I am hurting. Notice: I’m in the present tense.
Though we have the cops in jail for George Floyd, there are still black bodies out there lost to the system of justice unserved.
I’m thinking about Breonna Taylor. You too, Elijah McClain. And so many more. Even the mysterious ones hung in trees like the droop of a question mark. Who knew Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit still haunts us to this day?
From afar, I scroll through Twitter, watching monuments torn down. Farewell Junipero Serra and Ulysses S. Grant. Erasure isn’t wiping out history; the status quo is just changing. But still, through mass information, racism is rampant. Professors, incoming uni freshmen, nationalist nobodies continue to belittle and mock black souls. Is the #georgefloydchallenge something you really need to do? You couldn’t have rather watched something on cable television and chugged a PBR? You couldn’t have had a backyard barbecue? You had to do that? You had to take the time to tear down BLM signs on telephone poles instead of picking up your supermarket bread, milk, and eggs?
The virtual witch hunts targeting oppressors exhibit how actions hold consequences. Don’t forget. Just like everybody else on this planet, you have choice. And you have to live up to the choices that you choose to make in your own life. And yes, some of those choices have consequences. The times you said the “N-word”, the time you called the cops because a black soul “looked suspicious”, you made a choice.
I’m in Korea where the Covid Crisis is slowing down. Summer is here, people are out. They bank by the Han river, feet in the water. It’s like New York in the summer. The human experience demands to be witnessed.
But all this makes me nauseous. One or two BLM protests have paraded the streets of Seoul. My heart wants to sing songs in the streets, chanting truths to conjure needed change. I’ve felt it before some time ago when I marched for women, when I marched against Trump’s presidency. To have your voice ache for America is the most noble folk song you can sing for yourself.
But my song goes un-sung. The Immigration Control Act restricts expats in Korea to voice themselves. Even when it came to impeaching their very own corrupt President Park Guen-hye. In a previous post, I mentioned that there are daunting thresholds in place that shackle immigrants with a helplessness that traps them. Whether it’s the lack of stimulus checks for immigrants who pay Korean tax or even the social stigma that excludes, I did the most. I signed petitions, shared news, donated to funds. And yet, why doesn’t it feel like enough? Why does it feel that though I stand privileged from all the violence, wrongs overpower rights? Why are black bodies still being lost to the system?
I often wonder how James Baldwin felt from afar, living in Paris. Writing. Discovering his sexuality. The deviance of it all. Just like how I often wonder how the streetwear Koreans feel, adopting black culture into their lifestyles, only to see black bodies beaten by clubs, pummeled ’til the gravel’s painted red. I wonder how they’re able to say the “N-Word” with carefree grace without understanding the pain of it all.
Is ignorance at play? Am I a coward for running away? Am I far removed from expressing my pain with others during such a time of sensitivity? Or am I simply rejecting American culture just to spite it, just to figure myself out before I involve myself with trying to figure out the system?
Not all is bad. AB1460 made Ethics Studies a required GE for all CSU’s. More cops have their necks in court. People continue to march. People continue to stretch their voice beyond Floyd’s unjust death. And though I hurt from afar, people continue, restoring faith in “We the People”.
We the people have a responsibility for the members of our communities. Take action here:
Breonna Taylor was an award-winning EMT and first responder in Louisville, KY, who loved helping her patients and her…
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