Updated: Nov 9, 2020
“The cultish obsession with non-violence in the u.s. has blood on its hands and has contributed to the sorry state of affairs today. It's a tactic, not a religion. Non-Violence sure feels real good but has failed to address the unresolved questions of racism, white supremacy and empire. While you are out saving ppl with your justice, they are looking for their own and it ain't pretty but it is dignified.” David Mitchell
Ernesto Todd Mireles, Ph.D.
La Xicanada Blog
As a nation “America” fetishizes the deaths of black and brown people within its founding myths. The extinction of the noble savage, the unrelenting miseries of slavery are stories retold in our education system not as apologies, but as formative warnings to generation after generation of our Black and Brown children.
The murder of George Floyd by killer kop Derek Chauvin and his three accessories this past week in Minneapolis in the wake of the brutal killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery all within a month, all law enforcement related along with the caging of children separated from the parents are daily reminders of a precarious position; warnings to Black and Indigenous folk to mind their manners – or die.
So all you out there saying violence never solves anything please stop saying that. Literally, violence solves things all the time, ALL THE TIME. This lie makes the political situation in this country worse by setting an unachievable standard of behavior for those who endure that violence while simultaneously setting a double victimization that reeks of racism, misogyny, and homophobia.
This double victimization tells those who are literally fighting for their lives they do not have the right to defend their lives. That the "high road" of self-extinction is the right one, allow yourself to die, be beaten, raped, exploited, shoved back in the closet - just do not ever fight back or “riot” or “loot” because that is WRONG. There is no way to reconcile the racism of US colonialism with the notion black and brown lives have value because for that to be true settler colonialism would have to end, and does not seem like any of us are going to pray our way to that finish line.
‘Peace serves the oppressor, defends the status quo and protects the settler. Heightening contradictions and exposing irreconcilable differences is where social change happens. The time has long passed for oppressed people in this country to be held to a different standard of responsible behavior internally or externally. Black and Brown communities through political, cultural and economic nationalization can create our own standards of behavior and acceptable political response to this nightmare.
Regardless of the current picture on your video screen the loss of life, destruction of property, and well-being is disproportionately visited on people of color in the country and has been since it’s founding. I also think that all public violence and where it is inflicted is for the most part completely out of our control as 99.9 percent comes from the State. Anyone that fears the sight of the police, whose blood runs cold when they are pulled over, is passed over for a job because of their name or accent. This is the violence of colonialism; we are all going through it all the time.
Xicanos cannot oppose the system that imprisons them if they have no idea of how the power of that system is arranged. We fail to understand the racism we endure is not a simple mindless exercise of impersonal systems or personal whims but a systematic ongoing five-century exploitation that has left countless millions politically and economically dead and disenfranchised. It is the intentionality of that abuse and neglect, which overwhelms the senses, overwhelms the “rational” mind and forces Xicanos/Indigenous people to constantly subject ours hearts and psyches to overwhelming feelings of worthlessness brought on by those centuries long subjection to European hegemony.
In condemning the “riots” many have asked, “Can true social change really come from chaos and anarchy?” Ask the Natives who fought the Spanish, the natives who fought the English, ask the captured Africans who survived the middle passage and whose descendants to this day die in the street with a literal boot on their neck. Indigenous and Black communities in the Americas have survived continuous, centuries long “social change” so normalized is the oppression that these rare moments of physical resistance are considered shocking anomalies because if they were placed within a legitimate continuum of resistance it would indict a growing movement to end settler colonialism. By necessity riots must be illegitimate since that illegitimacy is one more way of removing the tool of physical resistance from our anti-colonial toolbox.
The above question is founded in failure. It fails to realize our current situation is already chaos and anarchy for whole groups of people. If simply based on your appearance you have a reasonable expectation any interaction with law enforcement (for example) could end with your death and no repercussions to your murderer - how is that not chaos and anarchy?
The Xicano/Indigenous community has been forced through economic and physical colonization to rely on and accept the political dominance of the colonial system. To accept the idea that the wrongs forced on us as a people will correct themselves if we trust in the democratic process of the settler and allow the rule of law to correct itself incrementally has proven untrue. What is not taken into account in this version of “benevolent” settle colonialism is the necessity of direct intervention as the actual democratic change agent implemented, in the case, by the colonized in the change process.
Democracy, at least on paper, is a political system of direct citizen participation. Because of this “participation,” we forget our current system is set up to accept and absorb a certain amount of direct action because without the pressure of dissent the discourse of equality within democracy flounders. So all you boohooing about the “riots” fail to realize this one thing.
These moments of mass rebellion are the closet thing to true democracy we have. The people are literally speaking – one person, one vote – careful what you ask for, you just might get it. Do you hear that annoying voice of bourgeois respectability in the back of the gallery shouting, “this is what voting is for” HOW CONVIENENT IN A MOMENT WHEN EVERYONE IS URGED TO PARTICIPATE OR GIVE UP THEIR RIGHT TO COMPLAIN SOMEONE ELSE ALWAYS GETS TO DECIDE WHAT LEGITIMATE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION LOOKS LIKE. This hypocrisy infects every level of the United States where the conflation of capitalism and democracy fosters even greater obstacles for the poor and marginalized in terms of participation, and assumed equality.
The time has passed for others to tell Xicanos/Indigenous people how to practice our politics or that the latest choice of white neo liberal saviors are “better” than the alternative of taking our political destiny in our own hands, in our own streets. It is time to create an alternative that reflects our hopes and aspirations.