539082_10151844575038627_174614362_n  By Traci A. Ricks

Cause it’s a war going on outside on the corner, it’s a war on your TV screen every morning, not the war with the bombs and the helicopters swarming but the war for your soul, that’s what everyone’s ignoring, it’s a war going on…” ~ War, King Los

 

DETROIT, MI – Let’s be clear: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A ‘POST RACIAL’ AMERICA. Nothing has been more evident in these last few years than that. Nothing. America is still rife with hate. But it’s a new, old hate. It’s the kind of hate passed down through generations and generations of bigoted family practice. It is inherited, diluted, I-really-don’t-know-why-exactly-I-hate kind of hate, the most dangerous kind of hate. It is the kind of hate that has turned little white boys and girls into adult terrorists and urban war mongers. It’s new millennium hate, the kind that masks itself as fear and dresses up in blue uniforms. It is the kind that is licensed to kill without hesitation or fear of judicial consequence.

This new, old hate is the new, old Jim Crow. It has separated us—blacks from whites, police from communities they serve, the poor from the rich, the rich from the middle class. It has outed white privilege. It has to some degree lifted the blinders of the populous of white America. It has shamed those who had no idea they even subscribed to it, and it has emboldened those who did, and do.
It has made the white owner of a bar that sits in the blackest city in America, blame black victims for their own demise. That’s what privilege does: it allows white people to only speak, act, from their own perspective and stand, in judgement. In an apparent Facebook rant, Mark Jerant, co-owner of Bookies bar wrote among other deplorable, despicable assumptions, “Simple story never changes. Listen to police who have guns pointed at you and don’t get shot. It isn’t hard…”
Oh, but it is hard. It is hard to be a black person in America. It’s hard because, well, slavery, institutional racism, drugs poured into communities by your own government, preschool to prison pipeline, racially motivated murder caught live on camera, and police who kill with impunity then use the standard boilerplate, “I feared for my life…”.

It is baffling that Mark Jerant has not noticed that the majority of black men and women killed by police were listening, and complying with police in the moments leading up to their murders. Black Detroit was having none of it and it’s social media wrath came down like a hail storm of fire and brimstone. He’s since, supposedly severed ties with Bookies. Black Detroit doesn’t believe it though.

We’re scarred, and, a city of skeptics when it comes to empty apologies and insubstantial quick fixes.
There is war happening here, in these the not-so United States of America. It has consistently throughout its history waged this war, everywhere. However, none has been more pervasive than the one happening to our spirits and minds. None has been more devastating than the domestic terrorism inflicted upon minorities and people of color. Goodie Mob sang and rapped about it nearly two decades ago. It wasn’t new then, and isn’t new now.

During slavery, the torture and mutilation of what were considered wayward slaves was used to keep other slaves obedient. In the civil rights era, public lynchings were fortifiers of the old Jim Crow school of thought. What’s happening now, across the ‘interwebs’, the viewing and sharing of people being murdered, is nothing short of what has already happened in various points of American history. It is not a coincidence that the majority of these politically sanctioned murders are happening to relatively young, black men, justified because they ‘look’ bad. And by ‘look bad’ they mean ‘black’.

These are messages to them that enforce the notion that black people, men in particular, have a place, one in which they must stay. And should they happen to deviate from that place, they will suffer a hefty consequence. The long term affects of this result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, every black parent in America, let’s try this again: EVERY BLACK PARENT IN AMERICA, must have ‘the talk’ with their children. Not the talk about birds and bees, not the simple be-aware-of-your-surrondings talk, but instead, our talk is the you-are-a-target-and-i-don’t-know-what-the-fuck-to-tell-you-to-do-about-it-because-should-you-get-stopped-by-the-police-even-if-you-comply-you-might-die, talk. How devastating is that? Really. Who wants to have that talk?
White people in America don’t have that talk with their children.

So now, we have an entire nation/race of people caught in a vice of fear. Now, there are black motorists afraid to reach for their drivers license during what is supposed to be a routine traffic stop. There is not a therapy regimen that could cure what plagues black people in America. This living in constant fear, this attempting to survive under the threat of discrimination, this expectation of death has been passed down from generation to generation through DNA. It’s in the bones of black folks, it is embedded in our psyche. Our PTSD did not start in this new millennium.

It started on the coast of Africa, in mammoth ships sailing the Atlantic, on the Trail of Tears and beneath Smallpox blankets. Our muscles remember. Our souls remember. And we mourn them, the ancestors who were the first to endure inexplicable treachery. Our cells remember. And this remembering manifests as self-hatred, cyclical abuse, black-on-black crime, etc. Our pain is deep rooted, deep-seated. It cannot be alleviated until there is change, real, grand, phenomenal change. That means that white people have a responsibility to confront their racism, now. Right goddamned now, find the root, and pluck it.

We all need healing. Black people. White people. Native Americans. All of us. But we cannot heal, as a nation, as the body of God, unless we all contribute to that effort. Now.

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