Bob Kroll called Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization. I suppose he is right. To Kroll and his ilk Black Lives Matter must be a terrifying thing. And, you know what, maybe folks need to be terrified.
Today the Department of Justice did what we all knew they would do: declined to press charges in the death of Jamar Clark. That is how the system works. It protects itself. It protects those that it holds dear: rich white men. This press conference comes on the heels of a Grand Jury in Anoka county refusing to indict the officers who shot and killed Michael Kirvelay, who was experiencing a mental health crisis and was asking for help as the police shot and killed him. But this isn’t surprising. This is the system. If you do not fit the mold. If you don’t further the goal of producing profits for the elite then you are disposable. This is the fundamental truth of our system. In fact this is the cornerstone of our faux democracy.
You do not have to be a historian to identify the rhetorical acrobatics and contorted worldviews we have concocted to justify our exploitation, or downright disposal of, those we simply find unworthy. Whether you live in the ghetto, which federal housing policies created to corral people of color until it’s their turn to feed the machine that is the prison industrial complex, or you are the working class white kid serving in the infantry in the name of some freedom that you have never touched or tasted, the system couldn’t care less about you. More and more people are starting to wake up to this reality. One simple and admittedly problematic manifestation of this awakening is the rise of Bernie Sanders. Even if you don’t #FeeltheBern there is an undeniable shift in our collective consciousness. And if you are Bob Kroll that is terrifying.
In the face of this shift we are faced with three options: 1) cling to the illusion that the system is salvageable and continue to make band-aid reforms hiding behind the liberal lies of colorblindness and a post racial society. If this doesn’t appeal to us we can 2) join the forces of Trump and “Make America Great Again.” At least this is a more honest approach than many liberals are willing to take. Or, 3) we can get with the program and disavow the system and all its manifestations. That means embracing intersectionality and understanding that race, class, gender, orientation, religion and every other identity marker makes a difference in how we experience this life. More than that privilege in one doesn’t exclude oppression in an other, and vice versa. We must be clear that our division is in service of whiteness, of capitalism, of heteronormativity, of abelism, of Islamaphobia because if it is in service of one, ultimately, it is in service of them all. That is how the system works. When we are clear, when we are united, the system cannot function. That must be terrifying.
It is time for it to be terrified. With a world on the verge of catastrophic climate change, when 62 individuals own more than half the worlds population (3.5 billion people), when sexual assaults are so expected from young men that we spend more energy teaching women not be raped than teaching men how to be… human, when the police kill an unarmed person of color once every 28 hours, it is time to terrify the system.
Bob Kroll is right, Black Lives Matter is a threat to the system, and he should be terrified. Black Lives Matter is the most visible symbol of the new age which is upon us. Everyday more and more people are waking up to the injustice of the system and the role of police in protecting that system. Everyday more teachers are telling the truth. Everyday more young people are making their voices heard. Everyday more people are standing up to the terror which the system has been inflicting since its inception. For Bob Kroll that is terrifying. And that is a good thing.