|poster at Seattle's 11/24 protest march in solidarity with Ferguson|
In no way am I grateful to live in America. This is Babylon, an empire built on stolen native land and stolen black lives. If I learned one thing from the Bible, it's that praying prayers of thanksgiving to Babylon is an evil ritual. If we want to sincerely chant "black lives matter" then we cannot turn around and give thanks for a social order that requires the daily human sacrifice of black people at the hands of police, prison guards, and vigilantes.
I AM thankful for everyone who has taught me not to fear moments of black rebellion like this one, everyone who has helped me embrace the love and life within angry crowds from Ferguson to Seattle.
I'm thankful for the life experiences that taught me whiteness is a historic dead end, a life of privileged alienation, a slow suicide in an isolated golden jail cell built upon slaughtered black and brown bodies. Inside that jail cell, we are facing despair, anxiety, and depression, ripping apart the last remaining social bonds among us in the name of capitalist individualism. I'm thankful that I reached a point where I could no longer go on living as a "normal" white man, a point where I had to reach out in order to keep going.
White people are expected to act as prison guards over the rest of humanity, keeping everyone in check, while our own white capitalist masters keep us in check and make sure we return safely to our lonely cells at night. Of course I acknowledge my white privilege, but I refuse to give thanks for it. It is a set of golden handcuffs holding us and everyone else back from overthrowing this system. We should welcome the moment when it is broken open in rebellion.
I'm thankful for friends who have given me the confidence to fight for my own liberation, and the knowledge this is only possible if black people, indigenous people, asian peoples, and all oppressed people fight for their own by any means necessary.
White liberals don't want to admit that Black people rising up may make it impossible for us to go on living the way we are, in our relatively posh cells under the careful watch of Babylon's guard towers. But it's become clear to me that if we go on living this way we'll destroy ourselves and the planet anyway.
So Black rebellion is good news to all of us who are already seen by other white people as dysfunctional, crazy, broken, disabled, queer, or too rough around the edges. By destabilizing white normalcy, Black rebels are opening up space for us all to get free and to live differently.
We should be thankful for that, and we should show our thankfulness by acting in solidarity with all of the Black folks who are putting their lives on the line right now. Perhaps we can even open up new fronts in the movement against Babylon by struggling for our own freedom, wherever we are. The empire may not have enough pigs to contain us all.