“F-ck. The. Frail sh-t…”
– Jadakiss, We Gonna Make It
It’s 4 a.m. and you can’t sleep. You don’t know whether you want ice cream or Skittles. You’re in a New York rap state of mind, so you light up your legal weed and watch Freddy Verzuz Jason while lip-syncing in the mirror. You hear a bang at the door, you reach for your legal handgun and police barge through shooting. They had a no-knock warrant and the wrong house. You’re dead.
During this global pandemic, here in the United States, Black people have made up a fair share of the essential workers’ demographic, all while being at higher risk of dying from COVID-19. Still, we found ways to cope and keep spirits high amongst ourselves. Around the time ESPN aired the final episode of “The Last Dance,” after sobering from Netflix binge benders, Black folk who were bored in the house got more creative on Instagram, TikTok and, dare I say, Only Fans. The point is, we were minding our f-cking business.
As alcohol, tobacco and firearms sold themselves, we cooperated as law-abiding citizens, even in Chicago; kinda. When white people started having cabin fever meltdowns from not being able to get haircuts, we didn’t add to the civil unrest by protesting the pandemic, we simply followed the common sense instructions of the CDC. Many of us had the same frustrations and conspiracy theories as our white counterparts and sadly, were even guilty of hate crimes against random Asians we deemed to be Chinese. However, we policed ourselves and reverted to a ”could be worse” mindset that historically remains constant (and often comical) during our low points. This lockdown, while unprecedented in scale, was familiar to other time periods where we faced marginalized restrictions. While every quarantine household wasn’t necessarily a safe haven, we managed to fight through family issues and economic anxiety by creating virtual bubbles of celebration and survival across the diaspora.
It seemed like every day there were performances of micro-aggressions and Karens gone wild. Due to our pre-existing condition of being Black, we couldn’t always opt out of co-paying attention to the ways of white folks that triggered us. Luckily everyone has a cell phone. We’ve seen and lived it for years, now it was on full display for the world. With everything at a standstill, it was hard not to be a voyeur to the hostility. But after a while we would just shake our heads and close the curtains, until…until one night, the sky symbolically turned orange from all the burning crosses.
“F-ck. The. Frail. Sh-t.”
Once again, our black magic was interrupted by domestic terrorism and 8:46 was frozen in time. A knee for a knee, is that how we doing it?
Here’s the problem: Without Black people, America isn’t a superpower. Black culture is one of the biggest signature exports. Everything else American is outsourced or made in China. America without Black people ain’t nothing but a hick version of Australia, at best. From 1619 to Juneteenth 1865, SLAVERY was the steroids that led this country to dominance, not the Industrial Revolution or World War II. Unfortunately, this nation is built on so much sin and hypocrisy that it would rather lie to itself than reckon with teaching the truth in its own history books. That’s why it would prefer to uphold white supremacy by paying out hundreds of millions in tax-paying settlements than exercise impartial justice. Funny how this administration preaches “law and order” while it flagrantly ignores subpoenas for Congressional hearings – but that’s the unwritten laws of white exemption.
If I’m not mistaken, the last time there were global protests against racial inequality was in the 1980’s – against South African Apartheid. So now that the world is witnessing America’s moral bankruptcy, are Black lives being liquidated to re-brand democracy with a totalitarian business model more align with Russia? Are state-sanctioned killings of unarmed citizens not genocide when committed on a case by case basis? Is genocide a daily, monthly, yearly total sum or only measured in mass graves? At what point does the UN Blue Helmets intervene? Black people and inquiring minds of third world countries would like to know the answers.
What does ‘American values’ mean in the 21st Century? Is it life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Does the Second Amendment give you the right to shoot someone exercising the 1st Amendment if you disagree? Can you be pro-life and pro-hysterectomy? Do you believe the coronavirus is a hoax therefore you won’t wear a mask? Or, is it a biological weapon from China, so you, in turn, won’t wear a mask? If you boo your home team Superbowl champions during a gesture of unity and league reconciliation, then what is it you really want — a team without Black players? The players have clearly explained themselves, perhaps it is your turn to do the same.
