With the emergence and dominance of social media in everything we do these days, its easy to attribute all of this to a developing trend since the election of the latest U.S. so-called president, but as easy as it could be to accept that narrative, its not one grounded in reality. And this is true for several very connected reasons. One, this phenomenon of calling the police on Africans for absolutely nothing isn't a strictly U.S. issue. There is data to demonstrate this is happening throughout Europe, Canada, and Australia so this issue cannot be confined within the context of U.S. presidential politics. Secondly, these people are calling the police on us because they wish to exert their power over us and doing so is very effective for them. When the police arrive, its not as if they question the logic of harassing us for occupying space. They typically arrive and react as if we are indeed guilty of breathing without the required permits. And often, despite the absurdity of the accusation, we end up in the back of the police car for the egregious offense of blinking more than once in the presence of white folks.
The third reason interacts with the first two. Despite the appearances, this isn't a new issue. White women, white people, even brown people, have been calling the police on us at the slightest, or even nonexistent, violation as policy for quite some time now. It happens because African people, Indigenous people, all poor people, are criminalized in capitalist societies. The vast majority of Europeans believe the capitalist hype that we are all criminals who are always committing crimes. And, since one of the staples of white supremacist ideology is to convince white people, especially working class white people, that they are still several rungs above us, its imperative that those white people accept their age old and honored responsibility to serve as overseer to ensure the slaves don't organize and revolt. So, whenever an African stops to take a break, shut our eyes, or just wait for the next act on our daily agenda, white people are programmed to view us with suspicion if we are doing anything other than serving their interests.
This process only works because of the premise behind it. Capitalism is built and maintained on exploiting Africa. The forces who benefit from that exploitation realize that it is only a matter of time before we are able to figure out all of our confusions and dysfunctions so that we can organize against them. So, the image of us being criminals, coupled with the historic depictions of Africa as savage, serve to indoctrinate people that we are not to be trusted. So, an African sitting in a Starbucks, walking down the street, shopping in a store, driving a decent car, etc., are all potential crime suspects because its not the alleged "act" that generates the suspicion. Its the fact we exist. That we are here. This is the hard pill for African people to swallow. The reality that in 2018 we are in the exact same condition we were when we plotted a slave revolt outside the master's plantation at midnight in 1700. Understanding this means we cannot be confused into thinking all of this is new. These recent occurrences are no different than Carolyn Donham (and the thousands of white women like her) accusing Emmit Till of rape in 1955. Its no different than the white woman who called the police on me in 1979 when I was just a 17 year old kid playing basketball on a playground. Its all a part of the same process. The job of white people is to protect the plantation from the rebellious slaves. And the role of white women in this is to do what white women have done for hundreds of years. Serve as chief accomplices to white supremacy. There's no escaping the reality that the Ku Klux Klan, motivated by imposed class friction against African workers as a result of the nullification of chattal slavery (and thus the need to start paying Africans something for our labor) when it was created during reconstruction years in the U.S. But, there is also no way to refute the fact that protecting white womanhood was used as the emotion dynamic behind fueling the klan's rise. Instead of rejecting that premise, white women as a whole have always played right into it and they continue to do so today. Although African people have suffered immensely and savagely because of the behaviors of white women for centuries, white women have never sacrificed anything for justice for African people. These are all hard facts.
For white people who claim to be different, your task for addressing this is simple. In each of the instances described as examples here, there were plenty of white people present at the time the Africans were being discriminated against. Although the white people in that Starbucks did appear to offer some protests about what was happening, for the most part, Europeans do nothing when this type of disrespect is being meted out against us. Protests alone are not enough anyway. If you are white and you truly object to this dehumanizing activity against our people, you must get to work. Regular and consistent workshops, seminars, and work study groups for white people on white supremacy. You need to get to work challenging this dominant narrative attacking African people. Doing so is your responsibility and just talking about and/or reposting these videos of our oppression is doing nothing to help the problem. You must decide to construct a movement that confronts this dysfunction by white people in militant and uncompromising fashion. By any means necessary. You have the responsibility to create an environment where this type of behavior by white people is unacceptable by the majority of white people. Clearly, we are a long way from this reality. You'll must get to work. Otherwise stop telling us how progressive you are. We ain't listening.
For us, we have to stop acting like its a travesty of justice when these things happen. Capitalism has no morality or conscience so its foolish for us to keep acting as if it does. Its time for us to wake up from this fantasy where we want this backward capitalist system to be what we wish it was instead of us recognizing it for what it is - a ruthless, backward system that must repress us to ensure its interests. An empire that we must get serious about organizing against if we are ever going to stop this system from brutalizing us. After 500 years if we continue to be surprised that police brutalize us and that we just simply do not have the rights of other people than at a certain point, many of us become accomplices to this oppression. Or as Fanon said, we either fulfill our mission or betray it.
We need to acknowledge that all of these things happening are reflections of what happens in a dying system. The power structure knows its days are limited and its utilizing its most treasured resource - its dominance over the ideology of white working people - to pit everyone against each other so as to ensure that if we are looking at each other, we won't be looking at them. Many of these white women/people calling the police on us are doing it because of their own insecurities and fears. Regardless, its not our responsibility to educate them, as if they would be open to that even if it was. Its our responsibility to liberate ourselves. We cannot do that by attempting a moral argument against a system that possesses no moral capacity. Power doesn't concede anything without a demand. We are going to have fight for our liberty if we are ever going to get it. We are going to have to be prepared to sacrifice and we are going to have to develop the political maturity to deal with the consequences of that. These examples are simply the manifestation of a dying system attempting to preserve itself. That means this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. We are either going to get serious about getting out in front of it and changing the tide or we are going to be swept up by it.