On the Conditions Facilitating Our Dying

On the Conditions Facilitating Our Dying

As Africans in America we must understand that our constant dying is not coincidence but the result of conditions(1) created by White Supremacist Capitalism. Some of these conditions, such as poverty or inaccessible healthcare kill us slowly, over the duration of our whole lives; while others, like qualified immunity(2) and stand your ground laws, give state actors and white vigilantes free license to end black and brown lives instantly. But despite the nature of our dying, the fact remains that the state is actively facilitating that death and we cannot vote away our dying as much as we can’t vote away the very state that is killing us.

The same state that imposed these conditions upon us will not remove them because to do so would be to self-destruct. The conditions are its very essence. There is no US without state sanctioned killing and ritualistic violence towards black people. The same way this violence is hardwired into the cultural psyche of whites(3) it is codified into the DNA of the state because in this country state power has always been informed by white power.

I would ask anyone who disagrees to show me a period of American History where this was not the case. White Supremacy was foundational to the The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Even the 13th amendment marked more of an evolution of White Supremacy from one stage to another, than it did any actual shifting of values. After its ratification vagrancy laws(4) and convict leasing(5) ensued and we saw the first prison boom. Lynchings and White Supremacist terrorism increased(6) as well. To this day we have yet to see an actual changing of conditions or end to our suffering and dying.

For God’s sake we were dying under a Black leader as much we were dying under white ones before him. If this isn’t proof that white supremacy is too deeply ingrained within the fabric of the state to be removed then what is? The truth is obvious but constant oppression has a way of beating down a people’s mental fortitude.

This is why many of us have the mindset of a person trapped in an abusive relationship; unable to imagine a world in which their abuse doesn’t exist because they view their abuser as their only means of living a meaningful life. To any rational, healthy, outside observer the truth is clear: either the abuser must be removed from the equation or the recipient of the abuse must get out from under the abusers control.

Similarly, if the state’s position is that of an oppressor, to expect a sudden change based on the election of a new racist every four years is fantasy. If we continue on the road of choosing which boot is on our neck and which shackles are on our wrists instead of taking action, our children will be condemned to poor butchered half lives(7), oscillating between begging a “liberal” state for welfare and begging a “conservative” state to stop cheering on white vigilante violence. Either way we remain beggars.

As long as we are choosing between two racists in a state sponsored circus every four years the conditions facilitating our deaths will not come to an end. Specific, talented negroes will be allowed to succeed and stand in positions of power on the condition that they contribute to the oppression and exploitation of their own, but as a whole we will never be equal to our oppressor under their system.

For non-Black people of color, working within the state can translate to an eventual easing of suffering but for Blacks our death and suffering is a necessity under white supremacist capitalism. That is why appeals to the Black voter rely on empty rhetoric and posturing. Hilary pulled hot sauce out of her purse, Kamala made reference to hip hop, and Biden warned us of losing our black cards if he didn’t get our vote but none of them committed to changing the conditions that are killing us en-masse. Conditions for which they are all directly responsible. The truth is they won’t commit to changing these conditions because they can’t. It’s like asking a vulture to abandon rotting flesh and adopt a vegetarian diet. You’re asking the vulture to starve itself.

 If liberation in our context is finally living as American citizens equally, without being oppressed based on race, religion or gender then know that assimilation into whiteness is implicitly understood as the goal. This is because in the US, whiteness is the prerequisite for those things. No group has ever attained them besides by assimilating into it. 

For non Black people of color this success via assimilation is a possibility. Granted it requires losing hold of religion and culture but it is possible. For indigenous and Black people, it  is not. If it was it would’ve happened already. Why is it that European Jews, the Irish, and Italians all fully assimilated into whiteness within a generation while blacks are over two centuries deep into the same cycles of oppression? Is it something wrong with black people? Black culture? The black family perhaps? If your answer is yes to any of those you’re a racist and have a bad understanding of history. If your answer is no, only one logical conclusion remains. That our death and suffering are too embedded into American culture, and state power to be voted out or represented away.  They are necessities for the state. The lifeblood of the nation. Whiteness is predicated on being the antithesis of an “Other” and that “Other” is blackness.

My intention in writing this isn’t to embrace defeatism, pointing out these realities is neither that, nor pessimism. It is acceptance of the most empowering truth, that God Almighty has placed within us the ability to change the conditions around us. Only we, with the permission of God, can bring about the end of these conditions. Nothing else ever will; especially not the same systems that are carrying out our killing. 

Peep how quickly the state made concessions we never thought possible under the onslaught of the George Floyd Rebellion(8). Imagine if all the organizing and energy that went into pushing people to vote went into facilitating direct action to ensure that these concessions go through without the state backing out of them. Don’t stand back and wait until the young people who put their lives on the line for these concessions burn out and then point and say “See it was just a fad.” “Nothing really changed.” “This is why protesting doesn’t work.” Not only do you sound like a coward but you also sound like a fool. If the state’s concessions don’t come to fruition it will be because of YOU. Because YOU sat on the sidelines and condemned; because while others put in work and tried to be free YOU yelled from the rooftops that they were silly for thinking they could free themselves. That is defeatism, that is pessimism. Those in the streets burning American cities are your protectors.  They have done more for you than the state ever has and ever will. 

Understand that the state is an enemy to you. It is facilitating our physical and spiritual death. Organize your communities, work toward autonomy from the state in education, healthcare, self defense, and all other avenues. Hold tight to the rope of Allah(9) and do not seek shelter(10) or help(11) with those who are killing us. All praise is due to God the most gracious, most merciful. May God bring about an end to the killing, and give all of us guidance. Ameen.

