Kathy Kelly reflects on weapons and systems white people use to protect their white privilege, recalling that Dr. King likened U.S. wars to "some demonic destructive suction tube."
In her poem, "The Revolution Will Rhyme," Buffalo Black Lives Matter activist Jillian Hanesworth writes about the movement for change we now see sweeping across the world.
"It will not be developed just to be displaced
Its focus will not be extracted and refocused or repurposeds
And the burden of education and comfort will not be placed on the oppressed
While understanding and tolerance is gifted to the oppressor
You will not be able to binge watch the revolution
Rewinding the comfortable triumphs and fast forwarding through the hurt"
In strong, confident language, fueled by recognition of hurts and atrocities, Hanesworth calls on white people to ask themselves uncomfortable questions. How does our white privilege contribute to racism and oppression? How can we use our privilege to bring about systemic change?
Mindful not to re-purpose or refocus Jillian's words, I think we must move forward, urgently, to tackle systemic change. We must use our white privilege to insist on and secure decent schools, health care, housing and human rights, especially for those who've been most harmed by racial disparities and economic inequalities in the United States.
Where are the resources, the funding, to do this? I think it's important to examine the so-called security U.S. people purchase through funding the U.S. military and demand redirection of these resources. Money entrusted to the Pentagon and a vast array of military contractors must be spent to meet human needs.
Maybe this series of questions could help. Could I ever imagine myself paying for materials to assemble Molotov Cocktails for use as weapons amid a conflict? Could I ever imagine myself funding a group of people known for burning residential areas? At a magnitude incalculably greater than purchasing materials for Molotov Cocktails, or burning one urban residential area, U.S. taxpayers fund weapons used to wage gruesome wars of choice in far-away places where civilians struggle with every-day hunger, thirst, and displacement.
Condemn arson? Yes, but scale up and whisper: Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Baghdad.
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