I've been struggling with what to say in the wake and aftermath of the attacks in Beruit, Paris, Nigeria, and this morning, Mali. I've been watching what's taking place in Minneapolis as a community demands answers and justice for Jamar Clark and are met instead with a miltitarized police force, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and refusal. I've heard the deafening shrill of hate and xenophobia towards Muslims. I've read comment after comment, heard remark after remark from elected officials and fellow citizens, from Christians declaring a need to turn our backs on refugees from Syria. Last night, I read, in disbelief, the names of all who voted to ban Syrian refugees and withdraw aid. I sat reading it in stunned silence not knowing how to even respond to it.
I've been paying attention to all that's going on. I'm woke, but I don't know how to respond to what I'm seeing unfold every day. Words fail me, paint fails me. So I've just been quiet.
But today I will tell you this: after all that's happened to Black & Brown lives over the last few years and after all of the racist, xenophobic hate and cowardice I've seen from our elected officials, presidential candidates, and US this past week alone? I'm far, far more terrified of Americans (and culture warring, refugee rejecting Christians) than I will ever be of terrorists.
Why? Because White supremacy, fragility and privilege? That's terrorism. Racism? Terrorism. We're living with it and dying from it every day. EVERY. DAY. Hate towards Muslims? That's terrorism. Rejecting refugees to "protect" yourself? That's terrorism. No gun control-the fact that it's easier for someone to get a gun than it is for refugees to actually get into this country or gain asylum? Terrorism. Forcing your beliefs & ideologies on others who are and live differently than you? That's terrorism. The mindset and power structures that support and enable Donald Trump and Ben Carson to be GOP front runners for the presidency of the United States, a country of refugees, immigrants, indigenous people and former enslaved people? Terrorism. Caring more about an ideology than you do about people, about their humanity? That's terrorism. White men plotting to bomb Black churches? Terrorism. White men shooting up Black churches, movie theaters, malls...those are terrorists.
We really want to pretend that we're any better or so far removed from what a terrorist thinks & believes. We want to look at them and then look at us and self-righteously boast to ourselves and to the world that we're different.That we would never resort to such heinous and soul-less violence or beliefs. We talk about wanting to defeat terrorism, but adamantly refuse to start with killing it in ourselves, and within our own society.
Instead we purposefully allow fear and hate to seize us and and enable us to do exactly what terrorists hope and plan for when they carry out these attacks: foster an environment they can continue to thrive in. Everyone's talking about destroying the enemy like we aren't our worst one. Like WE are not the actual threat.
News flash: We ARE the threat.
This week has been proof of that. This year has been proof of it. Our history has been. We've been here before and we're failing to once again do the work that could keep us from coming here again in the future. I'm desperately hoping we eventually show History that we've learned from it. Until then I'm just stuck here grieving that we haven't.