Injustice of the Peace

But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.

“The Other America”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These words from Reverend King have been sticking with me a lot lately as I witness our daily dosages of injustice porn.

Police violence and lack of accountability. Trump’s presidency. White Supremacy of various forms stepping out from the shadows and onto our streets. The President’s response to “violence from all sides”.

If justice is out of reach through sanctioned means, then the only hope for justice is to take justice in your own hands.

It can start small. Angry phone calls to Chase bank who intentionally re-ordered your transactions in order to charge you the overdraft fee.

Another to Wells Fargo for signing you up for extra accounts when you were trying to get a hold of the person who was supposed to help with getting your mortgage under control but instead left the company and was seemingly never replaced.

Honking at the asshole who tried to drive through you when he went straight in the right turn lane.

Calling the chief of police to find out what steps would be taken against the officer who murdered a young man from the neighborhood.

Different people have different tolerances for intolerance.

Think of it like allergies. Some people are allergic to cats at a young age. Others have no issues with cats until they acquire it at a later age, which is often caused by either a more frequent or larger exposure.

Allergies can also vary in severity. Itchiness, rashs, eyes watering, anaphylaxis, or even death.

People’s reactions to intolerance can vary as well. A similar undeserved traffic stop may cause one man to be excessively cautious, another to get mad, and a woman to go public.

The language of the unheard.

So are they not talking? Or is society not listening?

Well, Colin Kaepernick is talking. Are we listening? How many of our citizens do you think understand his reasoning? Or why he initially chose to sit and what made him switch to taking a knee? Do we hear the responses from fans telling him and other protesting players that they should be quiet and “grateful” for what they have, as if they didn’t earn what they’ve achieved?

The protesters are talking. Do you hear an understanding public? Or do you see people threatening their lives?

The rioters are talking. They have a lot to say as well with their actions. The rioters are those who have been pushed further than others, or just had a lower tolerance in the first place. Do we hear them? Or do we just use them as a bludgeon to attempt to demonize all those who have not yet become that angry.

Some are angry enough to kill. These are the ones who become the focus of white rage. The reason for the existing fear. The justification for the hate.

This is merely the beginning.

Without a significant change it’ll get far worse. Deaths on both sides amplifying each other. Two sides trying to get the upper hand on the other, convinced they are right and the other side is wrong. Latching onto each piece of evidence to prove or disprove minor points in the other’s side, as if each side was correct in it’s entirety, or not at all.

By all means, condemn violence. I do. But you cannot condemn the violence while ignoring the cause if your goal is justice. You’re only fooling yourself if you think we will have harmony without justice.