So, I’ve been trying to think of how I wanted to say something about this whole situation all day. I’m no stranger to speaking out and I’ve honestly been tired of it lately. I feel like some of it falls of deaf ears, but if I’m tired then what the hell does that make my brothers and sisters of color that go through this everyday?
It takes something like a martyr that is personally relatable to get me back into writing or make me motivated and that is NOT how it’s supposed to be. This skater, Anthony Huber gave his life to try and stop this 17-year old terrorist, who came from out of state, after he had already murdered one protestor, and was marching around the streets with an illegally obtained AR-15 firing at others. He had passed cops all night and this whole thing just disgusts me.
I try to relate over and over how lucky I’ve be throughout my life to get away with all the shit we did when we were kids and all I can think about is this skater gave his life to something I’ve been saying I’ve been about my whole life.
It was like 1998 or 1999 idk, Snellville, Ga – a usual run around with the cops from skateboarding and general suburban mayhem resulted in a friend of mine cracking a cop over the head with his skateboard—as we all fled in various directions. We got away from them all the time like this, normally not being so violent. They would take it out on us when we got older, but we didn’t get filled with holes and killed either. And that’s the privilege that I’ve been tired of helping others try to see, but it has to be talked about.
May he rest in power, but I sit here tonight feeling like Anthony Huber gave his life for all of us punks running around causing shit and not doing enough back in the day. God knows I have preached my share of it and went down on some self-martyrdom trips of self-righteous sanctimony.
I read something that I’ve been spinning around in my head all week that I want to write my take on here. There’s a great book that just came out by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. called, Begin Again, where he uses James Baldwin’s writings to make lessons for the present day.
The way I saw it presented is that we already have 2 strikes against us when it comes to racial injustices and the failure to make the necessary course corrections as a country;
- Reconstruction Redemption:
Coming out of the Civil War and emancipation, freed slaves were given new rights. Men could vote and hold political office and own land. The so-called “redemption” of the South carried out by the Ku Klux Klan and other hoodlums violently took away those rights following the compromise of 1877 (following the contested presidential election of Hayes, the South conceded the results for the withdrawal of federal troops) this lead to the Southern states establishing new constitutions and the Jim Crow segregation South. That’s the first strike.
- Civil Rights Era results in the War on Drugs:
Following the end of the Jim Crow era and segregation—the “Southern Strategy” switched all southern democrats over to the Republican Party under the guise of “law and order” and new coded speak for the same old racial rhetorical. If you dispute this just go lookup Lee Atwater during the Nixon administration. Regan ramped this up tremendously in the 80s and Clinton made it worse with bringing the Democrats to a centrist platform and establishing even worse mandatory minimums on-violent crimes. The result is an atrocious cyclic prison for profit system. One that people seem to agree more and more about how unfair it is—they just can’t agree that it was founded on racism.
That leads me to my roundabout point and potential strike 3…
The American economy is founded on free labor and we have a hard time letting go of that. That’s just the truth. Race was created as a construct to divide the European slave trade in the 1400s and wasn’t really ramped up in America until about the 1620s. The creation of the cotton gin in 1793 turned the industry into an economic giant that demanded millions of slaves in the South. Despite what you may have read growing up, the South was never going to give up slavery. They spoke extensively about this. It was too profitable and the plantar class was the educated class that controlled almost all southern politics. Please do yourself a favor if you believe some of the “lost cause” narrative and research the Dunning school of thought. The war was inevitable.
Once the war was over the violent backlash to take back the South from freed slaves, “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags” was relentless. This period of Reconstruction is glossed over at best in schools, largely due to the fact that the South had gained control of the media and schools and influence on stories that were told, using the Daughters of the Confederacy to do most of the heavy lifiting. As we’ve moved further away from that time the more has been uncovered and the more voices from Black scholars of the time have come to the forefront. There were plenty of accounts telling the actual truth back then, but they were literally suppressed and even killed.
Lynch law ruled the land after the compromise of 1877 and they didn’t have to bring the hoods out anymore—they just did it in broad day light. No joke y’all, lynchings were advertised in the papers and special trains were run from out of town to bring in families, children would pick souvenirs from the corpses. Numerous race riots under the false pretenses of “outrages” on white women. How many of you know about the Atlanta race riot of 1906? I barley did until this year.
All of this established sharecropping and convict-leasing systems that were steps back towards slavery and more free labor. The people who profited from all of this would just need to keep inventing new ways to continue the cycle of free labor…
The long and violent road for civil rights, not even equal rights, just civil, resulted in the backlash of systemic injustice of the private prison pipeline. Manufacturing a system of oppression that’s so complicated, that we all get caught up in it and can’t agree on what or who it effects because it effects most all of us. It honestly pains me sometimes when some of y’all can’t understand that your personal experience as a White person still doesn’t relate to the entire experiences of another race. And no one is not taking your experiences seriously either, but when you interject yourself as the center of attention as an individual in a discussion about a systemic issue, then we have a fallacy in communication. But the numbers are out there for all to see and are staggering. The disproportionate policies of policing were intentionally designed and some of the biggest companies in this country still profit from prison labor.
So, my point is something like we are on the cusp of strike 3. The election of a Black president was more significant than many of my White friends will ever admit to themselves. I know it was to me at first. I had my own insecurities that I had to get past early on, and I had a lot of conversations with friends about these things. If it seems like I’m making some big leap on how Trumps rhetoric and response to all that has happened with police, Charlottesville, and race in his administration relates with with how this country responded during Reconstruction or post the Civil Rights Era — then maybe you really need to examine what your personal issues are with all that’s going on. The election of a Black president signaled a massive step forward in accomplishment alone. The response from that has been telling and the result of all the ugliness we continue to try and sweep under the rug. It can’t be hidden and covered up anymore.
The looting or rioting or whatever the media wants to call it is nothing. It’s drops in a bucket in comparison. These are things and objects in comparison to human lives. This isn’t me advocating for destruction of people’s property or anything, but saying it’s the likely outcome from failure to listen and act on the same old shit.
America, maybe you have one strike left and need to actually step up to bat for once.
Alright rant over. Love all y’all and thanks ❤️