Archives for posts with tag: Amerikkka

Arrested for Justice!

They explained what to do and what not to do. Everything seemed so “organized.” It all made sense. I thought I understood how it was supposed to go. But my heart still pounded and my throat had a lump. They warned us about prior convictions. My mind kept wondering if I had any convictions…or even had been arrested. I couldn’t remember whether or not I had. My deep-seated distrust in the criminal justice system as a black, gay, HIV-positive man was beginning to show. All the reassurances in the world could not soothe the butterflies fluttering in my stomach.

Prior to today my record was squeaky clean, besides the traffic tickets that keep being hailed as the example of “no big deal.” But reminded me of all the times I thought I might die from a traffic stop. And all the times I thought I might be criminalized because of my sexuality. And all the times my HIV status has been used to dehumanized my black body. Yet, I chose to be arrested.

I chose to be arrested alongside the Missouri state delegate. He is a white, straight, food service worker earning $9 per hour. He is forced to chose between child support payments and healthcare. Because 50% of his pay goes to child support. He is forced to live without healthcare. Our lives could not have been further apart, but we chose to be arrested together today.

It wasn’t that bad. We chanted. We sang. We were warned. We surrendered. What I had feared all my life and sworn to avoid, was not that bad. And maybe that’s the problem. Just maybe the fear of being arrested keeps us from doing the work of justice. Perhaps the system is set up to keep the people just complacent enough to do nothing.

As I sat there on the grassy Capital lawn, behind police tape and steel barricades with like-minded strangers for justice, I thought about those who have not organized, those who did not know what to do. As I looked down at my plastic handcuffs, relieved that they were not real, even though they were….it was difficult not to act out. The meekness of the police was provocative. Their soft spokenness, their generosity of spirit up juxtaposed to the violence of state sanctioned poverty made it difficult to comply. The violence suffered by the least of these, created a deep-seated rage, prompting me to cry out.

What do we want? Justice!

When do we want it? Now!

If we don’t get it? Shut it down!

If we don’t get it? Shut it down!

If we – don’t – get – it?

Shut it down!

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Are they? Are they? Are the allies of rabid racists “Fine People?” Yes, according to our Fine President. Those cheering alongside racists, fascists, neo-Nazi, white supremacists, white nationalists, and the KKK are “Fine People.”

When he first said this, I was quite surprised. How could he say such a thing. Right there in the hallowed lobby of Trump Tower, in front of those gold-plated elevators, steps away from Fifth Avenue? I was aghast. Surely the President of the United States of America did not equate racists with anti-racists, fascists with anti-fascists, KKK with anti-KKK.

But why on earth am I surprised? This man has said and done the worst things. Worst than any publicly praised political figure in my lifetime. “Grab em by the pussy.” “Mexican rapists.” “Little Marco.” “Crooked Hillary.” Ever since the day he descended the escalators of that same lobby, Mr. Trump has said the most appalling things. Things that many would never say. Things that we all think and may say in the most intimate of spaces. Such things that haven’t been said out loud beyond the go-go bar nor HBO in a generation. Things that would make Sarah Silverman blush, he has dared to utter into the living rooms of the ever faithful American religious right wing conservative, and beyond.

But perhaps that’s why I’m quite surprised. It’s quite surprising to see such sedition in plain sight, with my very own eyes…and hear them with my very own ears. I’ve heard of them through the lips of many others, as they lamented the water hoses, the police dogs, the lynch mobs, the death camps. For generations “Fine People” have been committing evil atrocities, prompting equally “Fine People” to rise up against them.

The “Fine People” of the North, came down to fight the “Fine People” of the South in order to put an end to slavery. The “Fine People” of the Allied armies, joined forces to defeat the “Fine People” of Italy, Germany, and Japan. The “Fine People” of the Civil Rights Movement led a non-violent movement against the “Fine People” of the Jim Crow South, many of whom held many a fine picnic just beneath the lynching tree. The “Fine People” of the United States of America invaded the “Fine People” of Vietnam, and the “Fine People” of Saddam’s Iraq, and the “Fine People” of Bin Laden’s Taliban who weaponized a plane full of “Fine People” bringing down two towers filled with “Fine People” on September 11th, 2001. All very “Fine People.”

Everyday I live and work and worship with “Fine People,” living “Fine Lives” longing to hear the words, “Everything is just fine.” “You are doing everything well and right. You are in no way and by no means implicated in anything that is evil or undesirable or inhumane. You are powerless to do anything beyond the many good things you are already doing. You are fine. Everything is just fine. Or is it?

What’s most surprising about Trump’s charge that there were “Fine People” on both sides, is its brilliance. It’s brilliant because, as Americans, we all just wanna be “Fine People.” This has become the bar for all of western humanity. Mr. Trump himself was accused of having a family of “fine people” by the very opponent that he accused of paying off her husband’s rape victim. Many voted for President Trump, under the assumption that he was a “Fine Person” with “Fine Children.” In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter protested “fine white people” who deeply believe New York’s Finest are policing just fine, thank you very much, despite the unarmed death of the not-so-fine black body of Eric Gardner. Almost all of the policemen who committed these murders have been acquitted because they are “Fine Policemen” called to protect and serve “Fine White People.”

