Status: It's Complicated

Human hands to create a concept of unity
Human hands to create a concept of unity

It's not either, or. It's both, and. It's not this or that. It's this and that. It's not just who and why. It's what now. The pendulum doesn't swing back and forth in extremes. It hovers around and dangles in the complicated middle. It's all inextricably linked. Interwoven. Intersectional. And I don't have to choose a side. I'm all up in it.

The reality is, death is tragic. Murder is horrific. The additional reality is that often only when the "right" people are gravely impacted and pain is heightened because of the power, position ad privilege of those affected, then and only then, are the systems that contribute to the clear underlying dis-ease are disrupted. One truth doesn't make the other false.

I pray that irrational power is arrested so that it isn't met with more irrational desperation. Desperate, hurting, socially neurotic people hurt others. They especially may lash out at their abusers and oppressors. They sadly hurt each other.

Yes, "Black on Black" crime is very wrong. And yet if every black person stops killing another black person, state sanctioned, serial, power-driven murder will still continue. And I believe that the only possible solution is changing the systems that create an incubator and a "greenhouse" for the desperation and depravity manifested as B on B crime. While we rarely hear tales of infighting or internal violence in slavery, the freedom that we got brought no LIBERATION, so as a people we were placed in situations where we imploded. Housing projects like Cabrini Green in Chicago and Techwood Homes in Atlanta were created to corral all the powerless, hurt people in one place. And Hurting people hurt people.

So no it's not right, but its roots go deeper than the expectation that we should treat each other better. In some cases, we have to be treated better to even know better and then be able to do better. We need identity affirmation (developing positive feelings and a sense of belonging to one's social group). It is necessary when a group is subjugated, oppressed and limited in power. To be validated among the majority to know that we do matter.

It is an easy assumption that all lives matter when not ALL lives are being disproportionately impacted by violence, injustice, poorly equipped schools, disparity in criminal "no justice" systems and overt racism. No need to affirm people who are affirmed by their very existence.

And no, identity affirmation DOES NOT CONDONE DEATH. In fact, the opposite is true. But a lack of safety leaves a berated people vulnerable to both explosion and implosion. And such implosion creates internal xenophobia and self-loathing. A lack of a high sense of self does many things to destroy self-worth and the need for survival is expressed in strange ways. One may actually turn on oneself.

I have a theory about Black people who do public victim blaming, rationalizing and express internalized oppression. I have come to this theory after pondering various comments over the past couple of months from people whose opinions I generally respect and with whom I agree on most things.

My theory is that perhaps all the violence, state-sanctioned murder and unbelievable minimization of African Americans' reality and suffering requires that our psyches create some defense mechanism to survive the inundated news and media blasts of domestic terrorism.

And it seems that some of us need to believe that there is some reasonable explanation for it all. That we could actually do something to stop it. Maybe it's like abused children who think "It must be my fault." Or like well-meaning, though dangerous, people who tell abused women," Don't make him upset and then he won't hit you. " I believe there is a collective response-- and in some extremes a deep pathology--as it relates to violence. It's like a collective cognitive dissonance and gaslighting. It's scary. And I'm worried about the "souls of black folk."

I also believe we have to address the trauma that causes us to act out our collective pain by harming each other. Not just so called crimes in our communities. but the lack of support, validation and harm we cause when takes sides against each other. The crime of complicity by silence that occurs Black men aren't vocal and strongly advocating for justice of murdered cis gender and transgender Black women. And the tragedy that exists when ageism creates a damn that dries up the stream of wisdom or vibrant new energy that can flow among young activists and elders. And heteronormativity and the privilege it carries discounts the validity and unique, rich experiences of same gender loving Black sisters and brothers.

It is indeed a tangled web and a mosaic of experiences and even injuries, illness and distresses with many complexities. Status: It's complicated.