Are we a commodity or what?
Are we capital or what?
Have our experiences been sold to the highest bidder?
What is our worth?
Black bodies failed.....
The commodification of Black bodies is systemically related to the foundation of whom and what America is. Today, I am going to put on my GRIOT hat and tell a story in a roundabout fashion coming back to the important concept of COMMODITIES and capitalism, by using the example of the American education system coupled with my own personal experience to relay a message that there is power in the story of the Black experience and its ability to unite HUMANITY. Now, that was a mouthful. But the reality is we have to know from whence we’ve come from to 1. be prepared for the future and 2. make every stride not to fall into further pitfalls of destruction.
The first record of the first slave to step foot on American soil is dated back to 1619. From 1619 to 1860, America built its infrastructure and wealth off of the systems of colonization, chattel slavery and ultimately capitalism. After land was stolen from indigenous populations, African slave labor was brought in to work the land for free. Pre-Civil War, slaves were property and only seen as 3/5th human. I won’t take up too much time trying to convince people that slavery in America was 1. bad and 2. that it was not the same as slavery in Africa or 3. that Africans sold other Africans into slavery….that would be a pointless waste of time. Chattel slavery was the worst form of human genocide, terror and trauma in all of world history…..PERIOD. And the COMMODITY of Black bodies for profit has changed DNA patterns to accept this abuse.
Institutional reform works when the building blocks of an organization are fair and ethical, but just need a little mending…
Sacramento Paladin Security and Sacramento Police Department assaulted a child last week and no one ended up in handcuffs except the boy himself. He committed no crime. He simply asked for help from community members to get his needs met. A security officer chased him away from the store, put hands on him, and called the police. Sac PD officers cuffed him, attempted to put him in the back of a cruiser, and then tackled him to the ground before putting a bag over his head—all the while the security guard had his hand and arm around the child’s neck. A dozen highly armed and trained adults were dispatched for a twelve-year-old asking people to buy him food. Instead of protecting him and meeting his needs, they escalated the situation with excessive and unnecessary force.
This is state terrorism. This is your local labor and taxes funding an attack on a child. Fuck reform. We need to abolish law enforcement and create better ways to serve one another and hold each other accountable to community agreements.
Yes! Your Gentrifying is Actually Colonizing!
Let's give a little history before we get started...
Redlining was done to limit access to where Black folks could live.
We were not allowed to live in most places, and the places we did live in became our safe spaces.
Unfortunately history still reflects in our neighborhoods today.
That is exactly why Oak Park has mostly been a predominately Black neighborhood.
This isn't about who lived there first, or last, or next. This is about Black folks being told "you cannot live in East Sac but you can live in Oak Park"
...then "we (the state) are going to contribute to your poverty and access to healthy living."
So for decades white folks were able to have more choices than us, and didn't want to be in our spaces.
White supremacy has it so you can come into this predominately Black neighborhood, buy our homes, flip them and then raise the prices. Pushing us out of one of the very limited safe spaces in this city.
Black folks have historically been told where they can and cannot be.
So complaints about gentrification cant be deflected to "not being able to pick what color you are" ("I cant help it that I am white"), or "we need you to be united with us" (telling Black folks to unify with the status quo is silencing our concerns and our needs), or putting a stick in the ground and calling it yours.
Oak Park artist, Mozzy. Image Credit to Real Street Radio www.realstreetradio.com
We have faced over 400 years of RACISM in this country, therefore it is our duty to fight. It is our duty to create pathways for change. It is our duty to work and build the paradigm for the REVOLUTION. It is our duty to show up authentically, our best selves. It is our duty to pay homage to our ancestors because their strength gives us strength and propel us forward. I truly believe the ancestors are screaming at us from the grave to fight, to stand and to build. It is the strength of their breaths giving flight to our dreams. It is beyond time we realize being BLACK is more than enough. Or are too many of us stuck believing the hurdle is too great for us to get over? Has the white normative boxed us too tightly into an impossible corner to get out of? From the grave, our ancestors would say NO!!! Ain’t that healing?
Ask yourself, when was the first time it felt normal to be BLACK? When was the first time you accepted your Blackness for what it is, regardless of consequences? When did you have an epiphany that your blackness was more important to your/our survival than to white comfort? And in those moments of revelation, I hope you know there was no ship that could break us; starvation didn’t weaken us; chains didn’t bind us; guns and dogs didn’t stop us…..FROM FIGHTING TO SEE ANOTHER DAY. Ain’t that healing?
