This week, House Bill 14 was introduced into Kentucky legislation. House Bill 14, also known as the Blue Lives Matter Bill, is a direct response and slap in the face to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Blue Lives Matter Bill would make it a hate crime to target first responders simply because of the position of their job. Killing a police officer or firefighter is already a capital offense in Kentucky, punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment, often without the possibly of release or an inmate needing to serve 85% of their sentence. House Bill 14 covers attacking a police officer, firefighter or first responder and I wonder how “attacking” will be defined? Nevertheless, with all the pushback and questions, the bill floated through the House Judiciary Committee and will find itself in the House to be voted on.
I was not surprised in the least bit. Indeed Kentucky always manages to show it true, bluegrass when it comes to any issues that center around oppression. However, what was surprising to me is that many Black people seemed shocked that Democratic State Representative, McKenzie Cantrell voted in favor of House Bill 14.
I was actually stunned that we are still at this point in our fight for justice. I am never surprised when water is wet, fire is hot and ice is cold. Similarly, I am not surprised when a White politician votes for laws that serve to further oppress and victimize People of Color.
Was 53% of White women voting for Trump not enough to convince you?
Some of my fellow fighters in the league of justice must have drunk the Kool-Aid.
Look, anytime someone’s Facebook cover picture is a picture of them surrounded by children of color as if they have just finished a backpacking tour for world peace through Ghana, red flags should go up.
Newsflash, there will be no White Savior.
I know we have been conditioned to believe that some White person, typically with blond hair and blue eyes will come riding in on a horse to somehow relieve us of our oppression, this will not be happening.
There will be no John Smith.
There will be no Jack Sully.
There will be no Kahlessi.
There will be no Katniss Everdeen finding renewed strength in the murder of Rue to avenge The West End, District 11.
If we are going to liberate OURSELVES, the solution must be found IN US! It resides in us. While we can have many allies, there will be no White person to lead this movement. This movement’s bell is tolling and it tolls for us, People of Color.
This movement calls for White people to stand with us, not dominate us. Not swoop in on their white horses, donning a cape and whitewash our causes. This liberation movement is not about photo ops, cute slogans scribbled on cardboard, and tax write-offs. This liberation movement is not so you can say, “Look what I did for ‘those people’”. This liberation movement is not about garnering votes for your political power only to turn your backs on the very people who helped place you in office. This liberation movement is not for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram likes.
No my dear. This liberation movement is pain and sweat and tears. It is using your privilege to benefit others. It is using your political power to fight policies that seek to oppress People of Color. It is using your resources. It is leveraging your power for the least of those. It means lessening so others can be greater. It means listening instead of talking. It means ugly and oftentimes uncomfortable conversations. It means confronting friends, family and loved ones that say racist jokes at the dining room table. It calls for you to stand with us. To be a follower when People of Color lead, find their voices and speak their truths. Giving space for People of Color to voice their hurts and frustrations. To agonize in the face of defeat yet find the strength to get back up again and fight another day.
This liberation movement is not your whitewashed movement. This liberation movement will be Black, fingersnaps, collard greens, afros and multicultural. It will be hijabs, cornrows and pico de gallo. It will be queer, sagging jeans, durags and shea butter.It will be for la raza. It will be David’s psalms, Africa’s drumbeat, Eric Garner’s last words. It will be Nina Simone’s blackbird, Paul Dunbar’s mask. It will be Maya’s knowledge of why the caged bird sings at last and Langston’s raisin in the sun. And when it’s all done, it will be us that stood finding freedom that looks like us and taste like us and smells like us and feels like us!
So continue to fight my people! Buck up! Stand up! And stop being dismayed and surprised when water is wet! What else did you expect?