My intention was to enter a blog post about our experience serving the homeless this past weekend. I wanted to talk about a simple gesture among friends that had turned into an incredible experience for all of us that were involved; but as I sat on the couch last night and watched a city burn in the name of “Justice”, so many thoughts bombarded my mind. There were too many words, too many emotions, and too many questions to leave them ignored and unanswered.
Anger is, at its core, a weakening mechanism. It impedes our ability to process information, to properly organize, and to think clearly. Martin Luther King Jr.’s strategy of non-violence was not as much about being non-violent as it was about not being overtaken by the disease of anger. How do you get people angry? You make them feel marginalized and threatened. You leave them impoverished and uneducated and press upon them, through the use of the proverbial “hand of the law”, a sense of constant injustice. Then, you murder their kids in the street and make them watch as nothing is done to the murderers. Finally, you set the stage. You use media to build anticipation for months, of a decision that everyone already expects. You announce that decision on national TV in front of the world at 8pm on a cold, dark night. Then you sit back and watch the people implode upon their own neighborhoods and neighbors.
Hopefully you read through that last paragraph carefully and hopefully you will pay even closer attention to what I’m about to say. This strategy can only be 100% successful with the unconscious, and sometimes conscious, cooperation of the very people who are being victimized. Cooperation comes in many forms. In this case, there are a plethora of forms. A lack of knowledge and an unwillingness to learn, a lack of leadership and organization, a lack of initiative and spiritual guidance, and the inability to overcome anger for the sake of keeping all of our faculties. In other words, we have lost our righteous minds.
Ferguson is an example of how you can be in a fight and get distracted by the “off-hand”, when the other hand is the one doing the punching and thus causing all of the damage. One of the tragedies in the Mike Brown case is that we think that it’s just about the case when there is a larger picture that looms over our heads. Distraction is a worthy opponent and our level of distraction as a society is at an all-time high.
We harken back to the “good ole days”, when we had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and for some even Huey P. Newton. What we fail to realize is, although the fight might be similar, the opponent’s tactics have changed and evolved. So as we look back for ideas as to how we should proceed in this constant race for respect and justice, we have to change and evolve our tactics. Our communities are unaware, which leaves us in a perpetual state of reaction. We find ourselves at effect of whats going on around us and never take a substantial stance in which we are provoked by an initiative that comes from within us.
We must fix the family and we have to begin teaching our kids in fundamentally different ways. The days of sending them to school to learn how to be trained for a job is over. Its time to teach them creative thinking and leadership skills. Its time to build a curriculum around their God-given gifts and allow their purpose to propel them out of their situation and empower them to uplift their communities. We have to finally wrap our minds around the fact that success is not a solo act. Communities prosper through the concentrated efforts of many on a consistent basis. We must stop swinging blindly at the dark or screaming at it to lighten up. We have to strategize and illuminate this world for ourselves.
If there is something to be gained from the tragic events of last night and the past few months in Ferguson, MO; it’s that people have less chance to exude IGNOR-ANCE as to the state that our country is in. With all of the social media and reality TV non-sense, I was actually inspired by some posts last night and I’m gonna share some of them here with you.
Anger is a fuel that burns fast and furious. What happens when the anger burns out. What fuel will we use then to sustain the cause of justice and peace?
Justin Jamar ~ @OneJustinJamar ~ The Elevation Project