Photo: Black Livest Matter Protests to end systemic racism/Credit: Instagram – @the24thgallery
United States is shaking with massive revolts in the aftermath of the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by the thug police officer Derek Chauvin, and his accomplices Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane on May 25 in Minneapolis, MN. Floyd’s death was preceded, not long ago, by those of Breonna Taylor, fatally shot in her own house by the Louisville police Brett Hankison, John Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove, and Ahmaud Arbery, pursued and murdered while jogging by two white men, Travis and Gregory McMichael.
The accumulated grief and rage expanded onto the streets in all 50 states, and found reverberation all across the globe, voicing solidarity against racism and police brutality – to end systemic racism once and for all. Today (6/13/2020) marks the 19th day of the ongoing uprising, holding onto its urgency, power and intensity.
Acknowledgment – Systemic Racism
What we are confronted with is the onslaught of white supremacist violence that is through and through defined by anti-blackness. I write this piece with the full recognition that my voice might be unnecessary, or worse, a source of extra noise when we all need to hear Black voices first. I will cut short on the paradox of speaking up and staying silent, embrace the paradox itself and try to thread that line by letting only that part speak which speaks against the terror of the racialized world order for which anti-blackness is the core constituent, both in the US and for the rest of the world.
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ANOTHER DAY, AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Another death, another day, at the end of the world. Another day at the end of the world for many whose lives were already the living proof of the apocalypse, lives that are the total sum of day-to-day extinction and genocide-by-other-means, lives that were forcibly given expiration dates by the racist militarized state order. What does it mean to grieve, at the end of the world?
Every death is the end of a singular life. With every death at the hands of the racist state, we grieve the living being whose time on earth was cut off short, whose life was stolen, whose past frozen, whose presence forcibly interrupted and whose future made impossible.
Every death is the end of a world. The end of a world that contained this singular life, a world that carried within it the irreplaceable trace and potency that shoots into infinite horizons. With every death at the hands of the racist business-as-usual we grieve that trace and potency which doesn’t get to conclude its own story, we grieve the authorship that gets vilified, defeated, erased.
Every murder at the hands of the racist executioner is the violent extinguishing of light. But this is not all.
Every murder at the hands of a world soaked in anti-Blackness is a confirmation, with bullets, chokes, fire and strangulation, that Black life is relegated to nothingness. It is the self-confirmation of a world that built its “humanity” on the utter dehumanization of Black lives and the various hierarchies of racialized “humanness.” We grieve lives that have been deemed un-grievable, every time we grieve, actualizing an impossibility.
Every death, every murder is the rehashing of the brutal histories of capture, captivity, commodification, enslavement, lynching and murder. Of edifices erected on bodies that were raped and slaughtered. Of lands and people massacred and colonized. The histories of violence, the complete series, all included.
Every death, every murder is a re-traumatization, a trauma that never heals because it never ends. A wound that is made to bleed, over and over again. Every murder the presencing of a past that never passes (as Saidiya Hartman forcefully puts it). Tears running not only for today, but for yesterday, and for decades, centuries past, for the murder of countless lives. A mourning that never ends, a constant and unending processing of loss.
With every death, we grieve the loss of hope that this person carried for all of us implicitly, just by staying alive. With every murder, we grieve the extermination of one part of the possibility for another world, for another humanity. As we grieve our deceased, we also grieve for ourselves, and for our unrealized, de-potentialized futures.
Related article: Unsung Heroes Series: We Refuse To Forget 15-Year-Old Black Revolutionary Claudette Colvin, Whose Refusal To Stand Up Inspired Rosa Parks Protest – Claudette is one of the original heroes of the black lives matter movement to end systemic racism.
But this is not all. With our grief comes our rage. And our rage is a radiance. At the end of the world as we know it radiates a freedom that cannot be bottled up in their discourses nor their products.
Staying silent is a luxury that is not affordable for everyone. So often one feels crushed, barely surviving with the inherited and daily acquired lacerations of the body and the soul. But your rage is still there, and it reminds you of itself whether you are ready or not. The floodgates open.
The uprising is liberatory; in the middle of the fire that engulfs the precinct, something appears, like a vision that shows what the spirit needs and what it rejects. We become clairvoyants as the veil of fear and manipulation burns. It is an illumination.
