|Portland, Maine Nov. 25, 2014|
People are fed up with racist policing. Mothers like Collette Flanagan who have lost their sons to abusive police repeat offenders are fed up and will march on Washington to demand justice. The National Bar Association is fed up with abuse of the grand jury system to protect racist police officers and is calling for federal prosecution of Wilson. Amen to that.
People fed up with abuse at the hands of unaccountable police force overthrew the regimes in Tunisia and in Egypt. The fact that they are back under the thumb of violent, oppressive governance following their Arab spring does not change the fact that once people have lost the will to continue being oppressed, they are a powerful force.
Rioting is the language of voiceless, so it is said. History tends to support this view.
|WCSH Channel 6 t.v. news covered both the 5pm rally and the 9pm rally and march|
As we left my friend's house to walk to Monument Square, we passed two young boys on the street. They seemed to be about twelve years old. One was black and one was brown, possibly Latino. He smiled broadly and said, "That's right!" as he gave me two thumbs up. That made my tiredness vanish and I felt glad to be there.
Many more people affirmed the message: by honking, by thanking me, by affirmative replies like, "Yes, they do!"
Two college students fell into step along with us and reported the conversations that had erupted at their schools after the Ferguson grand jury fail. One of the young women was white, the other of east Indian descent. She said her schoolmates don't get that racism still exists. I said, "Because. Obama." and they erupted with laughter. They were excited that we were headed to a rally and they joined us, taking over our "Justice for Mike Brown" sign while Pat distributed candles.
Portland is very white for a city; it's far north, and even its large African diaspora populations from Somalia and Sudan don't move the demographic needle much toward diversity. Many of the white winos and junkies hanging in doorways reacted as we went by with the signs, too. More than one of them said petulantly, "White lives matter, too" or "All lives matter."
The power of false dichotomy is really phenomenal. Black men are 2.6 times more likely to die at the hands of police than are white men in Portland, Maine according to former ACLU director and senatorial candidate Shenna Bellows' remarks last night around 9:30pm in Monument Square. It's a national problem. But if I carry a sign saying their lives matter, I'm presumed to be saying white lives don't. Such is the power of propaganda which from infancy pushes consumers in the USA to pick a team and root for it.
If you're on the white ally team, here are some meaningful things you can do right now. And here's a link to sign the NAACP's petition demanding federal prosecution of Darren Wilson. Because. Ferguson.