Firestarter Hotsheet-Kenosha/Ferguson Is Everywhere

I have been in St. Louis, Missouri my entire life–save for a few months during my last marriage. It is home, and I know it well–good and bad. With that said, the images of 6 years ago are seared into my memory. I remember the QT burning to the ground. I remember my children having to hide in our cheap apartment because the police were tear gassing people–and I remember the military grade vehicles, assault rifles and how scared I was to go to work for my 3-11 shift. When I saw what happened in Kenosha, all of those memories rushed back! But with those memories, from the vantage point of being both Black and woman, a part of me wept. And let me tell you why. Kyle Rittenhouse is a symptom of a greater problem in this country. My shero (and the patron saint of Black writers) Ida B. Wells Barnett said that slavery is this nation’s original sin–and I agree with her. For the protection of this nation, it will throw the bodies of all deemed undesirable and disposable into the mouths of the lie-believing that all men are created equal. This is be true, why must we still fight to be seen and for any trace of humanity? Let me tell you a dirty truth about racism, classism and capitalism in this dispatched English colony. There is a rhythm to this type of violence! It happens whenever whiteness is threatened. How is it threatened? Well, when you as a common (Black, Brown, non-White) person dare to challenge the allegiance to the mindless drumming that is law enforcement, you are a problem. The system–much like The Matrix–does not do will with aberrations, glitches or problems. Questioning authority in this nation is a problem. Confronting White people who believe they are not capable of doing anything wrong, and whom have ‘the best interest’ at heart, will do anything to hang on to power. Anything. As we have witnessed in this country since it was a set of colonies in 1619! I want you all to know that the police in this country are out of control. The droning of “There are good cops! I have seen them!” seems to be drowned and unheard over the gunshots of scary cops that kill when Black/Brown folk walk, run, jog, sleep, got to Walmart, get in accidents, knock on doors, comply, cry, plead, reach for wallets, protest in groups…but most of all, to question. Oh, this system  hates when you question! It  hates when you assert, it hates when you ask and it hates when you put both of those things together in critical thinking skills. Being Black in this country is to tightrope barefoot–between skyscrapers above a fire pit. The slightest misstep? The consequences are immeasurable! But none so egregious that challenging the police! So as Ferguson, so as Kenosha. Police violence is a past time. It is a gauge on social relations. Interactions with police and everyday citizens shows just how far we have come as a nation. And judging by the ever expanding and lengthening list of hashtags with Black/Brown folk attached? We haven’t gotten to a point where the citizens of this nation can say, “What these people who are charged with our safety and well-being are allowed to do interferes with both safety and well-being.” It is not wrong to ask for oversight of any sort to an arm of the criminal justice system which  has the ability to kill you with the protection of the state! People–Black people!–are being killed on camera, dash cams (never on body cam!), and cell phone cameras! When this evidence is shown the public, juries or Grand Juries there is a disconnect that is mystifying! There is a block in the public that is resistant to common sense! The programming taught to the public is:  The police protect. They protect from bad people. If someone does something the police don’t like or is illegal, it is their job to stop them. The fly in the ointment is sometimes the police do bad things. Sometimes the police do things that are bad and illegal, which don’t help any one.

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