In regards to comments flying around online and in the media about black people over the last few days, I must confess it does lead one to come up with one conclusion more than any other. And that is that as a nation America just doesn’t care that much about black people. Or put a different way, most people in America just don’t care about black people. There I said it. Someone had to. Im not the first and I certainly won’t be the last. People are saying it all over the country at the moment. At least those who are paying attention. And that’s the key to this whole thing: America cares so little about black people that not that many people are even discussing this issue. Most of the people who are are black. And that’s insane considering that not just one but two unarmed Americans were killed in cold blood by cops in the last 30 days.
Just compare the response to these last two murders of unarmed black men by police to almost anything else going on around the country or the world… Those are the last things anyone is thinking about. The american media and the people are talking about the protests in Ferguson Missouri more than they’re talking about the actual cause of the protests. It’s a nightly public spectacle akin to a circus, everybody tuning in each evening to see what those crazy people down in Missouri will do next.
American citizens murdered in plain view by police. Yet no one cares. Just imagine if Erik Gardner — strangled to death by four cops in New York City last month — would have been a WHITE husband and father trying to make ends meet… The response would have been catastrophically different. It would be front page news all over the world! “New York Police Strangle Unarmed Father of Five To Death!” But because he was black… That’s a different story entirely. The truth is that NO ONE EVEN KNOWS WHO ERIK GARDNER IS.
Remember Jon Bennett Ramsey? That cute little white beauty queen girl who went missing 20 years ago? The country went crazy! That drama and saga went on for decades and prompted countless fortunes for countless people, the media, the family, people writing books about it, TV specials, etc etc. Erik Gardner — strangled to death on the street like an animal by four cops live on a camera phone?!?! NOTHING. Except protests from the black community. It might as well not have happened.
I think it’s something that we just need to face about America. Black people are at best an endured leftover from days gone by… A former means to end but still around. Americans needed them, so they used them, and then when they no longer were allowed to use them as they needed, they set them free and said “alright we’re done with you. So go on and get out of here. But there’s no law that says that we have to CARE”.
And since the great Emancipation Proclamation that’s how it’s been. A very small freedom where they’ve had to fight and claw and struggle for every new right, law, liberty or privilege they’ve begrudgingly been given by the white powers that be. We must remember that the Civil Rights Act didn’t come with any law that said that America had to care. They just weren’t allowed to hang black people up on trees or beat them in the city streets or segregate them from society anymore.
Another way to look at America’s view of black people perhaps is as an unfortunate token that America tries to make the best of. Americans have very specific token roles they place black people into: here’re our token black comedians. Here’re our token black singers and musicians. Here are our token black athletes. (This is very Romanesque, the way that white America sits up on their bleachers and in their private boxes making large bets on and throwing wads of cash at these modern day gladiators as they perform for everyone down in the center of the ring…) And look here: we even have a token black president! Okay well he’s half black anyway. But still! Doesn’t that surely prove that we’ve overcome our bigotry and racist tendencies and can formally announce to the world the heralding of a new more evolved America where all men truly are equal?
But again it’s all for show. It’s a token. A trifle. Smoke and mirrors. Take a look at the actual statistics revolving around the average black American and the image looks completely different. It gets skewed and blurred from the token affection we appear to show for black people on the surface. The PRIMARY purpose of African American males in America today seems to be to fill up prisons in order to generate profits for the industrialized prison business. This is not to say that ALL black men MUST serve this purpose. It’s certainly not mandatory. And no one is saying or implying that. It’s just made very easy to imprison black men. So much so that the majority of people IN prison in America are black men. This of course leads to an all too predictable absence of men in the black communities all over America which leads to a whole host of problems waiting to happen long before they do. It becomes a circular problem that can never resolve.
Now if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re of the same mind and spirit of the kind of people who DO care about black people. Not because they’re black. But because they’re people. But we mustn’t let that compel us to believe that the rest of the country feels the same way we do. The majority of people, or better put, the majority of the people in power seem to put up with them more than care about them… America throws them a little assistance here and there in the form of welfare, food stamps, affirmative action and Medicaid. That seems to make everyone feel like “it’s all okay with the black people”; but their lives don’t seem to be valued the same way that other people’s are. If they were, we certainly wouldn’t be in a situation like this yet again, another young black boy killed in cold blood long before the prime of his life and a country at odds with itself wondering what the hell are we going to do now?
See, we have to begin to get real about this issue. The plain simple truth of this issue is this: both Gardner and Brown were unarmed, did not pose a threat, weren’t even doing anything wrong in fact, but were both murdered. In reality it doesn’t really matter who killed them. White or black. Nor does it matter too much that the alleged killers happened to be cops. What really matters is what we are going to do as a nation about these deaths — considering that it’s against the law to kill people.
It seems that every time a black person gets killed in America — especially if it’s by a white person — their life means a little less than if they were white. The law against murder doesn’t seem to apply if the person who was murdered is black. This may or may not be the case in reality. But this is certainly how it seems to the world. Trayvon Martin was just one example — a very public one — of this anomalous exception to the law; it showed clearly how little we value life in America if that life happens to be of color. The Trayvon case shocked the country. And the world looked on with horror. How the hell can they allow a man to get off Scott-free who freely admitted to shooting and killing an unarmed teenage boy? Oooohhhh, he was BLACK…. Oh okay, we get it. And that seems to be how it is in America today. Not much different than it was one-hundred years ago. Look at this way: as of this writing, the four police officers who strangled Erik Gardner to death in broad daylight were still going to work every day. This is by all accounts an insane reality. And no, there’s no way in hell this would be the case if Gardner had been a white girl, as opposed to a black male.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Had this dream that I was helping an underground movement working for African American rights. Actually not sure if I was in the States or in another country. a lot of covert crawling through tunnels and jumping over barbwire fences to get to secret meetings… I was like “the white connection to the outside world” so to speak it seemed to be. All very hush hush and dangerous. The people in charge were all black from what i can remember and we were in a very impoverished environment. I was constantly sleeping amongst or jumping over homeless type people in rags or box-homes.
