“A riot is the language of the unheard. -Martin Luther King, Jr.”
By now you know about Trayvon Martin, and how his murderer George Zimmerman, was found to be “not guilty.” It gets pretty redundant, typing out all of the reasons he should have been found guilty. Discussing how dumb and/or racist the jurors were for not convicting Zimmerman. Acknowledging how much better his parents are then I, or anyone else would be, during this time when the courts have placed a value of zero on their sons life. I can’t even begin to know how the Martin’s keep their sanity with all that’s going on. I am still going to talk a little bit MORE about a few things that need to be said, besides all of that.
The day of the verdict all kinds of news heads were discussing the anticipation of riots if there was to be a “not guilty” verdict. They may not have realized how they were stereo typing people of color (or maybe they did). Basically, when black people get angry or upset, we are expected to loot and riot.
First and foremost my response to those that anticipated riots, If we were going to riot then we would have rioted when Jordan Miles, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Chavis Carter, Kenneth Harding, Donovan Jackson, Ramarly Graham, Christopher Harris, Andrew Rodriguez, Amadou Diallo, Jordan Davis, Danielle Maudsley, Raven Dozier, Alesia Thomas, Aiyana Jones, Lamon Haslip, Shelly Fray, Roderick Hamilton, Jerry Waller, Cindy, Max, Cacedric White, Michael Westley, Joseph Hardy, Kimani Gray, Lamont Harmon, Bo Morrison, Shereese Francis, Dane Garrett Scott, Ervin Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Deshone Travis, Destin Thomas, Mario Romero, Reynaldo Cuevas, Henry Lee Sr., Kenny Releford, Logan Bell, Ronald Herrera, and Timothy Russell were unarmed and murdered by a cop or vigilante. By the way, this list is only naming a hand full of victims.
After all of that, we marched. Not with anger or violence; but with peace, hope, and motivation. Why is it assumed that a black person only resorts to violence when we become angry or upset? That would mean we have no self control. That would also mean that we are “different” mentally, because we react to our anger, hurt and injustice; “differently then white people” implied by the whole notion that we riot based on our race. This implies we have a lack of self control simply because we are black. The whole “different then normal people” aspect implies that we are “less than” on the food chain of the human hierarchy. So let me get this right. Are you calling me and my people, subhuman? Animals?
Do you know that the city of Oakland peacefully marched every single month for years, and still does! It wasn’t until a young black man was unarmed, killed, and died; that the city decided to say “fuck it” I am angry! Oscar Grant is proof that peaceful just doesn’t get the attention it needs. Peaceful is getting no attention from the media, from the politicians; therefore peaceful creates no change what. so. ever. We’ve been conditioned to peacefully, and quietly express our unhappiness, we are kept under control and right where we need to be so that we feel like we are doing something and doing absolutely nothing at the same time. We have been given our boundaries and we are being good little black people by staying in them. Don’t fuss too loud! Don’t want to really cause havoc! Don’t want to really cause change! Don’t want to affect the way outsiders see us! Don’t want to give them any reason to say anything bad about us (even though they already do, and are gonna if they want to!).
“De white folks ’fraid to let de children learn anythin’. They fraid dey get too sma’t and be harder to manage. Dey nebber let em know anything about anythin’. Never have any church. Effen [If] you go you set in de back of de white folks chu’ch. But de niggers slip off an’ pray an’ hold prayer-meetin’ in de woods den dey tu’n down a big wash pot and prop it up wif a stick to drown out de soun’ ob de singin’.” -FANNIE MOORE, enslaved in North Carolina
After the Oakland community marched and marched and marched for safer neighborhoods, more money in their schools, safer schools, more attention from government officials, and no more POLICE BRUTALITY; and after all of these things keep on occurring on a daily basis; the unthinkable happens!
Whaddaya know. CNN was on that Oakland riot story like white on rice. They had no idea why people were breaking windows and lighting garbage bins on fire, but they made sure to get a good angle on all of that chaos. They made sure to portray us black and poor folks like animals being unruly, angry, and criminal. They didn’t ask why! They didn’t bother to tell you that this was a community plagued by poverty, police brutality, and a lack of attention from those that claim to implement change. They didn’t talk about oppression. All they talked about was the end result…a bunch of angry black folks destroying their own neighborhoods and making life hard for small businesses. Boo-fuckin-hoo!
