Dear OWS: Welcome to Our World
Police brutality experienced by the movement is nothing new in the black community.
During the Occupy Wall Street crackdown a few weeks ago -- when efforts to shut down the Occupy movement hit cities all across the country -- there was a cry of outrage. We read about and witnessed attacks by police on peaceful Occupiers that seemed very foreign to some. The police's blatant disregard for the well-being of the Occupiers shocked and appalled. I saw tweet after tweet express horror and rage.
Especially toward the NYPD.
The NYPD, in its eviction of the Occupiers of Zuccotti Park, had been fairly rough. As I caught a flight out of the city before dawn, I read that early Tuesday morning, people were being pushed and hit during the 1 a.m. raid. Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke on the eviction and appeared callous. Even with the attempted press blackout, the country witnessed the situation and how horrendously it was handled.
By Thursday, as I returned to New York City, I continued to see tweets and blogs about the brutality of the NYPD. Although I absolutely agreed with the sentiments, I had a nagging feeling in my stomach. I couldn't let it go. My inner militant Negro (whom I keep sedated with brunch and Modern Warfare 3) wanted to write in all caps:
"OH, SO THE WHITE MAN GETS HIT AND NOW IT'S AN ISSUE! THE BLACK MAN HAS BEEN BEATEN FOR YEARS! WE DIDN'T LAND ON PLYMOUTH ROCK, PLYMOUTH ROCK LANDED ON US!!"
I knew that wouldn't do anything besides exacerbate the situation, but I wanted to comment on it and reasonably say, "Um ... so there's this ... " I didn't want to take away from the issue of the abuse that the occupiers were receiving, but I wanted to acknowledge the irony of the collective outrage over an issue that's become so commonplace within my community that small children are taught never to disobey a police officer, to quietly go along with whatever is happening in order not to be on the receiving end of abuse.
While the Occupiers were dealing with such abuse, during civil disobedience, communities of color suffer these type of injustices simply because it's Wednesday, and they may look like someone else. That's what happens to us -- and it's accepted as if it were just a day of the week.
Monday, Tuesday, abuse at the hands of police officers, Thursday, Friday ...
So as I hopped on a plane heading back to NYC, I sent out this tweet: