Sunday, March 25, 2007

Welcome to Black Justice

Black justice can easily be thought to be a damning tautology, a phrase that in its “descriptive” redundancy implicitly illustrates the violent history and legacy of racial discrimination and exploitation around the world. No one in any society would argue that the ideal, moral state of humanity associated with a just world is one that should not be achieved by all peoples. Yet, human beings are socialized to think of black justice as somehow outside the realm of a justice worthy of realization. How is that which is “black” able to arise so much unwarranted action just from its essence? When one sees a black person, they think criminal; when one hears of a "black" program, they think it's racist. As black people, what are we to do?

The majority of contemporary society’s racism hides in latent form behind that which we fought for: political legislation and liberal theories of multiculturalism. Now, as these forces declare “equality under the law”, American people too continually conflate political liberty with equality of opportunity, and those of us who see race and class as inextricably linked, who recognize the harmful economic and psychological toll slavery and segregation had on black Americans, who see the necessity in attacking oppression from a racial dimension, are demonized. Justice is not for black people when we declare that it is for us; Western liberalism loves equality too much to allow it. When thinking that we are/were victims of white supremacy, souls colonized on our own land exploited by foreigners, oppressed men and women who have had to fight cultural abasement, who would argue that justice was not doing its job if it solely remedied our plight? Instead, our culture has been attacked and our people killed, but the sloth-like hand of justice aches as it presents us with a band-aid.

What we need is real justice. Black justice, if I must specify. Justice is, if for any people, for black people, so with the redundancy of black justice we have justice for black people achieved in a “black” way. This is the only way we can truly take control over our identities, our culture, our history, and our future. Blackness is our consciousness, our authentic, seemingly quixotic pursuit for true peace, peace as Martin Luther King Jr. described it: “Peace is not the absence of war; it is the presence of justice.” So black people, people who see themselves as black not because they cannot get a cab in NYC, but as black because they love their culture and their struggle; black people, let us affirm what true blackness is and take pride in this moment in all its ephemerality. For one day, when we have achieved our justice, we will be able to lower our shield and accept those who choose to enter our colorless arms.