Why would a system want to focus on the results, consequences, outcomes, of a situation and not address the root cause?
I was inspired to go out a couple of weekends ago when it was uncharacteristically warm in the United States’ Northeast region. Go out to get some fresh air and clear my mind, be one with nature. I was in a good mood and had a sense of hope in my step. Right at the beginning of my walk I ran into a friend and asked her how she was doing. This was the question that she needed to hear that morning because in hind sight, she needed to let it out, she needed to let go of this thing that was eating her from the inside out!
My mother has said to me that talking about it helps. She was right. I am now observing the Kwanzaa Principles as a way of life and on this day we were observing the Principle of Umoja. I reminded myself to create a oneness with my friend as she was sharing and as I opined, to see the fellow Black Mother who was speaking to me and sharing a very intimate story about her loved one. She was being vulnerable and I committed to honoring this by seeing and hearing her like I was her. I put myself in her shoes and saw my child as she spoke of hers.
I listened, empathized, shared, comforted, but was left angry and asking myself why our current society and the system that governs it is so inadequate. Why they always focus their resources and attention on the results, consequences, outcomes, of the situation instead of the thing that caused these results, consequences, and outcomes.
My friend, a fellow Black mother…yes, it is important to mention that she is Black because it is because of the color of her skin that this thing that has been eating her from the inside will have different outcomes and repercussions as opposed to a Mother with melanemic skin.
She continues to tell me that her 15 year old son was arrested over the Christmas Holiday for bringing a gun to school. A gun to school! This is the phrase my ears and mind were focused on immediately. “This is not good,” I remember saying to myself. I asked why her son brought the gun to school and she continued to show me a video that had now gone viral, of her son being jumped by a mob of his school mates in the school building!!! Yes, you read right…in the school building where our children are supposed to be safe. The place we all send them to, every morning with the understanding that they will be cared for!
Any jovial energy I had is long gone at this point and I am angry! I am furious! This country, this system of oppression keeps infuriating me even when I know that it was designed to function exactly like this!
She continued to tell me that her son had been jumped twice in juvenile since he was locked up. So, here I am now trying to make sense of this situation. Let’s forget that this is a child who unfortunately got access to a tool of nothing but destruction, let’s forget that this happened over the holiday when it should be a joyful time for all families including Black families as well, let’s forget that this incident happened in school where this Black Boy should have been protected, this system!…the United States system of law enforcement!…saw it just to send a 15 year old child to a place where he would face the same harm he had faced in school!
My brain, like most brains, likes to make sense of things. Please help me understand how this is right! My thinking was that our Black Boy, our child, was harmed in such a way that he was frightened to return to school in case it happened again. He probably feared for his life. I forgot to mention that in the video you see one of his teachers try to stop the fight to not avail. This child of ours was in the fetal position on the floor being kicked indiscriminately from all directions by fellow schoolmates! His teacher could not protect him, the school could not protect him!!!
I can see him sharing this with older friends after school and getting bad advise on how to protect himself next time this happens. Two things here, the fear from being beaten up by a mob of one’s schoolmates with neither the school nor the teachers beings able to protect you, and a young man’s pride being bruised from this public display of humiliation. I can understand why this child, our child, felt the need to protect himself.
My fellow Black Mother continued to tell me that the judge presiding over this case has sworn not to be lenient because he would like to send a message. He, allegedly, is tired of these incidents. The judge happens to be a white man, and yes, this too is important to note! Does he see this child as one of his own? Does he see this young man as a child?
Now, I believe that this system should focus on these issues: Why is it so easy for our children to get access to guns? What laws or policies, or the lack there of, have resulted in this? The National Rifle Association (NRA)…what part do they play in this? Should the court be going after them instead? What about this government which has failed to provide the resources necessary for this school environment to be safe? What about the Color Of Law? Yes, I am referring to Richard Rothstein’s book, The Color of Law, and the revelations made in it. Is this intentionally designed? Has the government made sure to instill policies which will see our Black Boys in jail at the age of 15?
I am disappointed once again, upset, frustrated, angry, infuriated, discouraged, but I will not lose hope! I will not stop fighting for those who look like me, who are being treated as less than human. Yesterday we celebrated Ujima…what happens to one Black Person happens to us all! Our community is at risk Black People!
What will we do about it?
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Nduku Mulumba is a Kenyan born activist, writer, podcaster, and analyst. As a writer and podcaster she covers topics related to Afrika and Afrikans. Nduku is committed to reviving and preserving African culture through her writing and podcasting. She covers a variety of topics related to the Black Community, including neo-colonialism, education, farming, Afrikan languages, Afrikan fashion, among many other topics.