It has been some time since I last felt the inclination to publish a blog post. The events that have taken place over the first six months of 2020, have left me with a mixture of shock, anxiety and paralyzing disbelief. This country, this land that calls itself the United States of America, is finally being forced to confront itself. America can no longer lie to its occupants about its creation story, or profess the ideals of freedom, justice, liberty and equality as cornerstone values.
America's foundation rests upon the shoulders of oppression, of racism, of the degradation of black and brown bodies. Bodies that were never intended to be part of so-called democracy--bodies that were perceived as stock, assets and commodities. Bodies that could be raped, beaten, stolen, broken and destroyed, without consequence. The people who view themselves as white, act shocked and mortified that the events of the current moment are occurring. However, none of it should be surprising. Everything that we a reaping can be directly traced to the seeds that America has sown over hundreds of years. The violence and hatred that has been systematically perpetrated against Black, Indigenous and other people of color can no longer be ignored or brushed over. We have suffered and been oppressed at the hands of a ruthless, calculating regime for far too long. Our pain, has been minimized, deflected and negated, to the point of institutions that claim the purpose of educating, attempting to erase the word slavery from history books.
We have never been safe, our bodies have never been secure in these United States. They have stolen everything, the land, the natural resources, our cultures, our languages. All of this begs the question, when people have had everything taken from them, what then do they have to lose? Despite these realities, this country, this continent, this stolen Indigenous land, is the only home I have ever known. Where shall we as black people go to find refuge? You have stolen our continent of origin and colonized our homelands. You kidnapped us and brought us here to build your country. How do you even begin the process of forgiveness, of apologizing, of reconciliation? These questions have no answers. Acknowledging your privilege and the injustice and violence that have and continue to be perpetrated against black and brown people is start. However, the true test exists within the question: are you willing to give up your whiteness? If history serves as any indication, I would guess your response to be no.
The deflection would begin; I am not a racist; you cannot be hold me responsible for what my ancestors have done. These justifications further prove that the most white people are willing to do is give lip service to the systemic issues their whiteness has created. So this brings me to the question, where do we go from here? I don't know. However, I do know that you, white people, cannot continue to murder us; to enslave us through mass incarceration; to destroy our communities by funneling guns and drugs into them; to lie to us and minimize your contributions to our oppression; to lynch us and destroy our bodies. These things, cannot continue, we cannot go back to the status quo. We cannot go back to life as it was pre-COVID-19 or pre-George Floyd. We can no longer claim ignorance and pretend that America's economic strength and prowess doesn't come at the expense of black and brown lives. We as black and brown people, have never reaped the prosperity of this country--a country we were forced to build. We have never experienced the safety, protections or equal opportunities that this country claims for afford to all of its citizens. I do not know what lies in store for the remaining six months of 2020; however, I do know one thing: we cannot go back to how it was.
Devin James Baldwin, M.A.