“At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” Frantz Fanon
When George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, nothing happened. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, nothing happened. When a New York City police officer choked Eric Garner to death, nothing happened. When Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson erupted. The time bomb finally exploded. It was long overdue. You can only push a people so far. Eventually, they will lash out at the system, the system that humiliates them, the system that harasses them, the system that negates their humanity, the system that kills them. It was only a matter of time. America is reaping what she has sown.
Officer Wilson lynched Mike Brown. According at least two witnesses, the officer reached out of his police car window and grabbed Mike Brown, an unarmed 18 year old African American man. Mike Brown eventually was able to pull away from the officer. As he pulled away, the officer shot Mike Brown. Then, Mike started running away and the officer chased him and shot him again, this time in the back. According to one of the witnesses, Mike’s body jerked. He turned around and raised his hands in the air and the officer continued to shoot Mike Brown several more times. Then, Mike fell to the ground and his head hit on the street pavement. After that pig killed Mike, the police left Mike’s body in the middle of the street for an extended period of time like a damn dead skunk on the middle of the street. Black life means nothing to those people.
When the people of Ferguson began demonstrating in the streets, they told the world that black life matters. It is sacred and
precious. When the people engaged in acts of rebellion, they forced the world to feel their pain. When police freely violate the law with impunity, the people quickly lose faith in the police and criminal justice system. When the self proclaimed protectors become the predators, the people have no choice other than resistance. If our lives have no value, your law and order will have no value. Your property and businesses will have no value. If you shoot at and kill black people like animals, do not be shocked and surprised when they defend them and do the same to you.
There is a segment of our society that has been abused, harassed, dehumanized, neglected and an unheard for far too long. In words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “a riot is the language of the unheard.” In Ferguson, some of the people are speaking that language. The world clearly hears, sees and understands them now. They will not be ignored. Their rage is justified and righteous. They refuse to be contained by the clergy, the civil rights industry, empty prayers and grandiose federal investigations talk. They are not interested in vigils and neat, orderly, peaceful civil rights performances. They are not soothed by the words of a smooth professional politician who seeks to placate everyone by playing on both sides of the fence. They are feed up. They have had it with the nonsense, with the brutality.
Now, Ferguson no longer looks like an American city. It resembles the West Bank, Iraq and Afghanistan. Police cars have been replaced by military jeeps and tanks. Instead of wearing traditional police attire and using standard weapons, the police wore military gear and toted military weapons. Ferguson became a war zone. Law enforcement is anxiously looking for an excuse to kill more black people. I would say, “Don’t give them an excuse.” But it does not really matter, they will always find one. If they cannot find one, they will invent one.
The people must continue to protest in the streets and online. Until that killer, Darren Wilson, is arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced, there will be no peace. We should not condemn the people’s rage. We should embrace the rage, channel it, harness it, direct it, focus it and organize it, if possible. We do not need peace. We need justice. We need power, black power, and it is time to seize it.
According to Time magazine, two-thirds of the Ferguson’s population is black. However, Time notes that “the city is the mayor and most of its city council members are white, and only three of the city’s 53 police officers are black.” The African Americans in Ferguson must seize power not through the bullet, but through the ballot. Although I strongly sympathize with the people’s rage, a fleeting moment of rebellion is no substitute for sustained, focused, mission driven political action and unity. Unlike Lowndes, Alabama in 1950s and 1960s, another predominantly black town once ruled by whites, racist white terrorism does not prevent the people of Ferguson from voting today.
Through elections, the people can seize power over city hall, city council and ultimately the police department. Through the electoral politics, the people may be able to reform and transform the police department and make it resemble the community that it is supposed to serve. The people can force the police department to implement training designed to combat and end racial profiling. Each and every one of us must demand that Congress pass a federal anti-racial profiling act. Otherwise, the senseless harassment and brutality will continue forever. We cannot allow this problem to be passed on to the next generation.
In the short term, distant elections alone are not sufficient. Who will defend our sons and daughters? Where are our soldiers? Where are our protectors? I am not talking about America’s solders. I am talking about our black liberation soldiers.