You can fix ignorance with knowledge. But you can’t fix stupid because that is a choice. If somebody offers you knowledge and you choose to reject it, then that is willful ignorance and you have chosen to be stupid.
We live in the information age. Most young people who think they know everything have no idea that all this stuff exists because people before them wrote the book on many of the things they now take for granted.
Most can’t even remember a phone number and are lost without a contact list or can’t even write a paragraph without spell check. It seems the more tools we get, the dumber we become- especially in this “selfie important” generation that cannot see beyond the mirror of its own vanity and sense of entitlement.
And therein is the difference between the selfless Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and Bernie Sandersesque political embarrassment that threatens the Black Lives Matter Movement that can’t seem to distinguish between an Emmett Till and a Tawana Brawley and is too self absorbed to listen to it’s Civil Rights elders whom it deems to be out of step with the realities of their modern experience. Civil Rights elders for whom this happens to be dejavu all over again for anyone who actually witnessed the 1960’s right down to the echoing rhetoric of Donald Trump.
By indiscriminately fomenting discord at the appearance of every white cop involved shooting of a black person, the Black Lives Matter Movement risks riding in the same clown car that produced the birther movement which launched the campaign to de-legitimize the nation’s first African American President. Black Lives Matter clearly does not know how to pick its battles, nor control the narrative of its goals, which you would be hard pressed to get a consensus answer from any two people you ask. It is as comparatively illusive and potentially as divisive as Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, not merely from the context of the organizational title, but by its lack of cogent narrative which leaves it daily exposed to the likes of Bill O’Reilly et. al.
Right Wing rhetoric produced the Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof and, sadly, the indiscriminate racial rallying against any cop who shot a black person regardless of the facts, produced the Dallas Cop Shooter Micah Xavier Johnson. I believe this shooting rests solely on the shoulders of the Black Lives Matters Movement and its media cohorts. These conjoined twins of a rudderless Black Lives Matter Movement and a socially irresponsible media is creating as many racists on both sides of the issue as Obama’s drone strikes have given legitimacy to Islamic terror recruiting efforts. And if it is not careful and wise, Black Lives Matters could well be the seed that plants Trump into the presidency, and the spark that ignites civil unrest on a scale it did not intend.
By being decentralized and social media driven, the Black Lives Matters Movement appears to be mob rule and righteousness by media motivated rally and fact-less indignation. This lack of true leadership creates an easy target for political adversaries who simply await the next ill informed sound byte to come out of the mouth of the next weed smoking inarticulate bozo looking for their 15 minutes of fame while the media proclaimed leaders have to spend just as much time in interviews being apologists for the marchers instead of being on point. The Tea Party had the same issue with its extremists.
But I can’t feel sorry for either of them. Whenever Black Lives Matters is brought up in conversations to Civil Rights legends of the past, the common mantra from them is that they have given the group space to do it their way. That is a kind way of folks like Congressman John Lewis to say that nobody wanted to listen to what they had to say. And it is true that the movement has been arrogantly dismissive of proven Civil Rights methods offered to them by elder statesmen.
That would be like Generals Ike and Patton stepping back and saying a group of fresh West Point cadets had taken it upon themselves to go to war alone without their advice. There is something quite insane about the notion that a group of people who were alive at the time that the very same Jim Crow and other tactics against minorities that have been politically revived today right down to the rhetoric would not be at the forefront of advisers.
By not centralizing its message and narrative and taking advantage of the experience and coordinating policy and legislative efforts with its sympathetic allies already in power, Black Lives Matter is the Tea Party equivalent to the eventual dangerous takeover of the Democratic Party much in the same way that has all but destroyed the Republican Party and produced Donald Trump.
Look how close they came to being a party to putting Bernie Sanders over the top as the Democratic Nominee which would have been just as equal a disaster to this nation- the same that the Tea Party has been to Congress. What was inherently dangerous about the Sanders campaign was not the claims against banks and corporate greed, but that the answer was total wealth redistribution and the elimination of personal pluck and drive which is the fuel of American exceptionalism.
Under the guise of fairness, Sanders’ get even approach to balancing the moral books of American corporate excess would marginalize the rewards of personal success down to an oppressive obligation to those whom he deemed were lacking solely and exclusively by virtue of lesser opportunity. The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes the rich are getting richer and the poor are working harder and there must be a balance to wages and upper level compensation and further charitable incentives written into the tax code. However to proffer that the solution is to forcibly make each of us our brother’s keeper in areas that should be defined first by aptitude, ambition, and personal accountability, would clearly diminish every standard of excellence by which we lead and would not succeed in raising the ones that now suffer need.
The American way of life cannot be sustained by such broad expansion of mandated legislative entitlements that incites bureaucratic mediocrity and ignites an exodus of businesses to greener pastures. Unincentivised exceptionalism, though charitable, is as feckless as a trophy given for merely taking the field and celebrating it as if the team produced a championship.
