Rules of Engagement

So one of the things I’ve been working through during the last couple days is trying to define and clarify the boundaries around when to speak up and when to be silent. Because, however-much I admire the determined stance voiced in Calderon’s and Wise’s “Code of Ethics for Antiracist White Allies“:

[W]e are committed to challenging the individual injustices and institutional inequities that exist as a result of racism, and to speaking out whenever and wherever it exists.

And however seriously I take the responsibility I articulated a couple days ago about speaking up again and again, I still can’t quite see myself as a wherever, whenever kind of testimony giver.

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Broken Windows

So, in the words of Morris W. O’Kelley, it is “That Time in America” again.

Freddy Gray died in Baltimore on April 19th, one week after an arrest and police transport experience that somehow left him comatose, brain swollen, with three broken vertebrae and an 80% spinal cord severance. Involved officers were suspended. The Justice Department opened an investigation.

Peaceful protests took place for several days without much media attention. Then a small percentage of the protesters turned to violence and property destruction–with, by the way, the active collusion of baseball fans and poor police planning.

And then the finger-wagging commenced. Which brings me back to O’Kelley:

This is that time in America when we stand around and ask “why would ‘they’ burn down ‘their’ community?” This is that time in America when we simultaneously act as if the precipitating event or parallel history are neither relevant nor worthy of addressing. . . . This is that time in America when once again, African-Americans are expected to play by rules not followed by others while also having the original issues ignored.

Yup. It’s that time again. Not that “that time” ever really went away in the first place.

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