All the cops involved in George Floyd’s murder have been criminally charged and in a strange way, that’s frightening. It’s scary because charges tend not to lead to convictions, for cops. On a deeper level, however, Black people must think of the “what if” scenario: should they all be convicted and serve jail time, Black infant mortality will still be higher than that of whites, Black homeownership and wealth will still severely lag behind whites and so on. The conviction of four cops in Minneapolis can’t be all we want out of this; we must change the basic order of society and that won’t happen with one week of protests.
Black people largely labor and produce for the benefit of whites, a fact that has remain unchanged since the days of chattel slavery. Black athletes are well compensated but work for white owners and depend on white leagues, to make a living. Black entertainers are in the same position, requiring network executives to green light their projects. Black entrepreneurs largely depend on white financial institutions and other non-Black manufacturers to provide their products to customers. The death of Black people at the hands of police is but a symptom of a much larger issue and that is the subservience of Black people in this American society. It must change and to do so, Black people must accept the notion that liberation, power and self determination will not be achieved without a steadfast commitment to inconvenience.
Black people must focus on building and maintaining strong institutions for our protection and advancement. Every single thing Black people need or desire, Black people must own and produce. If Black people need underwear, they must produce it. If Black people need bottled water, schools, hospitals or groceries, Black people must provide it all. The conviction of four cops in Minneapolis will not result in Black people having any of those things and without them, this society will still be structured to subject Black people to the terror of subservience. Black people, until they have strong, independent institutions, will always labor for whites and be subject to mistreatment, without recourse. Black people, without their own stores, will be left without bread after a riot and to beg their oppressors to rebuild so that they can buy goods. Convicting four cops will not change the power dynamics; changing them will require a great deal of sacrifice and a blind commitment to all things Black.
Black people must pour all of their love, resources and time into their own institutions. It doesn’t matter if you can get something “better” over there, you must build your own, for your children’s sake. It doesn’t matter if that bank has more convenient mobile options, your children and the unborn are crying out for a world in which they can live free. It doesn’t matter if their ice actually is colder, Black people must have their own ice. It doesn’t matter if that store is cleaner, go to your own store and insist that it be better. Ease, convenience and comfort will ultimately sentence Black people to a permanent condition of servitude. Black people want to undo the core problem of Black subservience in this society and that will not be done with ease or quickly. It will require sacrifice and embracing a life of inconvenience but for our children’s sake, it is necessary.