I keep seeing white liberals on social media posting that they can’t believe what is happening in Ferguson, or that they can’t believe this is happening in America. Now I normally wouldn’t care enough about any of that to make any commentary, but they are sending me messages, outraged at what America has become. This America is strange to them. “Are you seeing this?” Yes, I see it. “How is this happening?” Have you all not noticed that I’m Black? Do you genuinely believe that you are sharing confidential information here? Is white supremacy and the abuse of power by the police supposed to be breaking news for me? It’s like they’re saying “us good white people wanted to let you know that there are bad white people out there doing bad things. It’s shocking! Just want to let you know in case you weren’t aware.” They can’t believe it they say.
There are only 3 reasons why they can’t believe that Black people are under siege in the United States and those reasons are as follows;
1. They know nothing about the country they live in. Absolutely nothing.
2. They haven’t actually listened or payed attention to anything Black people have said before.
3. They are deep denial about their country.
This is a country that dropped two bombs via air on Black people in Philadelphia in 1985. When it comes to raids and sieges, all white people know is Waco and maybe Ruby Ridge. They don’t know about MOVE in Philadelphia. Go ask your white liberal friends if they know about MOVE and you will probably be met with blank stares.
Since the inception of the US as a settler nation, Black people have been under siege. Black people being under siege is something many white liberals cannot fathom because they have never been under siege and they don’t know Black history beyond Martin Luther King having a dream and Rosa Parks sitting on a bus. They are comparing Ferguson to war zones outside the US because this doesn’t seem like home. Certainly not the home they know. They can’t fathom it happening in their country. No my friends, this is America. This is your country. This is what it has always been. Violence committed against Black people is as American as apple pie.
This level of savagery is foreign to white liberals because they don’t encounter openly hostile and aggressive law enforcement as a default. They don’t have to deal with the indignity and dehumanization of barbaric policing and then get told that them being targeted for abuse is the law (i.e. stop and frisk, broken windows, Rockefeller drug laws etc). They’re not accosted by officers with K9 units. They’re not dealing with aerial outposts of police surveillance in their communities. It’s not their blood flowing on the streets. Pictures of dead white bodies murdered by the police and white vigilantes isn’t a reality that gets shared on social media. Their dead bodies aren’t used by opportunistic media outlets looking to garner traffic and clicks for profit. Their dead bodies aren’t consumed by an eager audience looking to take a bite out of the latest ‘strange fruit’ that fell off the poplar tree. Cops are not barging into their homes and destroying everything in sight. It’s not their naked grandmothers being dragged out of their homes. It’s certainly not their 7 year old daughters getting shot and murdered as they sleep like Aiyana Jones, nor is it their teenage sons being taken to remote marshes, forced to strip, beaten to a bloody pulp and then abandoned nude, like Rayshawn Moreno.
Do they think these cops became this aggressive, violent and militarized overnight? They evolved into the beasts you see by enacting brutality on Black people. Evolved is the wrong word here. They’ve always been like this. They just have better equipment at their disposal. Gone are the water cannons and fire hoses. They now have rubber and wooden bullets, tear gas and sound cannons that cause permanent hearing loss.
The looting narrative is dead. Anti-Black racists can’t spin this with the classic Black criminality boogieman. The police are assaulting residential neighborhoods. The tide turned for white liberals after journalists started getting assaulted. Then it got real. It wasn’t real before when it was only Black bodies. Black suffering is meant for consumption and profit, not for enacting justice. Anti-Black racists wanted to conflate the issue with a handful of looters, as if the entire Black community in Ferguson were looters.
The question that should now be posed is that if journalists are getting arrested, physically assaulted, pelted with rubber and wooden bullets and even getting shot at with tear gas; if this is how the police is acting when everyone is watching, how do you think the police acts towards Black people when no one is watching? How do you think their policing in Black communities is conducted? Please note, after shooting journalists directly with tear gas, the police took their cameras. See here.
All this is happening in Ferguson because Black people dared to demand that the cop who murdered 18 year old Michael Brown be held accountable. They have to fight for mere accountability. Justice is not a given, they have to literally take to the streets and brave a police force that looks like an occupying military presence, complete with weaponry for warfare.
Ask yourselves white liberals, how often do white people have to galvanize entire communities and protest to get someone charged with murdering a white person? This is what Black people have to do time and time again.
Anyone who “can’t believe” what is happening in Ferguson is someone who is ahistorical and ignorant about the relationship the US has with Black people. We live in a country where the first air strikes delivered on US soil was on Black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their communities were destroyed. Incendiary bombs and explosives were dropped on them by white law enforcement via World War I planes. I repeat, they dropped bombs on Black people in residential neighborhoods. I made no mention of the ground attacks, just the aerial assaults. So by all means, after you feign shock at what is happening in Ferguson, crack open a book (written by a Black historian) and see what your country has been doing and getting away with for time immemorial.
We are living through and watching Ferguson in real time, and this will be history. Like with previous sieges and assaults on Black communities, the grandchildren of today’s white liberals who know nothing about MOVE in Philly or Black Wall Street in Tulsa or Rosewood or the Colfax riot or the Wilmington insurrection or any of the numerous state sponsored and funded assaults on Black communities will feign shock and disbelief when Black people are again assaulted and they will say “I can’t believe this is happening in America”. These are the same white people who are outraged at wiretaps and declare that “the government is invading their privacy”. They will say “this country is turning into a police state”. They will say that when this country had the FBI’s Cointelpro. Surveillance is something that is shocking to them. It’s shocking because they don’t know about Cointelpro and what it did to Black people and Black progress. Black people have lived under siege and under surveillance. This might be new for you, but it’s not new for Black people.
In the future when the young Black protesters of today’s Ferguson will be old, the young white liberals, much like their forbears who have never heard of MOVE, will know nothing of Ferguson. White people have the privilege of not needing to know. Ferguson will be another ugly chapter in the annals of US history that will not be part of a school curriculum outside of a Black studies class.
Black people will soldier on. They are survivors. The very existence of Black people in the US and the Americas is a tale of survival. Bless them. Bless us.