1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/george-floyd-america/systemic-racism/?fbclid=IwAR1sApDHlsoJ1Cf8jkWRM8T1nb1enuAP4b2OKjczfbjpiu_1BwQnzoyTFCo

2. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-police-immunity-scotus/

3.  https://blogs.prio.org/2020/07/the-legacy-of-white-violence-in-the-us/

4. https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/

5. https://theconversation.com/prison-records-from-1800s-georgia-show-mass-incarcerations-racially-charged-beginnings-96612#:~:text=Previous%20historical%20research%20shows%20that,former%20slaves%20in%20the%20U.S.&text=Before%20the%20abolition%20of%20slavery,1835%2C%20it%20had%20risen%20eightfold.

6. https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/

7. George Jackson, Blood in My Eye (Black Classic Press, 1990) Page 18

8. https://www.facebook.com/840844280/posts/10158418299074281/

9. https://quran.com/3/103-105

10. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=3&verse=28

11. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=5&verse=51

#BlackLivesMatter Bay Area and Indigenous Peoples Day Thanksgiving Statement of Solidarity at Alcatraz


 

“We open by recognizing and giving thanks to the creator and the ancestors that have come before us who have laid us seeds of life, tradition and resistance. We are here because we are lifted by those who came before us, we give thanks for their sacrifice, and stand testament to their strength.

We see in our first nations families, we see our plight, we see our genocide, a genocide that continues on us all to this day. We know of these things very intimately, for the cause of your pain is the cause of our pain. We are connected and bonded through our blood relations and common struggle against our oppressor. Whose trail of murder and thievery is vast and evident, starting with the theft of first nations lands and the bounty produced upon the backs of our ancestors misery, slavery and death. Long ago our paths became intertwined in an era of unimaginable horror for both of our peoples. To this day a sickness resides in our hearts; it was put there by a great evil called Settler white supremacy. In this sickness our two peoples are also bound together. Our unity in struggle is the cure to this sickness.

Our connection in solidarity and blood is an act of resistance and affirmation of life. Every act that weakens the structure of Settler White Supremacy, undoes the original sin of Colonialism and Slavery. We recall Crispus Attucks whose lifesblood is claimed by our oppressor to be the moment of birth for the “American Nation”. Crispus Attucks whose African Father and Haudenosaunee (Ho-De-Nee-Show-Nee) Mothers was spilled in order to christen the soil for the 500 year plague of “Enlightenment”. We remember Seminole Wars in which our ancestors escaped bondage to ally with first nations and relations, to fight the murderer known and Andrew Jackson. A symptom of the disease celebrated by settlers on their twenty dollar bill. We left our bonds of slavery and joined our first nation family in common unity and struggle against this disease of oppression. We were in kinship so long ago, and today we renew, once again, our commitment towards alliance, unity and struggle, for our freedom is your freedom, our liberation is your liberation. We are connected in soil, birth, and struggle.

We are not the descendants of a weak peoples. We have honored histories. Stories of survival and rebellion against the unsurvivable and the insurmountable. Histories of how we became powerful and sacrificed our bodies to strike against our oppressor. We live because our ancestors chose the path of resistance. We stand together on sacred ground, united as we breathe life into the memory of those who came before us, and the bonds that they forged.

Your plight is our plight, your blood is our blood, your oppression is our oppression, our paths to liberation are not simply congruent, they are one in the same and our ascendance to freedom will happen simultaneously. Our pain, our bonds, our relations connect us and the path of resistance makes us one.”
– BLM

“We the Indigenous People of this Land, stand in solidarity with Black LIves Matters and our Black brothers and sisters fighting to end the War on Black People in this Country and around the world.

We recognize that the War on Black People is rooted in slavery, which enabled the accumulation of wealth and power needed for the genocide of Native Americans, the founding of the United States, and the colonization of countries throughout the world. The suffering and exploitation that plagues all of our communities is rooted in this history of anti-black racism for the development of capitalism.We understand that this has contributed to the ethnic genocide of Indigenous Peoples throughout the world and the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans.

We acknowledge that the oppression of our people links our struggles but it is also our desire and constant fight for liberation that truly unites us.

Our solidarity with the Black Friday 14 and Black Lives Matter continues a rich history of peoples’ movements and international solidarity in the U.S., which is rooted in the legacy of Black resistance, organizing, and leadership. From the struggle to end African slavery to the development of the Black Panther Party which paved the way for the Red Power Movement that was birthed here on Alcatraz Island and spread across Turtle Island, the Black resistance movement in this country is centuries old and and has long provided visionary and groundbreaking leadership for many oppressed communities demanding freedom in the U.S. and abroad.

We believe that the lack of urgency and responsiveness of both Black Trans Lives and the more than 1200 Indigenous women who have gone missing is not a coincidence.

We believe the poverty and lack of equity that has been imposed on our reservations, and in black communities is not a coincidence.

We believe that the state sanctioned violence on black and brown bodies at the hands of law enforcement is not a coincidence.

And we refuse to allow the disparities that result from this intentional oppression on our people to divide our communities.

Just as we know Indigenous LIfe is Sacred, we know Black Lives Matter.

There is a State of Emergency. From British Columbia to Ferguson, from the Amazon forest to Oakland, from Alcatraz Island to Minneapolis, we are demanding our freedom.

As First Nation people, we understand that OUR justice,relies on the respect, appreciation and liberation of black lives. Because if they can’t get it, we definitely won’t be seeing it.”
– The People of Turtle Island