Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh, Now You Understand?

So, the Occupy Wall Street movement is heating up, right?

I'll admit that initially I was nonplussed about the movement. After all, when have people in power relinquished something because folks held a camp meeting outside their door? The movement wasn't actually making life harder for people, just basically showing up and saying "We're not happy and life ain't fair." Well thanks for that insight peon.

But now things have changed. They've become confrontational. They are occupying space that people want and need. Police are intervening to remove them, courts are intervening to sanction them, and basically it's becoming a situation where people in power are becoming irritated and stupid. Those are the ingredients needed for social change.

But, what's also emerged, as police officers have clashed with protesters is outrage at the behavior of our police. Folks can't believe that the police are so arrogant, so callous and so violent. There is a sense that the police have abdicated their role as protectors in favor of becoming overseers. Folks are dismayed.

I'm amused.

See, I'm black. I know what the police do. I've been cursed, I've been threatened. I've had a weapon drawn on me. My friends and associates have been "detained." My family too. I've been asked to allow my home to be searched. Basically, I learned a long, long time ago that the primary function of law enforcement isn't protection. And it damn sure ain't service. The primary function of law enforcement is enforcing the law as it relates to those who need to be controlled. Basically, it's keeping folks in line.

And now that more people are starting to get on the same page as me and tons of other blacks folks, they need to start wondering who decides where "the line" is, and how they got on that committee. And then folks need to consider exactly how wide and all-encompassing that line can be. And finally, they need to apologize to all the black folks they doubted when we told stories of police abuse and misconduct and injustice.

Then we can talk for real.



CNu said...


ain't nobody gonna apologize for a dayyum thing so don't bother holding your breath. instead, just be glad that the Occupy movement is cleverly utilizing the power of the Internet to demonstrate the abuses of one-time - oh - and while you're getting over that silly-assed expectation of an apology - figure out how you can either participate in or be useful to the Occupy movement.

Big Man said...

Man, black folks been using the Internet to display the abuses of one-time. Whether it be blogs, or home movies or whatever. This ain't new stuff.
But like my daddy said when he was telling how he thought these Occupy movements were going to have juice, it matter more when the people being abused look a certain way.
Just like when college students got murdered in cold blood by police at Jackson State it didn't resonate with Americans, but that Kent State shooting is still a big deal.
I could suck it up and say "Well, at least something is being done." But I'm not so sure that something IS being done for the folks who look like me. I'll wait and see.

CNu said...

Why wait? Go and engage with the Occupy folks from whatever and wherever your motivational sweet spot is - and make sure your influence is felt.

That "wait and see" business is the sharp edge of "divide and conquer" and the odds are already heavily stacked in favor of that outcome, as the elites in America are NOT going to do ANY of the right thing that they're not forced to do.

Tom said...

Big Man,

I spent almost half my life doubting that the police were cracking down on people for basically racial reasons. It took the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia to clue me in. I don't have any excuse that I waited for a city block to be burned down before I clued in.

I know a personal apology for that kind of murderous ignorance, from somebody you don't even know, isn't what you're asking for and probably doesn't have much value. But you have mine.

Big Man said...

Thanks Tom, but my comment about apologies was actually just a rhetorical tool. I don't expect an apology, but it does piss me off that national writers are suddenly asking "Well who are the police protecting?" I read something like that in the Washington Post the other day, and it ticked me off because I'm sure brothers in Southeast DC have been asking that for a while.


All right, I see your point about divide and conquer. I agree with that.

Deacon Blue said...

Thankfully, it only took dating and marrying a black woman to open my eyes (not that I really put the police on any damn pedestal previously) to clue me in on how bad they can be. Or store/mall security guards, for that matter. Still, suppose I should have noticed ever before then HOW troubling police behavior could be for minorities. But you know how that white privilege is...insidious and insulating...

Anonymous said...

Just like when the Rodney King beating happened many white people were shocked and appalled but most of the black people they spoke with said this kind of thing happens all the time it's just that this one was taped. And yeah don't expect an apology because some people stil don't/won't/can't/REFUSE to get it even with the targets are their color cough media cough.

Raving Black Lunatic