I have to admit I hate for folks to tell me to calm down, because if I am not calm it’s usually for a good reason and I am upset at some grave injustice. There are times when I am not quite calm.
I found it odd and maddening that so-called leaders — or more appropriately misleaders — actually called a press conference on the Sunday following the incident to tell people to calm down after Al Flowers was nearly beaten to death in his own home. By the way, the press conference that followed a few days later was great and well attended.
The chief of police should know what we think of her coming on our community radio asking for calm. Talk about disrespect, she and her gang beat one of us up and she comes on our radio and asks for calm. It’s a slick move; for the unaware it’s called violence baiting. It’s a dog whistle. The inference is that we are violent.
These people who run this system are amazing. Even after her people beat up one of ours she is still inferring that we are violent. And for the naïve who keep trying to tell folks that this chief is different because she is female, Indian and lesbian, keep pretending. All of the chiefs are running the same system with the same goal: Keep money and private property safe and keep Blacks and the poor in their place. And remind them every once in a while by either killing one of them or beating the crap out of them.
But I digress, let me get back to those misleaders. So let me get this straight. A man (that most of those folks doing the misleading know on some level) was beaten to about an inch of his life and your first response as a spiritual and community leader is to go get the head of the crew that beat the man and tell folks to calm down! Negroes who do this kind of thing aren’t qualified to lead chickens, much less people. It’s part of the reason why we are so far behind in this town.
Some of the folks standing there are the first ones to blame the victim when something happens in our community, as if Black folks were just born with a proclivity for violence. Oppressed people turn on themselves even before they try to deal with their oppressors.
Oh yes, Black folks are still oppressed in this country. That’s why we get beat the most and have the least. It’s why the television people makes sure folks in the suburb hear first and foremost about Black criminality and so-called violence, while this country tortures people and bombs Iraq back to the stone age and its soldiers kill innocent people as if they are defending the constitution.
Some of the misleaders benefit from our oppression. They actually get paid to run around talking about “stop the violence.” Notice they never hold ”stop the violence” rallies to call out this government for its violence against Iraq or Afghanistan. They aren’t concerned about Israeli violence against Palestinians. They aren’t concerned about violence on the continent, most of it instituted by the hidden hand of European and U.S. imperialism.
They are not even concerned about the violence visited upon our children as they are spirited from school to jail for simply misbehaving in school. They don’t tell the prosecutors to stop the violence of sending our young people away on long sentences for nonviolent crimes or having a little weed or crack. They don’t tell the government or businesses to stop the violence of discriminating against our people in their hiring practices.
And just as importantly they didn’t even bother to tell the Minneapolis cops to stop the violence. The God-fearing folks acted like they didn’t know anything about God. Because any fool knows that God cares about those who have been victimized!
Quick quiz: Would God have rushed to comfort the police chief and the heads of commerce in this town, or the victim? But these “spiritual leaders” wanted to comfort the victimizers and the masters. Their first instinct was to protect the master: “What’s the matter, Massa? The Black folks got the nerve to not like you brutalizing their brother? Don’t worry, we will tell them to calm down for you.”
They didn’t say that God is opposed to the mistreatment of his children. They didn’t bother to tell the chief that no matter what the circumstances, there are none in which police are required to deliver 40 blows.
The Constitution says that you have the right to be innocent until proven guilty. It does not give the police judge or jury privileges, so they have no right to carry out extra judicial sentences like handing out beatings on the spot. And they especially don’t have the right to brutalize someone because they don’t like them, their color or class.
No, we should be downright upset and un-calm. The truth is we have been too calm, too quiet, too agreeable, too apathetic, too detached and too unconcerned for too long. A little lack of calm would be a nice thing for a change.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader response to firstname.lastname@example.org.