Tupac said fear is stronger than love. Fear is such a powerful force that sometimes the only way to conquer it, is to repurpose it. Walt Disney feared mice, so he repurposed them by creating a soft spoken, friendly mouse named Mickey. White southerners feared the physical prowess of the African and so they repurposed their physicality and called it slavery. A white man once said,
“The reason why white people fear black people today, is because if white people were treated the way black people have been, we would have burned this country down a long time ago. We’re afraid you’ll finally realize what we’ve always known and turn on us. So, through our silence and inaction we continue to support a system that keeps black people just broken enough to stand down and stay down.”
The greatest accomplishment of slavery was not what it did to us physically, but what it did to us mentally. If we knew we were slaves, we wouldn’t have been slaves for as long as we were. Mental subjugation breeds internalized oppression and internalized oppression permeates generations.
The whips and chains have changed, but the slavery is still the same. Every time the brutalization of a black and brown body is justified by 5 words, “I feared for my life” – fear is repurposed. Whips become (un)lawful brutality by militarized law enforcement; chains become the criminal (in)justice system, but the slave remains the same.
Baltimore is what happens when we finally realize we’re still slaves: broken windows for Freddie Gray’s broken spine, rock fights because “I don’t really want to hurt anyone but I’m mad as hell,” CVS going up in new flames but this fear fire is an old one, raging for centuries – smoke filled lungs so we can’t breathe.
Baltimore is what happens when we finally realize we’re still slaves, and if it were you, you would have burned this country down a long time ago. #freddiegray #Icantbreathe #baltimoreburning #blacklivesmatter #blackragematters
“Negroes – Sweet and docile, Meek, humble, and kind: Beware the day – They change their mind” -Langston Hughes