• O The Unstoppable

Refusing refugees refuge


Today, a new FB friend that I admire & enjoy reading answered a rhetorical question I posed. It was the perfect response. I asked if there would be marches for the refugees and visa-holders who were being detained at the JFK Airport in New York. I ended with a statement about the entire system needing to be replaced. Two lines, that was it. The response was simple and equally to the point, mentioning the crowds gathering in protest, in particular members of the ACLU and some attorneys out at the airport working pro bono to help free some of the detainees.

I applaud all of this action. -- standing O, y'all!

And, I also see something of a pattern that keeps us - here in the land of the free - circling around these traps we set for ourselves of oppression and oppressive action.

I didn't want to reply on FB, because I didn't want it to come off overwhelming...

so here's what else I've noticed about our habits in this country of 'spontaneous activism.' (*as always, no real names will appear here) So here it is...

...the fact that this action is legally allowed by bonafide US law [8 U.S. Code § 1182 - Inadmissible aliens] and the racist & supremacist ideologies that spawn the current use of such laws, in my mind, is the issue here. not whether folks will pop-up and offer pro-bono legal aid to refugees. please, excuse me, I mean no harm and i hope you see the intersectional nature of my next comments and the linkages and interstices i see here. I'll try to make it plain...

Black folks have been refugees (of a sort) in this country since the Great Enslavement. we were forced to leave our countries, not to escape persecution & terrorism, but because of european persecution and terrorism. we, like the refugees being detained now, didn't want to come here... circumstance forced us here (albeit different circumstances, for different reasons, but nonetheless torturous conditions forced the move). Black folks didn't immigrate (as a Texas school book recently tried to reframe it). Black people are refugees in hostile territory...still. we seek refuge in a Constitution that still proclaims we are 3/5 human - that part being neither stricken, nor in practical experience really amended, and that 'amendment' sure hasn't changed the view of Black people here and around the world. Black people seek refuge in a laws and policies designed to keep them on the bottom…broken, bereft of power, and always on the verge (if not in the throes) of desperation, unable to think straight, nevertheless organize in a sustained enough fashion to gain final and permanent liberation from american imperio-capitalist exploitation.

they say that when you're a hammer, every problem is a nail. well, i'm Black so... here's a view from this bridge:

the way these refugees are being treated today is an extension of how Black people have been treated since the dawn of this 'country,' an extension of american imperialist ideology and practice. the american brand of supremacy is the character this country has chosen for itself through its continued oppression and exploitation of Black people (yes. I know about the mass Indigenous genocide and their horrid treatment - then and now - and their near extinction. but, for just one minute, let's focus on Black people.) and, you know all of these things, just as i do. my point is that demonizing these people in this way is the same thing that this government has been doing to Black people this whole time and is still doing. they are seeking to change the narrative in the minds of 'americans' (& mostly white people) about who these people are so they can control our response to any upcoming (and it is coming) inhumane treatment of them. this government has consistently done this to Black people, particularly since the end of the Civil War when suddenly we became rapacious, lazy, sex-crazed, violent, uncontrollable, terroristic beasts that must be suppressed and whom it is right to suppress.

I am all for helping the refugees. I am also all for recognizing and proclaiming loudly where this spiteful response to them is really coming from and the deep, deep roots it has in 'the american way'... because i still see it in the abysmal treatment (and "benign neglect") of Black people. I am trying to use the term "Black people' as much as i can in this post to illustrate that for once, I wish white people, en masse, would gather to demand that this government stop economically & politically oppressing Black people... specifically, Black people. Not the same old multi-culturalism spiel that we are all one and we all bleed the same and ALL people matter; naw, I want to see millions of white people stand up specifically for Black people, as a sea of white folks outraged and demanding better. I want to see white people, by the busloads march in the streets and say we demand that this regime renegotiate the power relations we have with Black people, renegotiate the resource access and wealth distribution inequities that we have with Black people, all in service to a grand strategy with the agenda to break the arm of white supremacy and to form social, political and economic systems that are non-exploitative – of people and the environment. now THAT would make it harder to do things like what is going on right now with these refugees. that would begin a revolution in the minds of white people (where the biggest revolution needs to begin, in my opinion) that can really start addressing the deep wounds of racism (as a system of interlaced oppressions) that keep getting reopened with actions like this.

Black people's continuing and unresolved oppression breeds the need for ACLU attorneys camping out in JFK airport to feverishly draft writs of habeas corpus. Black people's continued, unchecked denigration and exploitation is what makes these other things easier to do, these sins easier to commit in broad daylight. I know you're hip. I know and hear you and understand. I know you're saying “we gotta do something” and “at least we are doing something.” what I am trying to add is that what is being done is, indeed, at least. it is not addressing the cause, though helping with the triage of the moment.

why was this action taken? why did america need to do this? racism. period.

practiced, perfected, systemic racism over hundreds of years, fomented now into a national personality trait and way of doing business. this was practiced on my people - Black people - and they honed it to a razor-edged precision. now they wield this american-grown racism like the politico-economic weapon it always was, but now they're better at it. I am glad someone is standing up to help these people...because they are people. but we keep on ignoring the causes, the roots, the reasons this keeps happening and the impulses for it... we keep running from pronouncing the full truth of where this shit is coming from.

here's the main point, and it took all of this to bring it to the surface for me: we won't be able to unseat this white supremacist imperio-capitalist system while we think we're already doing it. the real-real is we’re not doing it (yet). we have these moments of ‘pop-up activism’ and then we go home. we don’t, then, dig any deeper because we are a symptom-oriented society – big pharma has grown fat in this knowledge. we ablate a little bit of the supremacist-fashioned growth with actions like this, then leave the majority of the cancer still in the body politic, so it grows back, this time with scar tissue and this time metastasizing somewhere new… we haven't even scratched the surface of exposing in simple, relatable terms that the masses can hear and digest, how and why this kind of nationalistic acting out keeps happening – keeps happening and keeps happening. not yet. folks aren't ready to put it all on the line to stop this. not yet.

i do have hope, tho'.

Keep on fightin'. I'm out here wit'chu.

{holla @ me in the comment section below...let's get a conversation goin'...}

#freedomfighters #activism #popupactivism

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