EDITORIAL: Invisible violence
Major media often ignores the nationwide violence that occurs daily in Black communities. Yes, there are reports of so-called Black-on-Black, reports of the rage turned against one another that is amplified with the easy availability of guns. But the daily violence that occurs in Ferguson, Missouri; Detroit, Benton Harbor, Flint, Highland Park, Michigan and Black cities throughout this country — no one seems to give a damn about.
It’s the violence that doesn’t get reported; that comes at the community on many fronts: mis-education where the neighborhood school is unavailable — abandoned and neglected — and the available charter school mismanaged and focused on standardized tests. It’s the chronic and massive generational unemployment. It’s the violence against young people and seniors who find recreation centers closed, parks overgrown, and have to maneuver a bullet-proof partition to buy a gallon of milk they hope isn’t out of date. The blocks of devastating blight surrounding each of us.
In Michigan the violence has been massaged and refined into public policy: emergency management. Black citizens have been stripped of democracy. So now, only a small percentage of registered voters are still prepared to go through the motions of voting. Few are willing to play out the game of elections when they know full well there is no accountability for those now in control of the tax revenues and public buildings.
The citizens, now called consumers/customers, know they have no say in the disposal of public assets that once contributed to the quality of life. Assets that now are either abandoned or — if value is seen — are turned over to corporate, private control. Belle Isle, Lipke Park, Jean Klock Park beachfront, pensions worked for over decades and anticipated for retirement, water, lack of a simple say in what should happen in the neighborhood. Gone, disappeared.
Insurance rates — auto and property — triple that of wealthier communities. Highest property tax rates in the state with the least return for quality of life.
No voice, violence. No say, violence. No control, violence. It comes every day at every resident of Black communities. It all adds up to rage.
When a police officer sworn to protect and serve, uphold the law pulls his gun, taser, flashlight, billy club, or uses the stun gun, wooden/rubber bullets, the rage boils over because the face of the oppression is in your face. You can rebel against that form of violence; it is easy to see, you feel it directly, you can respond.
Police violence, so present on daily social media, is not so much a new trend, or the proliferation of cameras. It is the due to the heightened police presence, the proliferation of police agencies — postal police, home security, community college police, hospital police, university police, private police, county sheriff, city — all equipped with the new, military-style equipment thanks to post-9/11 government policy.
Government policy has created the blight, abandonment and much of the violence prevalent in our communities. The country has slashed the social safety net, drained the cities to keep the military in battles across the world — in the name of democracy. Living wages are gone, civil rights abandoned, decent housing forgotten, adequate mass transportation sidelined, the quality of life diminished with the gutting of the middle class and the abandonment of the poor.
Until government is returned to the control of the people — away from the corporations on the national level and away from Gov. Snyder and his corporate interests inside the state — the violence is unrelenting and the response will be as it has been since Watts and Detroit in the 60s.