Friday, August 22, 2014

"...Blood on the Leaves and Blood at the Root..."

They have no more right to use guns as whips and arms as ropes than the lynched have to lynch those who are equally oppressed.

What has caused more damage? Police brutality or minority on minority crime? I expect for fear and ignorance to drive bigotry. What one doesn't understand holds no value! So what has caused our brown people to have so much fear and a lack of self-understanding that there is a disregard for their own? A complete lack of value for their mirror image?

We cannot expect anyone to value what we ourselves disregard. "Their" ignorance coupled with our own makes for a very strange fruit! The young brown male/female partaking in the knockout game and/or fire challenge (odd and mindless displays of misguided and wasted energy), the lowly brown pusher (who ensures his race's destruction and an oppressor's monetary gain), the intellectual brown individual who's more concerned with displaying academic prowess than in uplifting his/her own, the flashy brown cat whose outwardly appearance contradicts his meager means. The brown hoodlum who willingly targets and lays waste to his own. All are very strange fruit!

We have ALL accepted the blue pill in some degree; whether we've swallowed the pill whole or in part, the digestion has filled us with misconceptions and illusions. Years of blatant oppression, followed by systems of control (i.e. Jim Crow Laws, Affirmative Action, No Child Left Behind etc.--I know some of you are now reading with raised brows, but I will elaborate momentarily), have eroded our senses. After the abolition of slavery, the Reconstruction era provided a glimpse of hope, just a glimpse. There was a degree of equal footing, our brown people saw social and political change but then the fear and ignorance crescendoed and so began a people's (a collective) descent. Despite the advent of Jim Crow, the momentary promise of Reconstruction contributed to a broader world view. The pill wasn't swallowed, at least not entirely. There was a grace, a dignity, with which our brown people carried themselves (a grace that is lost on today's brown youth, the majority of whom revel in embarrassing displays of life-threatening games and pranks, inappropriate attire and language, and no respect for those who have preceded them); after Jim Crow, a very obvious system of oppression, there had to be something that was more evasive, something that was guaranteed to break the solidarity of a people and, in so doing, weaken the spirit.

The equal footing that Reconstruction promised, leveled the playing field between the favored and unfavored within a race, as well. Affirmative Action all but guaranteed that the field would yet again become uneven by elevating a select view and No Child Left Behind (an iteration of the Education and Secondary Education Act of 1965) does the same in reverse, ironically. The aim is to support the educational equity of kids from poor and marginalized families/neighborhoods. The school funding and subsequent interventions that are provided often go to the those at the lower tier while the 3's and 4's, especially 4's, are left behind to fend for themselves (yet they too are in need of support to ensure the all too elusive "educational equity"). These systems caused an unidentified caste system. Theoretically speaking, a caste system is merely a means of segregating a people. Jim Crow created a dichotomy between two races and the systematic forms of oppression that followed merely ensured that the dichotomy would remain by segmenting a race through "opportunities" afforded to a select few, solidarity and spirits, thus, broken.

I am disgusted by the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Shawn Bell etc., especially since their lives were unjustly taken by those who are supposed to protect and serve. I am just as outraged when I hear of a young brown man,woman, teen, or child whose life is unjustly taken by their own.

As Lady Day crooned, "Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck[.] For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck[.] For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop[.] Here is a strange and bitter crop."

It seems so fitting a description. The crows have blatantly and latently plucked for quite sometime, but our roots hadn't betrayed us. Unfortunately, our roots are no longer as strong. What's worse is that the crows know it!

We need our own ALS (Anti-lynching System) Challenge. I wonder what this challenge should look like. What would our buckets contain? The amount of folks who've participated in the ALS challenge to date, have collectively donated millions to a worthy cause. Isn't the eradication of a people's fear and the promotion of self-understanding just as worthy? Very strange fruit!

No comments: