/11 happened. But let’s look at the reality of this great nation. This nation was “discovered” with native people who were eventually slaughtered and move further and further west until they were only granted small sections of lands we call reservations. Then this country built its equity by going to Africa and robbing that land of entire generations of young, strong men and women to work in this country for free and become “civilized” by their new masters. And to add to that, no one ever talks about the impact slavery actually had on Africa. Look how American slavery robbed Africa of its young citizens. How advanced would Africa be today if those people were never kidnapped and forced to work in this country. They probably wouldn’t be fighting civil wars and killing their own people to accumulate the wealth of the west to this day…but I digress. Even in recent history, look at how America treated Asian Americans after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Asian Americans were put into camps and monitored, out of fear. Observe how America treated and continues, to treat Muslim Americans because of the fear that came from the attacks on September 11, 2001. America has continually used its sense of fear to impose itself on the rest of the world and on cultures that don’t slide into the good ole American melting pot. America has done a fantastic job pacifying black America and the world’s people by selling American dreams that end up in a paper chase to nowhere. But sometimes we wake up from our pacified state. Incidents like the Trayvon Martin’s murder hit Black America right in the heart. They speak to our conscious and reignite our desires to be truly free. All of a sudden people are gathered in rallies and calling news and radio shows voicing their outrage. Years of frustration are brought to a head. The fact of the matter is that most of the folks you see activated by the Sanford Florida incident have felt this way for some time, but this was the gust that blew us over the edge (yes, I said “us”). I don’t advocate senseless violence against white Americans or lynch mobs going to people’s houses, however I don’t feel like George Zimmerman or the legal system that is keeping him home, chillin’ right now, need a moment of rest until we’re satisfied; and even then it still may not be enough, but it will be a start…
“…It’s way bigger than black and white… the real game is poor and rich…”
David Banner nailed this. He’s absolutely right; the thing we see as boiling down to another conflict between black and white is a lot bigger than black and white; it comes right back to the same class warfare that has been dividing our country for decades and is becoming more pronounced. What happened to Trayvon Martin wasn’t just a teenage black kid dying as the result of a culture of fear against black men; it’s part of the American imperialistic attitude of “the others” and how “the others” don’t deserve a voice in this culture. “The Other” is essentially anyone who isn’t a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, Heterosexual. So that means Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Homosexuals, etc. are all seen as these dangerous “others.” Fueling the belief that these groups are, in fact, dangerous are laws which consistently find a way to keep our Hispanic and Black American brothers in prison. It’s easy to paint these young men as being a physical danger in this country. The bulk of the gang violence is perpetuated by black and Hispanic gang members (nevermind the fact that most of this violence is perpetuated against other blacks and Hispanics). The American fear of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists has made it ok for Muslims to be mistreated. The FEAR of homosexuals has created a culture that makes it ok to deprive American citizens of rights that others take for granted daily. The common thread is that all these groups find themselves disenfranchised, not because they are under-represented, but because they don’t have the money to make sure they’re represented politically. There’s a reason that funds from people like the Koch Brothers have gone to politicians who have supported resegregating schools in Wake County North Carolina: one of the nation’s highest excelling school districts. There’s a reason why billionaires and corporate funds have gone towards changes in the voter registration laws that have effectively made it more difficult for students and disabled citizens to vote all across the US. Money talks in this country, and unfortunately, if the people with money don’t have your best interests in mind, then you can expect harmful legislation that disproportionately effects those already being battered by the system. Even recently in DC, where I reside, the gun ban was lifted. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see who this affects most immediately. The peope who are in charge of lifting the DC gun ban don’t take up residence in the District. It affects the mostly brown and black residents who already deal with gun violence in the high schools and backyards. It should come as no surprise that the same problematic and subjective “Stand Your Ground” law that allowing George Zimmerman to be a free man, is heavily backed by the National Rifle Association and The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). I’m no expert on the law or anything, but being able to use deadly force on a person because you feel threatened by their presence in your neighborhood or space sounds oddly familiar to me…oh that’s right… I know of plenty of people who have been “Standing their ground” for decades now; We generally call them Bloods, Crips, Vice Lords, Gansta Disciples, Latin Kings, Maniac Latin Disciples, MS-13, etc. Oddly, it never gets considered “Standing You Ground” with them…it’s just gang-banging. But I guess when the NRA and conservative politicians sign off on it, it becomes a proper means of legal self-defense. It seems like there is no shortage of ways to make it ok to kill those who don’t have the funds to have a voice.
“America only fears two things: Fear and finance…if we don’t affect their money, or we don’t, literally do something about this, it’ll never change..”
As stated earlier, finance and the power of the purse are the biggest driving forces behind politics and social change in this country. The reason the sit-in movement and the Montgomery bus boycotts effectively got the attention of the powers that be during the Civil Rights movement wasn’t just because they were inspiring demonstrations. They were powerful because they directly affected the income of entities that needed black dollars no matter how unfairly black people were being treated. One of the main reasons that complaint tweets don’t do anything to affect the type of music that gets on the radio and the stuff that’s shown on BET is simple…because people are still tuning in. People simultaneously complain about the misogyny in the hip-hop that makes it onto the airwaves and are still clicking their radios to the stations that play the songs. People sat around for months and bitched about how coonish BET made the show “The Game”…yet tuned in every week. See unfortunately, a big part of why we don’t make social change in this country is because it actually takes effort on the part of EVERYONE. I’ve observed, over the past couple of weeks, people be upset about what happened to Trayvon Martin, but then in their fatigue, simply stop trying to deal with it. I’m fully aware that as citizens of this nation, we all have our individual issues, and many of us who would like to see this change in the world simply have too much invested in our system to become full time revolutionaries (myself included). But the cynical “What’s wearing a hoodie and going to rallies gonna do?” attitude that I’ve watched many of you, black folks, take on in your exhaustion, damn sure ain’t doing a damn thing. Trust me on this one, if you’re a young black person watching this bullshit play out the way I am, you probably do, at times, feel a sense of helplessness. But that’s why we gotta try something. The truth of the matter is that when the Jena 6 thing went down, the reason nothing happened after the marches and all is because we let America forget. The reason Don Imus still has a job today, is because WE let America forget. It’s difficult for me to sit here and suggest ways for us to affect the money of the power structure that’s keeping George Zimmerman free, but trust and believe, I’m not about to let this one die, and neither should you. Many of you reading this right now are directly employed by the very power structure that we’re trying to fight, and let’s be honest; success in America, as a black person, rarely comes from radical views and sharply worded rhetoric about race. However, the truth of the matter is that this is the reason America doesn’t fear what Black people might do if another innocent black child is murdered. They know the truth: Our generation isn’t about to do shit anyway, because if we do, there goes your American dream. We’ll tweet about it for a little while, then we’ll be focused on some other trivial shit a week later. They don’t have a reason to fear us. We’ve all been taught to value this American Dream, but what good is it if we have to listen to the cries of a 17 year old young man plead for his life only to be silenced by the gunshot of a coward? I’m not trying to preach or tell you how to live your lives. I just want you to understand that there are people out there right now who are defending George Zimmerman because they don’t understand why we’re outraged. Two maniacs went on a shooting spree in Tulsa Oklahoma shooting 5 random black people and killing 3. You can stand to the side if you want to but KNOW that this is a watermark moment for our generation. The rapper Nasir Jones once said, “No revolutionary gets old, or so I’m told you get left full of bullet holes when you tell the people go free, oh…it’s just a matter of days before they come and take me…” The world is still watching us…what’s OUR generation gonna do?