Fatal police shooting ignites violent unrest in Milwaukee (or your city here)
By now this headline is a familiar one. Whether the subject is “fatal police shooting ignites violent unrest in Ferguson or in Minnesota or in Dallas or in Milwaukee” the script is a familiar one. It’s a familiar one because every major city in the United States has a black community that is an island of every type of poverty for the same reason. The reason is slavery and its aftermath.
These communities have been created by the legacy of slavery and largely abandoned by the nation. More problems associated with the conditions of abandonment lead to more policing and more problems with police. Just like the segregated schools of our nation before 1954, black communities are thought of as “separate but equal” when they are really unequal and invisible. Out of sight, out of mind explains why what happens in them is so surprising to the majority.
What will follow is equally familiar. Some will lay the blame at the feet of poverty and joblessness. Some will ask why no one is burning down buildings in Chicago and Los Angeles and D.C. to protest hundreds being killed every day by black on black crimes. Some will want us to know that Black Lives Matter while others will counter with All Lives Matter. Some will call for jobs. Some will call for patience. Some will say I told you so. Some will say wait for the facts despite the fact that the facts don’t really matter. And this will go on and on and on.
Authorities will quell the violence. Calls will go out for yet another conversation on race. There will be investigations. Black and white citizens will come with trash bags to clean up the mess. Indictments will or will not be handed down. Criminals will criminalize. People in these communities will search for solutions. Activists will move on to the next crisis. Talking heads will face off in the media to tell us all we need to know and to keep the tensions high. And-get ready for it-NOTHING WILL CHANGE!
Have you ever asked yourself why nothing changes? Unpaid Labor believes that nothing changes because the real cause is ignored by black people, white people, the police, and by the nation. The people in America’s black communities need to know that the contribution of their ancestors was the key factor in the Unites States becoming the most successful nation in the world in modern history. The honor, hope, dignity, and standing that go along with that knowledge are empowering. The rest of the nation needs to know that all of us benefit today from their contribution.
When blacks and whites alike understand that our thinking about race has been messed up by the lies we have been told about our nation’s history, our actions will begin to follow. Until then nothing will change.