I woke up this morning to this headline: Maine has passed a law making it legal to carry a concealed weapon without needing a federal permit. While our prisons continue to swell with Black bodies, many of whom are there for weapon possession, I can’t help but read headlines like this and wonder if white people are getting ready for something. They clearly feel an that an imminent threat is looming, and I have one guess as to whom that imminent threat is. As law enforcement continues to kill young Black men, while locking up those who do manage to escape their bullets. As I look at white protestors storming state houses…

I woke up this morning to this headline: Maine has passed a law making it legal to carry a concealed weapon without needing a federal permit.

While our prisons continue to swell with Black bodies, many of whom are there for weapon possession, I can’t help but read headlines like this and wonder if white people are getting ready for something. They clearly feel an that an imminent threat is looming, and I have one guess as to whom that imminent threat is. As law enforcement continues to kill young Black men, while locking up those who do manage to escape their bullets. As I look at white protestors storming state houses demanding that their precious and racist Confederate flag be allowed to wave. As I hear an actual presidential candidate call an entire nation of POC humans rapists. As I read that textbooks in Texas are being written that downplay slavery and minimize the existence and extremity of the KKK. As I watch Black churches burn and hear the news talk about wires and bad construction, instead of what we all know to be true. Bad construction? Yes. The horrifically horrible way this country was built on the backs of brown skin that never asked to be here, and our now trapped in a nation that promised to never love them. When I see all of these factors laid out in front of me, I can’t help but wonder if an agenda is at play.

The thing is, unlike a conspiracy theory, this “agenda” is a system. It is a reality. Black skin in this country is thought of by whites as the lowest form of trade and payment. We are dispensable bodies, able enough to work, able enough to serve, but never equal enough to speak our minds in the way white people always have. An angry white man is politician. He is a banker, a lawyer, a journalist, a president. He can carry gun. He can voice his opinions no matter how loud and is entitled to a microphone. The constitution was constructed for and by him. It his pulpit. No matter how hard Black voices try and compete they aren’t even in the audience. He has pushed us behind the auditorium doors. We are the deaf and blind porters who are there to pick up the messes he may make, while saying nothing about how he oppresses us. This is America.

Even the God that so many of us pray to, that God is not the same as the one our ancestors called upon. The system has worked so well, that even though we have adopted their hymns, their psalms, and their prayers, our churches are the ones targeted and burned to the ground. Much like the villages of our great great great grandparents. Whether it be gun fire, arson, or the lit torches of the KKK, we as Black people have always been met with flame. Meant to burn our skin, and set fear into our hearts. Meant to erase our past, and remind us that even if we build the fire can back and burn it all down.

How do we extinguish all of these flames that are burning? How do we not rebel and take violent action, but instead fight this system of intense heat. Of intense hatred? How do we reach our allies? How do we connect with who we were? Before all of this, before the ships came and took us away. Back to a time when we were truly free. I’m not sure I know. And that is the scariest part of this whole thing.

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Fighting Fire