At a time when I am rethinking where to fuel my activist energies right now, a lot of prayer and meditation and observation about it… feeling the peace/anti-war movement is always going to be there but as a species we are essentially fucked in the face of these giant corporate-controlled entities that pose as governments on planet earth right now. ten million people marched to protest the United States’ invasion of the country of Iraq and it did absolutely nothing. It had no effect. There are still over one million Iraqi civilians dead at the hands of the so called “coalition forces.” Meaning what? corporate controlled/Matrix Styled robot-soldiers who do whatever “force” tells them to do. And we the people of the planet truly just have no say in it.
Inspiring that that many people came out on one single day to protest all over the planet? sure. but is it going to stop newly elected US president Obama from attempting to occupy Afghanistan? No. Won’t even be an issue. I don’t think anything is going to wake Americans up to the horrors of war and what it actually means for foreign insurgents to enter your country, boss you around, put up blockades, kill innocent people, and arrest thousands of your neighbors until it actually happens in their own country. Then we may be able to muster enough understanding to build a real coalition of a large enough group of people to actually have an effect on these “selected officials” and their war-mongering ways. Until then, anyone anywhere in the world is a target for arrest, occupation, imprisonment, or death at the drop of a hat if the United States and other large nations decides that’s what they want to do.
We not yet be living breathing batteries as suggested in the symbolic Matrix film series, but the people of earth for better or worse are clearly prisoners of powers much stronger than they are able to overcome. Only they’re not machines. (perhaps they are?) But by all accounts they appear to be living breathing human beings no different than ourselves. We live in a comfortable prison for some to be sure. Say if one lives in Kansas or New York. Not so comfortable for many others… Zimbabwe, Liberia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, on and on the list grows…. or shrinks, depending on how one views it.
So the last few months I have really begun praying and meditating frequently and intensely on “what next?” in terms of where I might be able to better serve more people in real tangible ways. After Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia and Grenada and Panama and Nicaragua and Iraq (and so many more I simply fail to mention out of being too lazy to want to look up right now) it is clear that any efforts put forth by “the people” of earth to stop war-mongers is moot and in essence a waste of valuable time effort and energy.
It does though explain two things: why people as powerful and influential as Bono and Al Gore and Bill and Melinda Gates take on other causes, rather than what one suspects they believe in their hearts to also be a worthy cause – peace on earth. AND it also helps explain the motives and actions of people such as the Weather Underground, Che Guevara, Osama Bin Laden, the IRA, or the leaders of the Iranian Revolution. Crazy? Sure. But what they were/are fighting against was/is equally crazy.
So like the Buddha i sit quietly and meditatively torn between two worlds: out and out underground revolutionary to the death, even if it means three weeks or months from today i breathe my last breath in this current form. Or a more elegant peaceful and orderly style of helping… albeit one that requires more patience and a more mature ability to endure the ludicrous and unnecessary atrocities and lies, death and destruction that surround us at every corner of the globe at the hands of people who live in our own backyards and neighborhoods. Decision not made yet. So I sit.
Worthy causes: poverty, AIDS in Africa, women’s rights around the world, human trafficking and slavery, every 3.9 seconds someone dies of hunger or thirst somewhere in the world. If we wanted to we could end it in a year or two. But again, if WE WANTED to. Equal education. Gay rights. Fair trade. Blacks and Latinos still have it pretty tough. And no one even bothers to dare broach the stomach churning plight of the Native Americans and the other indigenous peoples of the planet. But that is one I would love to see brought up and finally faced and reconciled in our lifetimes…
We ask and it shall be given… so every night I am thrown into these random dreams/nightmares involving some sort of revolutionary events I have found myself entangled in. Some more terrifying than others. Some tame and reasonable and more “court and circus oriented.” Some downright “action adventure movie” style craziness. Each morning I wake up and scribble down as much as i can remember of what I was doing, how I felt, if the goal seemed a noble one… how I truly feel about it… if I believe that it is my calling to take it on and try to help…. a transition phase to be sure. But one that I will soon have an answer for I am sure.
Still one-hundred and ten percent behind helping bridge peace with the country of Iran, bring Tibet back to the Tibetan peoples, freedom of the Chechens, feeding the hungry, housing the poor, fighting poverty, and general do-gooding. But there is plenty more we can do… that’s for sure. In time we will know….
“We must be aware of the real problems of the world. Then, with mindfulness, we will know what to do and what not to do to be of help.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“The secret of this storm is that it is a birthing and it is going to demand everything of you and 1. We must now purify our hearts and galvanize our wills to ensure that the new divine humanity can be born. We are going through a dark night of the species as a whole. The crisis is offering humanity these intensities to expand and shatter the heart of humanity and for the first time in history we will start to create a world of love and justice.
“What are you doing to stop this madness? How are you living? What are you risking at this time of unprecedented crisis? Nature is bleeding to death. The population is exploding. Weapons of mass destruction are proliferating and religions are retreating into fundamentalism. The mass media is feeding us trivialities when we need to be taught about real reality. The rich world is locking itself into materialism that leaves the rest of the world starving.
“We need to become mystic activists. Mystics must get active and equally the activists must become mystic. Activists must learn to act from divine peace that will feed them divine wisdom. You must always act from as loving and forgiving a heart as possible and remember you have to learn how to ask and you will be given what you need. Then this world can become the living kingdom of this divine humanity.”