By Rhetta Peoples
Being black in Orlando, is a little like being black in Charleston, Ferguson and Baltimore.
In the wake of Ferguson and the decision of the Grand Jury, my 11-year old, culturally awake daughter turns to me and says, “Why is America turning on itself?” “That is a great question, Nile”, as I answered uncertain and still baffled at the attempt of black America to simply get an indictment so the evidence may come out in a court of law in a country that claim we are equal. Now, she struggles to understand the massacre in South Carolina.
Compared to my childhood, Nile lives a privileged life. She has a nice home, a great school, two parents under one roof and has never missed a meal. Her clothes fit and she is up to date on everything including the tiny metal rods that are shaping her little teeth to enhance her already beautiful smile. She believes she is equal to her best friends and her classmates. Reality is, she is not.
America has indeed turned on itself and while the eyes of many white Americans look toward impeaching the first black President, degrading the First Family and pardoning the gunning down of black people on the street, Muslim extremist catch America doing what they believe we do best.
“Sleeping.” Not actually sleeping, but “sleeping” on what the true disease is that is plaguing us.
Our guard is up, yet it is against ourselves. Like an autoimmune disorder, our “white blood cells” are rushing to form a scab on a wound that isn’t really there. We are determined to beat the crazy out of each other while our troops stand alone against a war we are beckoning to lose. A nation divided is what we are. A nation divided is what we will continue to be should our people continue to be murdered in bloody gutters along the street corners of Anytown, USA while we continue to hate the day lights out of each other.
Any nation weakened is a nation that can be easily conquered. We, black folks and supporters of the cause will not give up nor will we give in which will force the hand of hate mongers and bearers of fear to face justice in America with equilibrium. Those who support the black murders and the injustice that trails it, yet claim to love America must change the way they see their brethren. If not, the nation is easily left open.
What Nile said to me was clear. We, Americans, are so busy infighting that we are forgetting all about the enemy.
If America ever wants to keep herself free, a stroke of brilliance would equal supporting each other whether we love, like or despise the color or social status of one another. There is a reason why some other countries hate free countries. Yet, those who pound their chests and claim, “freedom ain’t free” refuse to allow black people to be free in the very same land in which we fought and died.
While I channel surfed on the nights of the announcement that there would be no indictment for both murders, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, I listened to a Fox News commentator talk very specifically about why the officers should not have been indicted. It was sickening. They extrapolated every ounce of how these lame cops murdered these two men justifiably.
Now, we listen to the faithful express their sorrow and grief for those so close to them that were gunned down in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. On the other hand, we listed to former politicians and commentators make claims that say Dylann Roof’s massacre that left 9 black people dead, was not racially motivated, therefore not a hate crime. They blame it on insanity (well we know that) and talk about how he misused drugs and that is what caused this massacre. Yet, Roof himself admitted to it being racially motivated, drove 110 miles to a historically black church and pretended to be amongst the faithful in order to murder them. And, with open arms, just as Christ would want it, they welcomed him.
With the controversy in Orlando over an Orlando Police officer kicking a black man who had his hands up on the sidewalk, until he was flat on his back concerns me. More importantly, the disposition and the initial remarks supporting those officers by Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer and the current Orlando Chief of Police, John W. Mina as they initially refused to suspend them pending an investigation tells the vast majority of our community that we are just like Charleston. The rebel flag flies over government buildings while waving just as strong as the American flag. As I watched Charleston’s lowered flags, in respect for the 9 dead black Americans, I watched the rebel flag wave just as high as it could go on the flagpole only feet away from the American and State Flag. That spoke volumes as it was not an oversight. It clearly displayed the local government were afraid to lower that ugly flag and freak out the rebels while symbolically and firmly floating another confederate win in 2015.
And, we Americans, lie sleeping. Channel surfing in bed while the rest of the world watches and sees every Iota of our weakness. Isis recruits after such heinous acts of violence and debatably grows stronger at every weak point in our DNA. All the while, the real enemy looks nothing like the two groups of people fighting against each other. Keep sleeping America and one day the realization of who the enemy is may help you understand, that in order to survive and become unified, we must respect each other far more than we are doing right now.