There is a desire in many individuals to share the stories of their past. And really, it’s not just a desire but a ‘right’. As soon as they hear a word that reminds them of something they – or others – have experienced, that story, in full detail, will be forthcoming. ‘My cousin Mabel in Philadelphia had this happen to her’ or ‘I slipped on a banana peel too, while I was in Chicago.’ I have learned that the ability to do that is a ‘right’. An ingrained, God-given freedom expressed to everyone.
But, do folks not realize that those anecdotal, story telling episodes are the least remembered events that can happen? Do they not realize that the time spent enduring them could be spent in so many ‘higher’ ways? Just sitting quietly would allow for better thoughts to enter. Or asking each other questions about how anything could be made better might be preferred.
Perhaps it is the idea that people just don’t like to think.
And what in the world does that have to do with the ubiquitous riots going on all around our country?
This ‘right’ of passage that most of us enjoy – to tell our stories – has not been offered to everyone. There are many who always remain ‘unheard’. Their stories are not like ours. They are stories from the deeply disenfranchised. And they are not the typical disenfranchisement, but one where those people could not even attain something which could be taken from them.
‘Base disenfranchisement’. Many, starting life with no hope, dealing drugs because that was THE ONLY WAY they could make enough money to feed themselves. They had no English language, there’s was only their language – of the unheard.
Consider earlier episodes of ‘protesting’. Was that a meaningful voice to those who so engaged in it? Did it precipitate meaningful change – to them? Were they heard afterwards? No.
Are there forms of protest – with teeth? Yes.
They’re called ‘riots’. The looting, burning, taunting – they are the teeth – they are what is heard. There would be nothing but silence without them.
The camel succumbed to its straw. Those riots, the ‘teeth’ outside our windows today, may be the straws to which our country may have to identify with the camel.
Ladies and gentlemen, the unheard just got a voice, and it is booming. It may not be right, lawful or pretty – but it is being heard. It is the only voice they know – and they do not want to lose it.
Has it continued log enough for any noticeable change to occur? Probably, not yet. How many more riots are needed? No idea. But from my perspective it would be nice if real, noticeable change was on the horizon. But it may mean that this voice has to be louder than any we have ever heard.
And the next time we are talking to friends and neighbors, can we maybe forego one story and opt to ask them a question like, ‘In your opinion, what would be the highest and most impactive way we, as a country, could really address integration?’
That knee to the neck is indelibly etched in most of our minds. Maybe this time we let it linger. Keep it there as a reminder of; how errant a police force can become, how disenfranchised people really are, how can we help, how easy it is to forget this and JUST move on.
Oh, damn. Disregard all the above.
I forgot, nobody likes to think.