The truth is, that despite all of the inequalities of a rigged system, immigrants both legal and illegal, still come to this country and are living better than in their country of origin. And no matter how much inequality is claimed by marchers or Sanders voters, not a damn one of them would choose to go back to their own country if the minimum wage was not raised. Sanders has unfairly blurred the lines between the corporate guilty and the crowds who will take any gimmee they can get as long as it’s free no matter who legitimately worked hard for the money that was taken away to give to them because wealth distribution never stops at the purse strings of the wealthy. It diminishes everyone who works.
That old saying that people would do better if they knew better does not count anymore. When I grew up on subsistence, we had few of the advantages families enjoy today. Today a person can be on Section 8, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Wic, Obamacare, Link, Energy Assistance, School Issued Laptops, Government issued phones, and 500 Channel Cable TV and Wifi.
It is virtually impossible to be ignorant nowadays unless it is a choice. Trust and believe that a lot of these generationally subsidized marchers have better technology than the middle class or working poor folk who largely support them and have made careers of seeking out entitlements while the politicians have sustained their careers by enabling them. I am a product of such a system. I got out of it before I became a self imposed prisoner of it. And I can emphatically attest to the fact that a great many of my contemporaries still in it are held captive by the incentive to remain subsidized.
Some have taken the Race Card and have laminated it trying to use it as a free pass in life, deferring work at entry level and other jobs within distance of home sitting all day long at Playstations and Xboxes posting openly online soliciting for weed, talking about “gettin turnt up” (drunk) while turning out ADHD and other impaired children for the system to figure out and hopefully not get shot by cops or, more often, by each other.
My message here is BLACK LIVES MATTER BEGINS AT CONCEPTION!!
Stop aborting your responsibility at birth.
Start supporting your decisions by being accountable to what you bring in this world and who you bring it in with.
Stop abdicating your responsibility and expecting teachers, cops, and social workers to do what you should be doing.
The police in Chicago did not give birth to the boys of color out there shooting other people of color, YOU DID.
When was the last time you marched into your kids classroom?
When was the last time you marched your kids to church or to a community program?
When was the last time you marched into your kids room and took away the violent video games they spend hours being daily desensitized to killing?
When was the last time you marched through your kids music playlist and had a serious talk about the subliminal poison being beat into their heads?
When was the last time you marched in the face of anybody using the N word and told them and yourself it was time to retire it from the black vocabulary?
But you wanna march and blame the cops for being trigger happy in a neighborhood you know is out of control and it’s our kids doing it. Then when cops back off and more people get killed, you want to blame them for that too?
I wouldn’t want the job. Because even I knew who the predators were growing up in the hood and I am not sure how long I would last as a cop either without shooting first at anything that moved, and neither do you. You cannot professionalize or train away the will to live. Cops patrol the environments that we allow to exist around us populated by the products of our own homes.
I am not excusing away racism, but we lack credibility when we don’t look at the part we play in our own harm. Especially when you have so many pulpit preachers on their thrones all over these neighborhoods. There used to be street ministries. Now its gated faith communities. And I can’t help but notice how quick the church folk retreat to the safety of the pews until the next police shooting.
BLACK LIVES MATTER? Who are we telling when it seems sometimes we aren’t even getting our own message? Black Lives Matter should begin at conception and policing should begin at parenting. Yes, there are unjust police shootings and clear evidence of a culture of systemic racial bias in the criminal justice system. Anyone dismissive of those facts needs their head examined. However, it is equally troubling to sustain a movement on the basis of race alone.
In my 2001 Essay on Race I wrote that “I have learned that the battle to be won is not based on the dominant color of one’s skin- which is not a reliable basis of indignation; but rather the unequivocal hue of the heart. A dark soul wears many outer shades.” This still rings true today.
In 2009 in my essay Matrix Free Blackness, again I warned that, “True progress demands of us the merciless brutality of truth, from which causalities will emerge from both the living and the once celebrated posthumous dead. The lesson of the solidarity between black and white that could only have made possible the election of a black president is that, like the end of all major battles, we must now stand down to emerge into a diversity of cause. Otherwise we have battled only to prove the point of the defeated. That it is them; or us- and we give form to myth- out of which fear creates a more desperate enemy.”
Black lives cannot only matter when shot by a white cop just as the love of Jesus Christ or of any faith or prophet to which you subscribe cannot be limited to Sunday mornings or other worship times amongst people who look like us and believe like us. The character of all faiths and indeed all movements is revealed in the light of love, kindness, and understanding that you shine upon others when the spotlight is not on you.
When you get done marching against racial injustice, try marching into the home of the nearest single mom and making a difference in the lives of those whose behavior sustain a culture prone to become the next statistic.
When we take back our children. When we take back our community. When we restore unto ourselves the values that the marchers long before us taught in the home and not just talked on the streets, we will begin to change the mindsets of others who would otherwise view us with a broad brush. And we become likewise able to see the humanity of those whom we once believed could so easily brush us aside.
Yes indeed, Black Lives Matter, but we have not yet proven that to ourselves.