Written by Alberta Parish
The Black American experience is unlike any other in modern-day history. From Emmett Till to the Central Park Five wrongfully convicted for raping a white woman while jogging in Central Park in 1989, we have experienced in the United States as a group the most inhumane and horrific treatment that human beings should never have to face. Consistently choosing to take the moral high ground when we have been at war since the first prisoners of war were taken from Africa and brought across the Atlantic ocean by ships has contributed to our mass genocide for well over 500 years.
There is no excuse why Emmett Till should've been forcibly removed from a relative's home and viciously beaten to death over a fabricated tale about him whistling at a white woman. Fear causes this type of non-response to a real threat against your very existence. The fear of losing your own life causes you to not fight those white men when they forced their way into your home to remove your guest that you should've protected, even at the expense of your own life. Too many docile Black people existed during that time. Following the non-violence rhetoric of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many decided to not fight back thinking that perhaps they'd win a few extra brownie points for being good little Negroes. Your moral high ground didn't matter then, and it still doesn't matter today.
Apparently, our morality never meant all that much to our enemies. People were claiming to good Christians in the 1950s and were still hanging Black people. There were two Americas. Negroes were still fighting America's wars and when many of them returned to the United States, they were hanged, beaten to death, and shot dead in front of their familes. The Ku Klux Klan would ride around Black neighborhoods, busting down doors, raping Black women and children, and lynching Black men. They also lynched Black women and children.
Fast forward to 1989 New York, and we have a modern-day lynch mob in the District Attorney's office and among the business tycoons like Donald Trump who paid for ad space in newspapers comdemning innocent Black teenagers and inciting racial violence across America.
When They See Us is a movie released by Netflix, which documents the story behind five non-white New York City teenagers being coerced by a corrupt police system to give statements for a crime they never committed. It is a complete travesty, and never should the Black community have allowed this to happen. Although the Central Park Five were later exonerated for the crime of rape because the real rapist confessed, years of their lives were already stolen from them. They can't get back those formative years. They can't get back their innocence. They can't get back time with their families. They can't erase the nightmare of the prison system. They can't erase being further mistreated inside the prison system. We cannot escape the horrors of Black slavery. We cannot forget the 500 years of a prison system called the United Slaves of America. We can't ever forget what happened to Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Medger Evers, Martin Luther King, and countless other souls.
Consistently taking the moral high ground has costs us too many lives. What are we getting in exchange for taking the moral high ground? Are we any more wealthier as a group in this country for taking the moral high ground? Are we sleeping better at night for taking the moral high ground? Are your children more safe since we've all taken the moral high ground? Show me the checks for us taking the moral high ground. There are no checks. We haven't received any reparations for taking the moral high ground in a system of racism and white supremacy. We have the right to defend ourselves from clear and present danger. Who said we had to stand there and be murdered in cold blood, and watch our children be murdered in cold blood, and that determines whether we're moral or not moral? What is morality? Who invented the concept of morality?
I don't practice violence. However, I will defend myself against any form of violence whether it is workplace violence, workplace bullying, psychological violence, physical abuse, etc.
Recently, I had to file a workplace harassment complaint against an overbearing and condescending store manager because I refuse to be mistreated in my place of work.
There are times in your life when you have to fight back. We can't always duck around issues and tip toe our way around situations that require our immediate attention. There is a possibility that you may lose something. But we're already losing in a system of racism and white supremacy. So you may as well make this loss count for something.