Jackie Wilson Asheeke
For months I have avoided writing my personal feelings about the beginnings of a race war in the USA. I have been too irrational and furious on this subject. But, now with the new shooting of a black man in his back seven times, I’ve hit a wall. I cannot see a way forward and I cannot move backwards.
I was already reeling when I saw a black man killed with a white cop’s knee on his neck. Though I was enraged that yet another black man lost his life to a racist policeman, I was also proud that the world took notice and people from all backgrounds and skin colours demonstrated and rose up to say ‘Enough!’
But, the murders of my people continue – I now feel that nothing has changed. I have hit a wall.
I have to finally admit in my middle aged years, that I am not as non-violent as I thought I was. Memories of my Quaker education cannot sway me anymore. My people are not being non-violently shot in the back. Black people are not lambs for the slaughter and must defend themselves. Lamb must be taken off the menu.
My mother and grandmother’s generations accepted that treatment because they were in another time and place and did battle on many quiet, unseen fronts and won.
My father’s story rages in my heart now. Whether true or not, he once told me that he was forced to watch a black man lynched and burned in St. Mary’s County, Maryland sometime before WWII. Since then, he hated white people for all his days. I would suppose that seeing a black man’s genitals cut off, stuffed in his mouth; have that man standing in the bed of a pick-up truck with a noose around his neck and the other end attached to a huge tree branch and then the car took off. Watching that man kick and swing while choking on his own bloody body parts and then being doused by gasoline and set aflame – that image just might give a young black man-child, a lasting negative opinion about whites.
My sibs and I were raised to fight injustice regardless of the cost.
But, I also know that those who believe passionately that I am a “talking gorilla in high heels” (that is what my idol, Michelle Obama was called by a racist white man) will be violent and hostile defending their point of view.
Then where are we? I’ve hit that wall.
I’ll never accept being treated like I am any less a child of God than everyone else. But, the racists will never see me as anything but a gorilla. I now believe there is no solution. Racism is here to stay. The only thing to do is raise the cost for those who act on their inner hatred of black or brown people.
It is no longer about “We shall overcome.” That hall pass to kill my people has expired. I praise Dr King; but that was then and this is now.
The police have always been the instrument of power by whites or others in charge. In the USA, the ‘law’ which those in power set up and control, is always used a hammer to destroy anyone the power structure needs to suppress.
I have hit a wall.
And the Provoker-In-Chief praises the confused junior white supremacist that killed two people in cold blood.
Whites here, like whites in the USA cannot abide the concept that most of what they have is due to white privilege. This is the wall.
They recoil at the story above that my father told me and say, “I would never do that!” But, they would be the people who block prosecution of the white men who did it. They’ll ask what that black man wrong. They would re-elect the county sheriff who was driving the truck that drove off and hung the man. And then, they would buy the coffin for the black man’s funeral and swear they did a good thing.
White privilege is insidious. A white man will say, “I built this business up for 30 years with my own hands and good business ideas.”
I would applaud his hard work. Then, I will incur his ire as I point out that the playing field is not even. His business was financed with money from his parents or a bank loan that a black man would NEVER have received.
Good hearted whites need to ask themselves if what their parents and grandparents achieved would have been possible if they were born black. Think about it.
This is not a guilt trip. It is a wake-up call. Since racism is here to stay, it is now about managing how we can possibly live together without continuing to attack one another. My people will not accept attack dogs, water hoses or police baton charges with prayers. Such actions will receive a very different response. Then what?
My people are being killed on the streets of the USA and I don’t know what to do. I have hit a wall.