By David Sherman
I was watching the news. Bad habit that’s accelerated lately. Some had upped their booze and dope intake. Others have gone ‘round-the-clock news. Demonstrations were just beginning. A white guy in a suit was talking to CNN, a Democrat governor, a so-called liberal, saying he was all for freedom to demonstrate, but “when you start breaking windows…”
That was his line in the sand. For 400 years, give or take, Africans in the U.S., and we’re far from guilt-free here, have been chained, lynched, shot, clubbed, incarcerated, executed, denied jobs, health care, education, justice and dignity, told where and when to piss, what water they can drink and where and what to eat.
So, yes, the white man in the suit agreed African-Americans have a right to demonstrate and complain, even if some white Americans would prefer to lock them up for ... existing.
Just don’t break windows.
Police can serve a “no-knock” warrant on you in the middle of the night, which means, “Surprise!” And break down your door or better yet, take a military-style troop transport and smash through your front wall into your living room. Should you freak out because you’re fast asleep and strangers are screaming at you and grab the gun that is de rigeur in most American homes, they’ll shoot you dead in your bed along with your terrorized wife, your barking dog and, given the chance, your children.
And what can African-Americans do about it? They can walk down the middle of an avenue, hold a sign and beg for it to stop. As long as they don’t break windows.
As long as, of course, the president doesn’t want to take a stroll to the local church, protected by the 82nd Airborne, and hold a bible for the cameras. It might well be the first time his feet have touched pavement in decades but his right to be an asshole is more important than the right to demonstrate. If Trump wants to come out of hiding in his bunker to preen for the evangelical vote like an orange peacock, his army will shoot you with rubber bullets and tear gas and flash bangs, knock you down, cuff you with snap ties and haul you off to jail, maybe to roll around in the back of the van and sever your spine.
If you survive the arrest and transport, you can then join the almost seven million Americans tied up in the U.S judicial system, more than three million of whom are sealed in cages.
About 1,000 African men are killed by police every year in the U.S. and their recourse is to walk quietly, carry signs and remain pacified. Just don’t break windows.
Black mothers see their children, their husbands, their fathers die daily at the hands of police. They can weep, and after 400 years of living with targets over their hearts and engraved in their heads, they can march and complain quietly. As long as they’re on a short leash and don’t break windows.
Windows are more important than the life of a black person, as are cars and police stations and grocery stores. African-Americans, a source of cheap, exploited labour, were brought to the United States to facilitate the accumulation and preservation of private property and wealth by white people. That remains true today. Black athletes are paid fortunes to make white owners, white-owned companies who pay endorsements and buy ads, more wealthy. Once the African-American listens to his heart and does not play his part as scripted, he is expendable. See Kaepernick, Colin.
To the madman in the White House and his ilk, every African-American in the country is an extension of the Central Park Five. Guilty or not, throw them in jail and weld the door shut. Being black in America is a criminal act. Being black in America means you’re not American. Governments are forever trying to wrestle away African-Americans’ right to vote, as they have since the beginning of universal suffrage.
So, if you’re African American, don’t break windows, forget about voting, you can’t work and if you do, you probably won’t make enough to feed your family. Maybe you sell drugs because working for slave wages won’t feed the family and laws as written don’t apply to black Americans anyways, so why follow them? Every season is open season so what the hell? Sell drugs or be a college professor, the cops will stop you for no reason, pull out their guns and maybe shoot you or your wife and your children.
It doesn’t matter who you are if your skin is dark. The justice system does not deal in justice. It is a legal system designed to put black people behind bars as expeditiously as possible for as long as possible.
You sell rock cocaine they’ll lock you up forever. An African American woman was sentenced to 30 years because her boyfriend left a couple of ounces of powder cocaine in a box in her living room. Thirty years.
You’re Jerry Epstein and are convicted for raping children, they’ll sentence you to a couple of years and put you on work release six days out of seven, so, like the late Mr. Epstein, you can keep making money and raping young girls.
A black commentator on CNN said he wasn’t worried so much about the redneck racists, the Ku Klux Klan types. They weren’t hidden. What frightened him most were the white liberals, the ones who would swear they’re not racists at all. Like the Canadian-born white woman in Central Park in New York who called 911 and started screaming that an “African-American male” was threatening her life and her dog. His crime? He asked her to leash her dog. He was bird watching. Luckily, when the cops came, he was not shot. Surprisingly, the woman was fired from her Wall St. job.
Don’t break windows. Don’t burn cars. Don’t ask white people to follow rules. Put your hands where they can be seen. Lie on the ground so they can sit on your neck with your hands cuffed.
You can’t breathe and you can’t break windows. You probably can't get a loan. Or an education. Tough to find a job. Hard to get an apartment.
African Americans now drive the bus rather than riding in the back where they’re at the front row of the virus, like they are in so many of the low-rent jobs they are allowed to have that forces them into continual contact with people. And they’re dying to keep the busses going to ferry other black people to their shitty jobs. It’s work and die, or don’t work and starve.
Don’t break windows. Don’t get uppity. Don’t fight back. Ignore that the federal government is by white people for white people.
Don’t break windows when they’re breaking your head and shooting your friends and family. Don’t steal a pair of underwear from Target’s or you might get shot. Trump’s finger is on the trigger. Trump wants African-Americans dead. Hence his withdrawal from WHO. Health for white America, death for the rest.
African-American grievances, grievances of all human beings with a heart, are already being minimized by the shifting tide of news that is trying to blame the conflict not on the ills and crimes of a corrupt and bankrupt system of oppression and racism. The marches and riots are now being blamed on agitators, trouble makers, people who wish to cause trouble, people whose sole motive is to torch Target stores and steal underwear made in Bangladesh.
Well, we need more agitators. More trouble makers. We need less Target stores.
Don’t break windows. Breaking windows is a waste of time. It’s the system that has to be destroyed, one pane at a time.