By Rich Pellegrino - My feeling and reaction: is one of anger, empathy, compassion. I am angry at myself, at other community and civil rights activists, and at all community leaders (civil rights, elected representatives, clergy, etc) who talk a good talk but when it comes down to it we are really not walking the necessary walk and are not doing an effective job of confronting, dismantling and replacing this racist, corrupt, inhumane, terroristic system which repeatedly and consistently demonizes and terrorizes people of color.
Affordable health care, or better candidates for office (actually winning), or even temporary economic gains, are just crumbs and distractions. I know this may not be popular with my colleagues and friends but I don’t really care about popularity—it is time for us to re-evaluate everything because continuing to do the same things over and over again and expecting different results in the insanity we saw last night and we see daily.
We cannot continue to work through and cooperate with a legal, political and economic system which is inherently corrupt and racist, and expect different results. We have to bring this system to its knees, break it’s back, keep the good parts and discard the rest, and the only way to do that, in my opinion, is through “business as usual disruption” (economic boycotts, occupy-type actions, strikes, etc. )
The only other option is violence, which is not, in my book, an option at all, as violence begets violence and is a never-ending cycle which has to be broken (which, incidentally is how this country was founded, and has been maintained, by violently oppressing one group after another within its borders and beyond). We have to face that the exceptionality of America is that it is the most violent and most corrupt country in history, and is such a great brainwashing and propaganda machine to disguise that reality, blame everyone else, and brainwash its people and project the image to the world that we are the greatest.
My empathy and compassion goes to those people of color who, out of desperation, resort to violence—against property and against each other. But I will also say that they, to me, are the only brutally honest players in this whole affair, as everyone else, from the President (whom I love as a person and up until recently as a leader), to the “community leaders”, to the clergy to the media talking heads, are all too “politically correct” to really call it as (I hope) they see it, and don’t really offer any solutions but more of the same.
How can you appeal for calm when you don’t have anything to offer?
(Do they appeal for calm when we spend trillions fighting phantom threats like ISIS or border cartels—but they want us to be calm when there is an all out war on people of color in this country ? I want to know how one is supposed to be calm when they are under attack—should they take more drugs or kill themselves, or for the more fortunate drown themselves in a sea of luxuries and material benefits, or dull their minds and sap their energies with more sports and reality show diversions?)
If you think I am exaggerating the situation consider this: According to the recent research of Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson, “About twice a week, or every three or four days, an African American has been killed by a white police officer in the seven years ending in 2012, according to studies of the latest data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation...and that number is incomplete and likely an undercount, as only a fraction of local police jurisdictions even report such deaths.” She adds that this number approximates the number of Blacks killed publicly, mostly through lynching, during the Jim Crow era. So what has changed and where is the racial and civil rights progress the President references?
I call and will continue to call for a robust dialogue addressing the issues and questions I’ve raised. (Recently I sent out an offer to lead an effort to go directly after the corporations for big money and support for a legal defense and offense fund for people of color, and I got no response from the community leadership—so I reissue the offer.)
Fed up and not going to take it anymore!