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Four decades and Marvin Gaye’s classic is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was on it’s release in 1971.
What happened to the Hippies, the “Peace and Love” generation that was supposed to save the world? Oh, right. Hippies became Yuppies.
I’ll never forget that night. The air was electric with excitement! We had done it. We had achieved something that I never, in my lifetime, thought was achievable. The one image that sticks in my mind is the close up of Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes. It was what Oprah would have called my “Aha Moment”. It was an instant when suddenly everything clicked into place and I got it. I understood the idea of representation. Here were people who had worked all their lives just to have a seat at the table. Their moment had come. There was a feeling that things were about to change, that everything was possible. We were dancing in the streets!
How could I have been so naive?
If anything, things got worse. I might have…
All it takes is one event to set a precedent. If Darren Wilson is arrested for, charged with, and convicted of the murder of Michael Brown, then that means ALL cops can be held accountable for their actions. It means the people can ALWAYS rise up and fight back against police brutality.
That’s what the cops and National Guard in Ferguson is fighting against. They don’t want this standard to be set.
Everyone should push for Darren Wilson to face trial, if for no other reason than to set precedent. Cops are supposed to uphold the law. They must be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. Period!
Beyond Ferguson, the pattern is clear. Blacks are always to blame, even as we are brutalized by police, ghettoized by neoliberal policies, and disenfranchised by a racist criminal (in)justice system.
But that’s the crux of white supremacist racial logic: the problem with black people is … well, black people – not mass incarceration and the deindustrialization of urban America, not educational inequality and generational poverty, not 400 years of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow. To be black in America is to be victimized and then made responsible for our victimization. We built this country. But, apparently, it is we who are lazy and dependent. We are bullied politically, socially and economically. But it is we who are called ‘thugs.’
As close to an answer to “what did we do to you to make you hate us so?” as I think I’m ever going to get.
“We built this country. But, apparently, it is we who are lazy and dependent.”