Well, here we are. In a week's time we managed to go from humble bloggers in a tightly-knit virtual community to becoming the authors of a "new roots" movement. We withstood some initial criticisms, had the authenticity of our "blackness" and our loyalty to Black Unity questioned. We also came together as five powerful individuals to be a voice for the marginalized and we were able to get our message out. We have created a sense of awareness about a particular situation, that without the blogosphere, would have gone completely unnoticed. I want to take this opportunity to thank Gina at What About Our Daughters? and Symphony at Essential Presence for being committed enough to keep Dunbar Village in the front of our minds. Had I not stumbled upon the Dunbar Village Story after surfing the web for another story, I'd have never known. I want to also thank Vicki, Robyn, Asantewaa, and Grace for enduring the brisk and windy morning to be out there with me. Finally, I'd like to thank everyone else for your kind words, phone calls and support. This was a phenomenal experience and I won't forget about it... ever.
People Still Don't KnowWhat I found quite disturbing was the fact that people still didn't know about Dunbar Village; after this weekend, I am not surprised. There were throngs of people shouting "No Justice, No Peace!", but after attempting to engage some people there about WHY they were marching I received several rambling responses with nothing significant enough to post here. At that point point I had to ask myself, Shane, why are you here? I had answers and I was glad that I did. I still believe that black "leaders" are a mess and that they should be challenged on their rhetoric and race-baiting. I also believe that many of the non-black social justice organizations are committed to causes that offer a direct benefit to marginalized white people as long as they aren't poor. The take home here is that if you are poor and black, you are not worthy enough to be supported by organizations that were founded to be a voice for you. If you are poor and white with may have some chance of getting your problems redressed and that may be intrinsically linked to the fact that you are white. However, if you are poor, black, and not of American nationality, you have a snowball's chance in hell of being helped. Sad, but true. Isn't democracy a wonderful thing?
Me, as the counter-revolutionary (according to an email I got and another post on a different blog I read) and my Jena 6 standNow, what the hell does this mean? I decided that speaking against the mind-numbing, ineffective, showbiz civil rights -dog-and-pony-show marches was important because the REAL work isn't being done. Truth be told, Mainstream media loves controversy because controversy makes for great stories and great stories sell papers and drive web traffic. I don't think that Ms. Bello or Mr. Page had those things in mind when they decided to interview me. I think they were attempting to provide an antithetical point of view, since apparently only they realize that black americans aren't a monolithic group of people. Is it possible for black people to publicly disagree with each other and the black race survive? WEB DuBois and Booker T, Martin (at first) and Malcolm, Shelby Steele and Julian Bond, all have had their share of disagreements and black people have still survived.
I read a comment about my counter demonstration being counter productive and that what I did was counter-revolutinary. So Al and Jesse are revolutionaries? How so when their collective silence is so easily bought and they both lack morals and personal integrity? Do you people who deem yourselves as Super-blacks have any idea WHY Jesse and All command the type of attention they do? Manistream media (read controlled by the white majority) loves these two incompetent Civil Rights Era rejects and YOU listen to them. So if you're so revolutionary and deep, why are you taking your cues from white people, if you believe that Jesse and Al are the defenders against racism?
I never slammed the Jena 6 protests, but I never supported them. I do question how ANYONE finds it rational to support 6 criminals in training (yep, I said it) for beating up a white kid 3 MONTHS AFTER the noose hangings. How does one find it okay to support a teenager with four juvenile convictions as a victim? Where were his parents and what were they doing while this child was out commiting crimes? So yeah, I have a problem when Al and Jesse, as well as other social justice "leaders" blur moral imperatives to support people who are clearly NOT circumspect enough to defend the theory that they've been discriminated against. How can we be so outraged at noose hangings or other forms of symbolic hatred, but we can be so cavalier about black people killing, raping, and robbing each other? I know that white-on white (WOW) violence exists and I know that racism exists, but racism and WOW didn't mug me, 2 black men and 4 black teenage girls did. Racism and WOW didn't commit the Dunbar Village Rape; 10 black teenagers did. I digress though... Moving ON!
For Dunbar and OthersI can keep asking questions but if black leaders still choose to ignore me or to never answer then I have to get over it and move on. The real work begins now and that is where my focus will be for the next few months. The response to Dunbar must come from the residents who live there. You must know that you have the right to hold your government agencies accountable for the series of security breaches and failures that have turned your community into a hell-hole.
You must SPEAK OUT. You must come to the table and if you can't find a seat to sit down, you must MAKE ONE. I can do what I can to assist, but this is not my movement. It's inherently yours because you have to live there and no matter what your particular situation is you have the right to a decent community. You have the right to unbiased and professional police protection. You have the right to a structurally sound, mold free, pest free, and secure living facility.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. They cannot retaliate against you for wanting them to do their jobs and if they tell you otherwise, send them my way. Again, this was an enlightening and life-changing experience for me and I am looking forward to the future. My hope is that this conversation continues and transforms into action plans that address the needs of all marginalized people without regard to their race, gender, nationality, class, or socio-economic status.
I struggle with you,