“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Fredrick Douglass

The empty echos of Law and Order’s machismo epitaphs are alive again.  These tyrannical schemes face the demands of demonstration, civil disobedience, and protest (93% of which are Peaceful). Unfortunately, some violence has broken out. These tyrannical schemes are as old and tired as the intended result. The oppression of the marginalized and social movements’ death is the actual intent of this meme. So-called Law and Order reasoning often ends in anything but Law and Order.

The Law and Order message has reinvented itself using different actors and settings throughout American history. 

 “At the close of the French and Indian War in 1763, Parliament began passing a series of acts prohibiting settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, suspending disobedient colonial legislatures, and heavily taxing American subjects with the intention of cracking down on “obstinate, undutiful, and ungovernable” colonists. The acts sparked open rebellion and eventual independence.”

Long Reads: The Bitter History of Law and Order in America. 

 In the Lyndon Johnson Administration, there was much civil unrest culminating in the aftermath of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, history points to The Great Society. There are many accolades associated with all of the watershed legislation. At that time, a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission advised the Administration to invest more in housing, schools, social programs, etc.

In conclusion, it determined the following: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, and one white—separate and unequal.” It also placed blame for urban ills on “white racism.” The report asserted, “What white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto,” adding, “White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.” 

The Administration increased policing, surveillance, and incarceration. The war on crime started with The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act provided for militarized local police departments. The slippery slope to a police state was well underway. The Federal Government of future administrations incentivized states to build more prisons.

America finds itself reaping of the fruits in the 21st century. The Law and Order meme leaves this country with black bodies slane and maimed. The “broken record” of Modern-day lynchings requires a demand to force the conversation but not only in words but also in a “More Perfect Union“. The failed Great Society never fully materialized for people of color; therefore, America must endure an unacceptable society. 

As appalling as it seems, the whole subject of systemic racism is still up for debate. Denial manifest through comments such as “we have come so far, I have worked hard for what I have, I don’t understand why they are so angry, I never owned slaves, Slavery was so long ago, If they obeyed the law, they wouldn’t have these problems.” 

The fact of the matter is this: Systemic racism is in the DNA of America. To put it more simply, it is the figurative power grid that lights homes, powers appliances, cools the indoors on hot summer days, and energizes the communication of the cyberworld. All partake of its benefits, whether admittedly or not. 

Then comes the puzzle of the marginalized (ignored and pushed to the outside of the group). On the outside, it remains dark, hot with no conveniences or communication

Ironically, during the COVID 19 crisis that disproportionately affected African Americans and people of color, many of this demographic are essential workers. They do not have the luxury of working from the air-conditioned, well-lit, convenient, cyberworld connected homes. 

People can close their curtains as though the marginalized do not exist. However, their cries are audible and real. The shrill screams of the night are left empty unless all exercise their right to vote and place the demand that America’s power grid must open to all.

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

 

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