This is not the same as things “getting better,” it’s not “progress.” Words can become shackles; we cleanse our language and claim back the creative power of naming.
For those in the streets, they learn a lifetime’s worth of knowledge in a single night. This affective and experimental change is the pedagogy of the oppressed.
Related article: Will the Diversity in Victory of Last Year’s Oscars 2019 – 91st Academy Award Winners Ever Be Repeated to End Systemic Racism? Will the Oscars speak up for justice and actively take part in the Black Lives Matter movement by recognized talented black cast and crew?
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
The governments have not waited long before escalating repression and activating counterinsurgency tactics to quell the uprisings (tactics that they originated and perfected through imperialist wars and colonial domination). The imposed curfews can turn protestors into criminals within a manner of seconds, miraculously creating “legitimacy” for state violence out of thin air. The police give their support and approval to racialized vigilante violence, while those in power call for “peace.”
In their mouths, “peace” is a code word for routinized, unproblematized brutality over racialized subjects. It is the short-term reference to the normalized war of everyday life that takes place in schools, hospitals, workplaces and prisons. It is impunity. It is asking people to be silent and complacent in their own death.
Related article: Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us is about racially targeted attacks on innocent African-American Boys Due To The Law Being Infested With Systemic Prejudice and shows why the Black Lives Matter movement is needed to end systemic racism.
What the uprising asks for is justice, because without justice, peace is just the continuation of war through other means. That peace kills people in broad daylight, but also through poverty, through negligence and lack of security, through absence of healthcare, through segregated cities, through the school-to-prison pipeline, through the “war on drugs.”
So we demand justice for George Floyd, but this vision of justice goes beyond the criminal justice system which is itself a part of the same violent history as that of police murders. It calls for abolition and it calls for it now. It doesn’t call for reforming racist institutions like the police and the system of incarceration; it calls for their demise and destruction.
Racism is systemic, not because the system is tainted with racism; racism is the system. It cannot be tweaked out of the white supremacist edifice that sustains it. What is thus called for is the radical overturning of the social, economic, political structure that relies on, operates with and perpetually creates the violence over racialized bodies for its existence and continuation.
It ultimately calls for the end of capitalism that was founded on the bodies, labor and lives of Black people. It calls for the end of militarized, imperialist, authoritarian rule in the US and the world. It calls for the eradication of the racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic world order.
So support and fight for the demands of radical activists for defunding police and incarceration systems, for investing in communities, for economic justice, for reparations and for political self-determination. Do not let the movement which can be historically pivotal get co-opted, tamed, pacified – i.e. manageable for those in power and digestible for those who don’t want their comfort to be disrupted. And if they want to call what’s happening – riots? Let them – all revolutions started with what they called “riots.”
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND BEYOND TO END SYSTEMIC RACISM
The hypocrisy of fascists like Turkey’s Erdogan condemning the police murder while imprisoning elected Kurdish officials, funding war gangs, suppressing opposition through domestic terror charges and condoning racist violence is beyond nauseating. However, the uprisings had a world-wide impact because they were taking place in the United States – the country with the largest military power and biggest global ideological impact – and that is undeniable.
Click here to read more on Hollywood Insider’s vision, values and mission statement here – Media has the responsibility to better our world and support the movement to end systemic racism – Hollywood Insider fully focuses on substance and meaningful entertainment, against gossip and scandal, by combining entertainment, education, and philanthropy.
But it goes both ways: What is happening in the US at the moment carries within it glimpses from Palestine, Kurdistan, China, Chile besides many others. With the global rise of figures like Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi, Duterte and the like, it would be naive to expect the liberal framework of rights to hold water for long. “Law and order” means that the state will not back away from using exceptional measures to re-establish the status-quo, and even harsher forms of repression might be waiting for us when the cameras turn off. Let’s hold on to our power, not let them dictate the terms of the argument and be ready for what is to come.
TAKE ACTION & DONATE:
Take Action #BLM Spreadsheet of Organizations, Donations, Petitions, Black-Owned Businesses
Angela Davis, “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle”
Saidiya Hartman, “The End of White Supremacy: An American Romance”
Alex S. Vitale, The End of Policing
Written by Bilgesu Sisman
Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally are a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”
Ending systemic racism is the only right choice. Systemic racism must end. Systemic racism has no place in our united world.
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