Your problem; my problem.
That is the nature of reality.
I am a Southern white male.
Proud of my heritage. Proud of my family. Proud of who I am. As I damn well should be. Everyone should walk through this life with their heads held high and their countenance in accord.
Whatever else we of humanity are; we simply are. Why not enjoy the experience of our random existence and like Minnie Pearl, just “be proud to be here”. There is nothing wrong with such a perspective, and everything right about it in my view.
But pride and self worth notwithstanding, there is a reality that simply must not escape me.
Whatever else we of humanity are; we simply are interconnected. Existence is a web. Everything and everyone existing at the same time are interconnected and share common ground if for no other reason than we all stand on and share the common ground of mother earth. If this era of instant global communication teaches us anything it should make us aware that we all share a common existence as inhabitants of mother earth in the way of communal humanity.
And how much more so do the common aspects of our earthly existence become real and practical than when considered from the perspective of the concept of “society”. The concept of society; no matter whether local, regional, or national, is a reminder that we of the human race are interconnected and interdependent whether or not we wish to acknowledge the fact.
That said, as this 53 year old Southern white male ages, I am becoming increasingly aware that the concept of “Your problem, my problem” is the simple nature of reality. I can ignore that reality. I can deny that reality. But I sure as hell cannot avoid living that reality.
And so with each passing day, and with each troublesome daily headline, I become increasingly aware that the problems of others are in fact my problems; even though their ideology or circumstances may differ from my own. Thus:
Your problem; My problem.
The Problem of Racism Is My Problem
First off, if you think that I am addressing a “problem of the past’; something that “used to be, but no longer is”; then with all due respect; whether you intend such to be the case or not:
You are part of the problem; rather than a part of the solution.
The denial of the reality of an ever present, ever real, and frankly “never went away” racism is the cornerstone of the the darkest of our society’s social ills (no pun intended).
For while many of we Caucasians of the 21st century have complacently patted ourselves on the back and assumed that the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and our slow but steady acceptance of interracial relationships has somehow enabled us to overcome the national sins of our ancestors; the real world of racism and fascism has waged on in the streets of the inner city. Now whether we just did not know or did not care to acknowledge the reality of life in the black community, the advent of the phone video, and the utility of Youtube has certainly opened our eyes as to life in the streets for the black community, and has allowed us to see for ourselves the degree of provocation and aggression which is exercised towards the black community on a daily basis.
Now someone might say Dave, why do you; a white Southern male give a damn about what happens to “black folk in the city”.
Well, firstly, everytime I see or read about yet another oftentimes unarmed black male shot to death (oftentimes with multiple gunshots) by the police, I know that the young victim is laying in a pool of blood which is the same color as the crimson red blood that flows through my own Caucasian veins. The fact is that any time a black male is gunned down in the streets, then another one of my brethren in the human family has gone by the wayside.
And so although I am a Southern white male; I am nonetheless deeply concerned with the recently revealed trend of the disrespectful and deadly maltreatment of the black community by certain over exuberant police officers. Again, I emphasize recently “revealed” for the simple reason that the maltreatment and murder of the African American male by white police officers is by no means a recent trend. The only aspect of this most serious of all human rights violations which is recent, is the capability of phone videos and Youtube to reveal to us all the living hell which is the life of the black community when subjected to the oppressive rule of tyrannical and trigger happy police officers whose methods of operation of patrol is to profile and whose means of dealing with the resistance which they themselves oftentimes provoke is that of brute force and public execution. Then, to add insult to injury, the tyranny of the fascist police officer is further empowered by tasers and tear gas, while an all too often apathetic and insensitive white community judges and criticizes the rage of the black community who are becoming increasingly frustrated at the paradox of living in a society which claims to be the beacon of freedom and security, yet whose streets are patrolled by deputized peace officers who all too often become armed assassins. This is a vicious cycle which has seen no end, nor are there signs of any changes to the positive contrary anytime in the near future, which only intensifies the frustration of an already disenfranchised and despondent sector of our social community.
A secondary concern relative to the plight of the now publicized aggression against the black community by our public servants, is the precedent being set by a lack of accountability of the racist and fascist police force for their crimes against humanity. This aspect of police brutality should be regarded as a matter of concern for all peoples, black or white, because with each case of a deputized peace officer being allowed to murder with no accountability whatsoever further precedent is set for a socially accepted police state. This we simply cannot abide.
Frankly, how short sighted for those of us who are not directly affected by this inhumane maltreatment to not realize that police brutality which is simply swept under the rug by a corrupt system of cover up sets a precedent for a militant and militarized policing of our ENTIRE society.
So long as the police are allowed to randomly ask for ID, damage personal property, torture by taser, beat, and/or shoot unarmed black males with NO accountability, then EVERYONE’s basic rights are in peril.
So long as the police are allowed to tear gas, torture by taser, beat, and/or shoot peaceful demonstrators who are rightfully assembling based upon the most basic of all rights of a free and civil society to assemble and protest as a means of collective communication, then EVERYONE’s basic rights are in peril.
Every person is due the respect worthy of their very existence.
The African-American community has yet to be able to assume that natural right.
No one should live in fear that their living or yet unborn male sons may be provoked, bullied by, and shot by armed assassins whose responsibility is to “keep the peace” rather than to provoke and incite.
The African-American community has yet to live without that fear.
The basis for a free and civil society is that of the freedom to live and move about in our homes, neighborhoods, and even elsewhere without the fear of harassment or being oppressed by representatives of the state.
The African-American community has yet to be afforded that freedom.
In a free and civil society, everyone should have the right to assemble and collectively communicate their most heartfelt concern to the state specifically and to society at large without fear of being oppressed and attacked by a militant and militarized police force.
The African-American community has yet to be afforded that collective right.
As a 53 year old Southern white male, it may appear that the problems of the African-American community should not concern me.
But rather they must. They simply must.
If for no other reason than the interconnected nature of our human existence, but mainly because it is the right perspective to maintain:
Your Problem; IS My Problem.
(Note: This is the first of a short series of articles dealing with the concept of “Your Problem; My Problem”. Next: “Your Problem; My Problem: Homophobia and Misogyny”. Dave)