From the day that Zimmerman was declared a free man, up until now, hundreds of cities all over the WORLD, have been engaged in peaceful protests. Not riots! There have been marches, candle light vigils, rallies, concerts, etc… Not one muthafrickin channel is talking about that. Not one! They had Jay Z and Beyonce out there giving speeches and taking photos. Not nare coverage of any of it! Zip! Thank God for the world wide web! Do you see a cycle here? Do you see the message it is sending when peaceful protests bring zero media, zero political, zero attention vs when there are riots and every media network is fighting over who can get there the fastest? Because we already got the message that:
- You can get away with murdering an unarmed black person in this country and still be scott-free.
- You can peacefully march in the streets with no end result and be good black people at the same time.
Now this?!!! When they do decide to pay attention, the media/politicians/racists will only discuss how much like animals we are, or manipulate their story to make it look like we are indeed unruly or out of control, and for no reason. The media will never give the history that leads up to the story. The politician will never cater to a cause that isn’t either lining his/her pockets or getting media attn. The racist will always find “just cause” to label us as something negative. So what do we have to lose?
The media refuses to talk about how every single day at least one black person is murdered by a police officer or a wanna-be cop, and the maximum punishment he gets for taking a black life is usually only a few months…..if that! The media wont tell you about a seven year old, in Detroit, who was sleeping on her grandmas couch, murdered by an officer. The officer got to carry on with his life as an innocent man, while her long life was cut short. They wont talk about a teenage boy in Pittsburgh, walking home with his violin (because he was a violinist) getting attacked, pulled to the ground, and beaten by plain clothes officers who never once identified who they were. They wont talk about the older man in California, who was mistaken FOR SOMEONE THE POLICE ALREADY HAD IN CUSTODY and was laid out on the street to die “because he ran.” The definitely wont talk about the teenager (link is graphic) in SF California, who was shot in his back by police for stealing a bus ride home. This was done in front of dozens of witnesses, and he laid there for at least 20 minutes begging for medical attention and dragging his body around on the ground…while police just made sure no one took photos. They won’t discuss when police in California will see you and your children outside sitting on the grass and minding your business, and decide to sic their police dogs on you while you hold your babies trying to protect them.
So before you criticize a group of people based on a stereotype, or before you encourage your own people to follow what is considered to be social normal, question that stereotype…challenge that norm. I understand that in the 50’s and 60’s people marched and brought about change. Did they really though? By the looks of today it seems as if we were just given some room to move around. For some reason it feels like we are not supposed to expect nor demand true equality. While the marches during the movement brought about change for those times, we are in a different era with different resources. The only way we are going to see the change and equality we want is if we make our voices heard. I know that sounds cliche but what I am saying is the furthest from it. Protesting shouldn’t be pretty. It should be demanding and it should be consistent. Marching all over the country is very unified and shows that we see that change is needed, but after that day is over, all is forgotten. In the streets and every day! That is where we need to be until we see change, with no days off!
“It isn’t just about understanding those that are different then the dominant group.
Its about understanding how the dominant group, and the dominant culture limit The horizons of, and opportunities of those in the subordinated groups.
We need, in other words, not only to understand “them”…quote/unquote.
Those that are “different then the norm”..quote/unquote.
We must understand the norm
And how the norm changes peoples opportunities from day to day, and from Week to week, and from year to year.
And that’s something we haven’t done for a very long time.
We take the norm for granted.
We assume its legitimate.
We never question it.
We act as if all we need to do just make these different people fit in.
If we can just make them fit in with “our thing”
Then everything will be fine.
But maybe “our thing” is the problem.
Maybe “our thing” is the thing thats creating this stress.
Maybe “our thing” needs to be changed not only for the subordinated group Members but maybe even for some of the dominant group members.
Cause it doesn’t work for all of us either” -Tim Wise, DeAnza College 2/22/2007