What I want to Say to William Jefferson Clinton
Re: Your comments toward Black Lives Matter (BLM) defending Murderers and Drug Dealers.
You are right. And You are wrong. Let me explain.
BLM is indeed defending the people you call “murderers” and “drug dealers” (a racist assumption as you imagine that only Black people can be criminals). All Black Lives Matter, all of them, including those who have committed crimes against others, those who have been perceived to commit crimes, those who have not committed crimes but have been wrongfully convicted. Unlike you, who was once the leader of the ‘Free World’ and supposed defender of Human Rights, BLM understands that all life, including Black Ones, has intrinsic value and must be treated with human dignity and have inalienable rights, a tenant in our beloved constitution. Unlike you, BLM understands that is was a complex system and constructed conditions, much of which you are complicit in and directly responsible for, and by extension your life partner whom is now running for president, Hillary Clinton, by your “Tough on Crime” legislation and perpetuation of mass incarceration (see “The New Jim Crow”), all of which are also a product of a racist, sexist, and colonial legacy, made possible an ecology where Black Men, Women, Children, and LGBTQ Persons, have fallen into a vicious cycle of violence, and have a social infrastructure so volatile that sometimes the only means of survival is to be a “drug dealer” or to commit crime or to be treated as such, for let us not forget you can do everything right as a Black Person, even be a Black Child, and be seen as a monster and be murdered, with those murderers walking free and breathing easy. Yes, you best believe BLM is defending these lives, because these lives are not only “criminal”, they are not only murderers and drug dealers, they are not only a single moment, or a series of moments, where the law, unequal, has been dealt to give these individuals the title of “criminal”. They are people, to whom we must address the root of their crimes, to rehabilitate, to have them engage in paying a debt to those they have caused harm to. We have failed so many of these “criminals” before they even hurt society, before they murdered, before they dealt underhand deals. Instead of trying to find justice, we have continued in our tradition of injustice, we have built a temple where we crippled their soul even further, sending them to an abyss where it now seems impossible that they can achieve, in the eyes of all, the status of human, a status that wasn’t afforded to many of them even before we put them behind bars and threw away the keys. You, Sir, created a system where we enact an unforgivable violence against Black Lives. We torture these ‘Criminals’ via incarceration, solitary confinement, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, the over policing of impoverished communities of color, the separation of families, the destruction of opportunities to education and vocation, and countless other sins to which the blood of those bodies flows infinitely from your veins. Every life is worth defending, including those of criminals.
However, there are also those lives that I do deem unforgivable and have for 500 years gone unpunished, those lives BLM does not defend.
This is how you are also wrong. BLM does not defend the lives of murderers and drug dealers. We do not defend Columbus, the Conquistadors, your Ancestors who crossed the sea on the Mayflower, and the countless other White Bodies that crossed the sea, that killed, raped, ravaged, pillaged, committed genocide, and colonized the Indigenous lands to which you and I call home. We do not defend those murderers, we do not defend our founders or Cecile Rhodes or Andrew Jackson or Ronald Reagon, all who have blood on their hands as the commanders of armies, armies who also fell victim to your bloodlust to expand empire, armies you tricked into service many times over as you were strategic to recruit not the sons and daughters of all, but the sons and daughters of those who could see no other option – but I will not ponder those choices here, that is for another time. BLM does not defend the real drug dealers, like the Nixon administration (and those who followed) who planted crack cocaine in Black communities and created imbalanced punitive laws that punished the poor more harshly than the rich, and those lines were drawn with race in mind. We do not defend those who profit from the Drug War that has killed hundreds of thousands, displaced millions, and have been the cause of so much strife across the most marginalized in the Americas. We do not defend those whose sins has led to the conditions that have made possible for those who you deem to be murderers and drug dealers even possible.
We do not defend the lives responsible for all of this violence and pain.
You are right and you are wrong.
Black Lives Matter, including those who are “Criminal” and are “Drug Dealers”. Black Lives Matter, and we will defend them, to undo the injustices that you committed against them, to ensure the violence you perpetuated may one day end.