We are all made of hearts, be they in white cages or black ones, we feel. When senseless killings happen among people at war, we blame it on the conflict, but America is at peace. In this country, the police, sentinels of our democratic peace, are more afraid of death than the people they swear to protect. When confronted by black folks, their nerves are excited by preconceived notions of blackness, and they become trigger happy. There are those among us who would be quick to point out that they sometimes do it to white folks too. Those are the people I am worried about. They are the ones Dr. King wrote about when he said, “shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” If you are one of those people making excuses for these police killings, then you ought to listen to what your black neighbors are saying they feel.
Yesterday, one of my American friends asked a very simple question which I want to echo here. After lamenting the fear of the police among black men, black parents, and black folks in general, she asked: Many Americans are mourning. Why aren’t you? I, too, would like to know why you are going about your quotidian lives as if your black brothers and sisters are not bleeding to death at the hands of your officers! The killings of the past few days should produce anger in every human heart and that anger should lead to an outrage for change. Silence is a voice; it screams in favor of the status quo.
In my nonviolent presentations across American schools, students often ask why do people engage in violence, especially when talking about African conflicts. I simply remind them that history has taught us that when we push marginalized people to the brink, they fight. They fight even if they have to use sticks and stones against armored cars. Societies that have avoided such violent resistance from a marginalized group are those that had leaders to channel their feelings towards nonviolence. America of the civil rights era had a King, South Africa under apartheid had their Madiba, and India brought forth a Mahatma to resist colonialism.
No society is at peace when some of its members walk with fear. In America, unlike many places I know, you have the right to protest, to vote, to scream: enough is enough! So why aren’t you angry?
In : Articles
Tags: "joseph kaifala" "black lives matter" america
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