Being a good nerd, I walked into Ashland’s The Book Exchange looking for one subject and left with a book on a totally different subject. I walked in thinking Marcus Garvey, I left with Dr. King’s 1963 offering, Why We Can’t Wait.
While re-reading Dr. King’s book, I asked myself, “Why are we (current American society) acting brand new on new reports right now? For all intents and purposes, no healing has happened since Dr. King tried. This book is speaking out today!”
And, that hurts. It hurts on levels written language cannot convey. It hurts on levels that I imagine, equals the pain of, those who “disagree” with me. They – whomever they are(?) – are reading their books and saying, “Nothing has changed! This is my present day experience. How can he be speaking to my pain. He’s dead!”
Come Out of the Closet Day
It is not 1968, the year Dr. King was murdered. It is 50 years later and the second annual come out of the closet day for Ku Klux Klan members happens on Sunday, August 12, 2018. It was a small controversy a few months ago when white supremacist groups petitioned for a permit to hold a rally in remembrance of last years’ unmasking in Charlottesville. The program begins sometime around 2 pm inside of Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square. Since a lot of communication is being usurped, rather than directly shared with the media, those of us who are not on the feed have to read between the lines.
Four counter-protest permits were granted to four different groups in response to the Unite the Right Two Rally.
Considering my resume, please do not fault the following exploration against me; I am stretching my limits and seeing where new perspective can lead me, and potentially you. What if we decided to think like Dr. King? How would a Dr. King-style direct action approach the Unite the Right Two Rally in a way we haven’t thought off. Old school methods of supply line disruption.
Are We Choosing to Listen? It is difficult to imagine, let alone confront, the existence of (so-called) White persons who hate other races and cultures becuase those individuals refuse to become “more white”. Their existence means something beyond the mere counting of their existence. The entire experience of Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Administration is the lived reality of racism as the face of America. The actual fact that a large proportion of (so-called) White America continues to make a huge emotional investment into a race-based personal mythology should no longer startle us or cause a freeze in our thinking.
Nor, is it good for you and I to dismiss them.
No, they are not zombies. No, they are not unconscious. No, they are not, not woke.
Please place such judgments in the category of failed ideas. If there is one message the current generation is screaming, under late stage capitalism: Why did you lie to me and say, as an individual, I matter? Judging others by any standard they did not consent towards is no longer a viable option.
(For those who are struggling with developing the quality of compassion, we have exercises for you.)
At some point, we, who identify with the Left and Democratic Socialist ideals, have to accept that our more conservative Brothers and Sisters do not view themselves as demons because they articulate a socioeconomic position we are intellectually in disagreement with them. Nor, do they wish to be treated as if they deserve violence towards them, or a refusal of services at businesses, because of a differing political opinion.
This bears repeating, because our society is set up to make each conflict Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader. (It doesn’t have to be like that.) White Supremacists and Nationalists represent the shadow side of White America that enjoyed the enslavement period. They are the part which did the hard work of enslavement; the poor, white trash. They view themselves as the soil of the country and wonder why society is not working for them, it seems geared to crush them.
That’s not the America Dr. King spoke about it.
Here’s my list of Good the Sunday Rally can do for America.
- The Unite the Right 2 Rally is an opportunity for activists to act like activists and organize their communities. Anger and violence are not sustainable activities. They are short-term expressions to long-term problems. You and I have to organize ourselves to provide the emotional and physical stimulus necessary for our communities to thrive. If young persons exist in our communities who see themselves reflected inside any one of the Unite the Right 2 Rally groups, our job is to develop a closer bond with said young person and attempt to feed them the attention they seek from a more healthy source. Engagement is the response of an activist to such a rally. Who is brave enough to teach?
- The Unite the Right 2 Rally gives the mainstream media an opportunity to guide the national conversation once again along the lines of race and racism among (so-called) White America. I would love for the discussion to move away from the culture of shaming. In high school some teachers sincerely believed the study of The Scarlett Letter was sufficient to teach that shaming is not a useful tool of personal development or a community progressive value. Pundits can take this moment to define the social construct called race and how it entered the American environment: Francis and Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion. Excellently prepared experts, like Dr. Robin DiAngelo, who is on a book tour, can articulate the “condition of whiteness” and how it impact self-image and worldview.
- The Unite the Right 2 Rally gives White Nationalists a platform to amplify their voices and for us to hear what their pain sounds like. Despite what the President appears to say on a daily basis, these very angry young, white males, do not believe their voices are being heard at the national level. This is a way for them to access the bullhorn and speak their Truth.
I like to think I am experienced on facilitating public and private conversations on race and racism. I find these three ideas challenging.
Perhaps, like you, entertaining the idea of the rally possessing any good is estranging. Some distance is desired from the task of looking for what you do not wish to find. For, you know, if you do look for the good, you will find it. Or, that is what arose within me when I thought of doing this exercise.
What are you listening for: the solution or validation of the problem?
May we go beyond intellectual acceptance and apply Dr. King’s medicine to the wounds of America. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing what can be learned on Sunday.
Words by Kokayi Nosakhere, who chooses to spend the majority of his time in search of magnificent minds. If you are one of them, please choose to reach out at royalstar907