This has been a considerably difficult blog to write. I have been mulling over the issues and ideas I will share here for at least a couple of weeks. I've been meditating on them for even longer. The quintessential gaining and maintaining of spiritual, physical and mental wellness weigh heavily on me personally and seems to weigh on Black Folxs collectively. It has occurred to me in my reflections that Black Folxs are subsisting off resilience. The reasons for this are numerous and complex. I will not examine all of them but rather just focus on the particularly devastating aspect of trauma caused by abuse and how it poisons our perceptions and by extension our relationship to one another. More importantly I seek to offer a pathway towards effectively confronting and overcoming this impediment to our progress.
It’s time to be schooled on the connection of dots, that have led to the predicament we all find ourselves in today, with respects to race in Amerikkka. It’s time to be school on the facts that were intentionally set into motion when barbaric European tribes began to roam the earth in search of the genius they lacked. It’s time we are schooled on what race even means in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, it’s most definitely time to be schooled on all the shits that have built up and morphed into this dysfunctional disease with sole intentions of sacrificing those who give and give and give some more of self. It’s time to be schooled on the reality that the English language, patriarchy, Christianity, capitalism, and democracy combined are responsible for the demise of humanity and the protection of the great white race. And let’s be very clear, there are no clear winners as every European country is still vying for position in said race. It’s time to be schooled on the fact that during this “race” all of those who partook in committing atrocities against the world via a slave economy, have committed the most harm against the indigenous people of the world, those from mother Africa.
Over the past 400 years and since 1619, when the first slaves stepped foot onto the soil of America the “race” for white domination has destroyed the fabric of hope, life, and liberty for everyone, except white men. In those 400 years, “what has happened yesterday is happening today to Black bodies. We have to teach the ongoing murderers of Black men,” (Renee Watson, Teaching for Black Lives)…..because the names are endless:
(and specific to Sacramento….)
Rest in power Dazion. Today we honor you.
The violence and injustice bestowed upon you moved this chapter to action and organize against a state that allowed not only your murder, but the defamation of your humanity. Now you ride with us every march, every action, every press conference—every everything—fueling our steps toward justice in a city that afforded you none.
Three years ago today Sacramento Police Department murdered Dazion in Meadowview, not far from where they killed Stephon Clark two years later. In both acts of egregious police terror, our city officials not only defended the murderers—they further attacked the victim to cover up the misconduct of their officers and uphold the anti-Blackness that blankets our local government.
In both circumstances—BLM Sacramento wasn’t here for it.
DA Schubert, Darrel Steinberg, Howard Chan, Chief Hahn, Brian Louie you are trash. Straight vile, complicit, cowardly trash. We are not moved by your calls for decorum and promises of a change that never comes. #JosephMann #StephonClark #BrandonSmith #DarellRichards are proof enough of that. We are singularly focused on preventing the horror Dazion felt illegally trapped in the back of your police car and the unnecessary bullets that tore through his body. Be advised that we will continue to TURN UP and make your lives as uncomfortable as need be.
Does a year make a difference?
How much time does it take to heal? How are you supposed to feel? I've been asking myself these questions over and over these last two weeks. Is the pain dulled? Is the trauma lessened? These questions are not just for self-reflection but ones that I ask on behalf of my people.
Black Folx have never gotten an opportunity to heal. Healing requires so much; so much that we have been deliberately denied. We keep fighting for justice. But when will we get it? The waiting was unbearable. We waited from the moment Stephon Clark was murdered by Officer Robinet and Officer Mercadal of the Sacramento Police Department, on March 18, 2018, until his character was assassinated by District Attorney Anne Marie Shubert, on March 2, 2019. What were we waiting for? A mere lingering possibility, only to be denied justice and to be further traumatized.
If you live in the Sacramento area or California for that matter, unless you are living under a rock or in a cave, there is no way I can understand you not knowing about the murder of unarmed #StephonClark on March 18, 2018, by two Sacramento Police officers who emptied both of their clips while shooting in his direction. On the night in question in the 9pm hour, officers Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal with the assistance of a Sacramento Sheriff helicopter above were led into the backyard where Stephon was attempting to gain entry into his grandparent’s home. Without going into all of the horrid details of that night, one thing is for sure…..by design JUSTICE continues to evade Black people in America. There are too many glaringly similarities in Stephon’s death to the more recent murder of Mike Brown by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri and even the distant murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi…..all of whose deaths are classic LYNCHING by definition.
According to Wikipedia….. “LYNCHING is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor or to intimidate a group (typically Black people). LYNCHING is the practice of murder by a group of people by extrajudicial actions. LYNCHINGS in the United States rose in number after the American Civil War in the late 1800s, following the emancipation of slaves, they declined in the 1920s but have continued to take place into the 20th century. LYNCHING served the broad social purpose of maintaining white supremacy in the economic, social and political spheres.”