For decades, Black student-athletes on full scholarships would be ostracized by non-athletic white students who claimed their tuition paid for NCAA enrollment. 2020 clearly proves that was never true – it was just another lie to boost an odious inferiority complex. Truly supreme people shouldn’t have to spend so much time and energy suppressing others. Think about it like this: If I say “white men can’t jump” and you say that is a racist statement, logically and empathically, I might have to concede to your feelings. However, in the history of the NBA, no group of Black players has ever felt the need to conspire on ways of keeping white players out of the slam dunk contest. So there’s that.
White people can’t handle the truth. This is why I say to Black people: Beware!
White America is short-circuiting and trying to compare their breath to our asphyxiation. I thought the pandemic would be tantamount to a contemporary Great Depression, something all citizens accepted but persevered through, especially since it was occurring around the world – but no. American Exceptionalism re-defined itself by becoming a defiant world leader of CoVid cases and deaths. The Orange Administration decided to “down-play” the crisis and double down on Orwell’s “doublethink” playbook. They even fired a beloved Navy captain for trying to keep his sailors safe from the virus. Think about that. The Commander-In-Chief’s whole anti-kneel argument revolved around championing the troops so the only thing that could distract his base from that blatant disrespect was more tribalism. The problem again, sentient people have eyes (even those doing well in the stock market) and there’s just
too much evidence proving countless Black people who had encounters with the police didn’t have to die – especially, since there is also so much evidence of white people in similar or worst scenarios getting arrested without a scratch. According to CBS News, 164 Black people have been killed by police in the first 8 months of 2020. Keep in mind, people who survived excessive force by police like Jacob Blake and who were victims of hate crimes like Ahmaud Arbery where police were reluctant to make arrest, are not included in the list.
While the movement has resulted in some notable financial pledges, symbolic victories and more Black people getting casted in TV commercials, the institution of white supremacy hasn’t moved the needle on police reform. In addition, the powers that be are desperately seeking public support to make Blue lives matter more. That’s why I’m suspicious of this recent police ambush in Compton.
Notice how we, the people, are automatically muzzled from using the same defense they use when there’s a “self-evident” horrific video. To question it is an act of sedition. We don’t get to say wait until there’s a full investigation before jumping to conclusions. We don’t get to ask how long had the cop car been parked there? Is it stationed there every day, at the same time, with the same officers? Did the officers who were shot have any prior complaints or violations? Is there any footage of the suspect walking on nearby streets wearing winter clothes on a hot day? Isn’t the LASD’s gang of sheriffs known as the “Executioners” based in Compton? Why didn’t the president lash out about the cop killer in Tulsa? Or the cop killer in St. Louis? Are they not “animals,” too?
No MSNBC host gets to Tucker Carlson those kinds of questions. No liberal Ann Coulter gets to endorse the Compton cop shooter for president of the United States. This is why Black people need to retreat back to our bubbles as Election Day approaches. I know you “wish a Karen would,” but please stand your ground only if it’s on your property.
The main thing that can secure a re-election for this administration is a race war. To some reading, this seems extreme but that’s because you’re thinking of it the wrong way. The “war” only needs to be an event, a one night stand, in just one town, Anywhere, USA. All they need are the visuals to sell fear of a Black planet on the ballot.
They are looking for a spectacle and if they can’t get it by baiting us, they will create it. That’s why they’re so envious of liberal Hollywood – they know the power of cinematic storytelling as propaganda. Fox News already produces their version of “Wag the Dog” but the real blockbuster MAGA studios is banking on is a Marvel budget re-make of “Birth of a Nation” – live streamed.
Do NOT take the bait.
For many of us, watching the elder queens Gladys Knight Verzuz Patti LaBelle was the first good night sleep we had in a while. The nightmare from my intro didn’t happen, it was just a side-effect of Klandemic Stress Disorder. You’re alive, above ground, sharing energy with me as you read this. This land is our land and I know many of you on the frontlines don’t want to let your foot off the gas but trust me, it’s a set up. So pull over, turn on the Erykah, Jill, Kirk, Fred or whoever feeds your spiritual soul, just get some rest and save your energy for Nov. 3 when we can lift every voice and sing: You about to lose your job, get this dance!
Trevor is a creative mercenary and ethical lobbyist born and raised on Beale Street. Follow him on Twitter @trevbetter.