The problem with “Fine People” is that they are rarely fine, “bless they’re hearts.” “Fine People” are really restless, fearful people willing to do anything to reach the not-so-high bar of feeling just fine, thank you very much. “Fine People” are willing to forego just about anything to remain just fine. “Fine People” are only willing to tweet the bare minimum to insure that everything remains fine. “Fine People” are satisfied with waiting out the rage so that we can get on with the fine business of representative government. “Fine People” are only moved to action when the immediate luxuries of they’re “Fine Lives” are frightened and frustrated.

More than anything, “Fine people” want us all to believe that everything is fine so that those of who are far from fine, will do the least amount necessary to bring about any real  and lasting social change. For this reason, both the fascists and the Antifa were far from fine in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. One side was evil, the other courageous, each committed to fulfilling its respective agenda: one, the complete annihilation of non-white races…the other, the full equality and inclusion of all people…both by any means necessary.

This is the view of the President of the United States regarding race in America. According to Mr. Trump, racism, bigotry, violence, and hate happens “on many sides, on many sides” as he reluctantly condemned the horrific events that took place on Saturday, August 12, 2017 after a self-avowed Nazi sympathizer plowed into a crowd of peaceful protesters. After years and months of actions and rhetoric aligned closely with white nationalism and white supremacy, the President of the United States was confronted with an opportunity to distance himself from such ideas. 

After a victorious campaign that capitalized on the notion that third millennia America is no longer great due to radical Islamic terrorism, Mexican rapists and carnage on the Black streets of Chicago, the president was gifted with the golden opportunity to denounce his deal with the devils of white supremacy. Their premeditated pep rally on the streets of Charlottesville on Friday, August 11th, their violent clash with nationally renowned clergy and activists, the vehicular homicide committed by a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer who mowed down a mob of justice warriors were all gracious opportunities to give lip service to the lie that POTUS is not a violent hate monger. 

Instead of prolonging the pitiful charade of racist or nah, Mr. Trump put the nail in the coffin with these six simple words, “on many sides, on many sides.” This racist accusation of multi-faceted, many-sided racism, bigotry, and prejudice is not new to this not-so-new discourse on race in America. 

The notion that racism is polychromatic is what sustains the lie that #AllLivesMatter. The insistence that racism, bigotry, and prejudice happens on many sides, on many sides is what justifies the DOJ investigation into white college admissions. His belief that racial violence happens on many sides, on many sides inspired Mr. Trump to make it his mission to target the innocent Central Park 5 and delegitimize the citizenship of America’s only Black president. 

During the darkest hour of 2017, the President of the United States decided to equalize inequality by condemning all sides of American history. But just as an eye for any eye leaves everybody blind, so does the insidious retort, on many sides, on many sides. Condemning racism, bigotry, and prejudice on many sides, on many sides is worse than saying nothing at all. If everybody is guilty, then no one is. If every side is at fault, then all sides are justified in their actions. If racism is endemic on many sides, on many sides, then James Alex Fields, Jr’s Nazi activism is just as justified as Heather Heyer’s martyrdom for justice. 

On many sides, on many sides is the perfect way to keep an already divided nation evenly divided. On many sides, on many sides will do little to heal the wounds of the those hurt on August 12, 2017, but will do much to keep all sides angry enough for the Commander-in-Chief to consolidate just enough power in just the right places to keep himself in office. While this will never work for those fighting for justice, let’s just see if it works for him. 

I AM human. I AM black. I AM gay. I AM Christian. I AM devastated. I AM disappointed. I AM shocked. Yes. I knew it was possible. Which is why…I debated. I donated. I wrote. I posted. I preached. I prayed. I voted. I have always known the potential of hate and fear and ignorance. I have always suspected that people are less good than they appear. I have always reserved a sense of suspicion in the face of optimism. While others celebrate victories, I usually resist total jubilation. I was all in for Clinton because I knew President Trump could win. I resisted Bernie, because I feared President Trump would win. I know the depth of racialized hate in the United States of America in the name of God, because I have been called a nigger! I know the pain of homophobia in the heart of America in the name of God, because I have been called a faggot! I know the unbiblical hermeneutics that are used to construct a justification for the rage preached from American pupits, because I have been excommunicated! It is real. It is alive and well today. Say what you want about the economy…and jobs…and health care, but we all know that it is WHITE HOT RAGE that elected President Trump. It is the red-blooded hate that resists the unfamiliar. It is real. It is deep. It is ripe. It has always been here. We thought it was defeated, but it is back. I AM ok. I have seen and felt worse than this. I will heal. But I AM not sure America will, or even wants to.

Well done, President Trump.
Well done, United States of America.