An Open Letter to those I love and that love me. We have lived together, but in society we stand apart. This hurts, and now I’ll tell you why.
Quotes have been raised up by Martin Luther King, Jr. to simultaneously admonish and absolve rioting. In a video I watched from Youtuber T1J, there was a reading of a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967 at Stanford University that gives the context both sides omit.
“I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way. But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities, as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense, our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”
“…time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the forces of ill-will in our nation, the extreme rightists in our nation –have often used time much more effectively than the forces of good will. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic word of the bad people, and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say “wait on time. Somewhere we must come to see that social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts of the persistent work of dedicated individuals. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. And so we must help time, and we must realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
When it comes to civil rights activism, the thing that confuses/angers me the most is that not everyone is on the same page. Namely, how non-Black and non-PoC individuals are content to drink in the nosebleeds or obstruct passively from the sidelines. And when the field is taken often times it is with a bout of “Whataboutism”.
“This is a protest”: Black and White photo of MLK
“This is a crime”: Color photos of looting
“See the difference?” (not posting the picture because I don’t want to give clicks and reposts)
Yes. But do you want to know what else I see?
From the past, I see people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s marching so that their children and all those that follow them don’t need to fight the same battles. From the present, I see people who are opportunistic. They don’t care at all about justice. They are using it as a cover to seize what they covet. They indulge their avarice and use the protests as a scapegoat.
But do you want to hear what I know? Too bad. I’m telling you anyhow.
Martin Luther King, Jr. marched 50 years ago, circa 1963. Sure, Jim Crow was legally abolished and voting rights for Black America soon followed. But not every minority group held the same rights. There was more progress to be had and more equality to be meted out. Substantial progress was made until recently. But now, those original marchers are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s if they’re still alive at all. They have to watch as the banners under which they stood have to be picked up by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. That was the whole blasted reason why they stood up in the first place. For change. Peace. Prosperity for their descendants. So their descendants didn’t need to fight. Instead, we have fear. Apathy. We have to continue to prove that we are worthy of human consideration. We have to convince people that death is unjust. Technology now lets us show the truth that has persisted. And only if it meets a narrow band of criteria is the injustice oh-so-magnanimously (<sarcasm) given credence.
I'm young, but I'm tired. I've seen that the world is messed up for more than a quarter-century now. Nothing works.
It doesn't matter how nicely I dress.
It doesn't matter how verbose and well-enunciated my speech is.
It doesn't matter if I am a CEO, soldier, or civilian.
It doesn't matter if I vote.
It doesn't matter if I cry out for justice. It doesn't matter how many echo my howling.
The Civil Rights Movement didn't end. It expanded. People who don't want me to live freely are completely content with the fact that I am afraid in this country. They want to push me down further. They want their sense of the old empire. Those that do not serve to be silenced.
deep breath followed by a long sigh
Think of World War II veterans. Do you think they’re happy considering they went halfway around the world to end the Nazi regime only to see American-raised Nazis in their own country in their twilight years? If they had the vim, vigor, and vitality of their younger selves, how much anger do you think they would have?
Is it so unreasonable then that a community, making no progress after half a century, has anything left but pain, rage, and sorrow?
If your focus is the looting… if you think THAT is the true tragedy and what is worth wagging a finger of shame about… BLEEDING FINE. You don’t want looting? Stop the protests. How do you stop the protests? Stop police from using deadly and unbalanced force on people who are not being forceful at all. Be with us in our agony. Shout with us. Vote with us. Do something besides kicking back and being holier than thou. (Normally I’d opt for absolute politeness, but I am genuinely raging, so a little needs to make it through.) Help me/us feel at ease in this country and you don’t have to worry about an insured corporate outlet getting ransacked. Join with us so that the inciting incident, an unjust death, doesn’t happen again. Ever.
Until I feel like justice can be done on my behalf, I will not live with a measure of true peace.
As I close my eyes to sleep
I entreat My Queen my crown to keep
And if Death’s Kiss my soul does take
I entreat My Love to rule in my wake
To view the world from atop a spire
Two hearts as one fused by immortal fire
In face of light, of rain and thunder
Nothing in Creation able to rend asunder
Stars shine high casting ceaseless Light
Forces able to withstand Night
Under eyes divine like The Sisters Three
The Eternal End, So Mote It Be
Occasionally I am moved to wax poetic on social media. In an effort to bring all such efforts together, I’ll start posting them here as come across them again. Shortly, I will share the one I found today.
Possessing the dubious honor of bottom ranking in my (soon-to-be-retired) rating system, read my reasoning why this sub-series is my least favorite branch of the lauded franchise.
Yet again I am seeking to end a hiatus. I have had lots of ideas while I have been away, and it is difficult to pick a singular place to start. At the very least, I will prop the tents up and slap “Coming Soon” signs on them. While this is not nearly as a refined and finished product as I like to present, starting sloppy is better than honing a perfection that will never come.