On Black Lives Matter…

Kids! Plot, plan, strategise, organise and mobilise!

Been trying to figure out what I’m supposed to say to my children about all of this. Feels like we’re flying by the seat of our pants. I’ve concluded that it’s likely to be them, and their kids, and their grandkids that are gonna have to do the heavy lifting on this. That they need to be our leaders now rather than these poor excuses we’ve made do with thus far. 

This is as far as I’ve got… I’m sure it’s not perfect – but that’s fine: this needs to be a conversation. This needs figuring out. We’ve clearly not figured it out yet. Which is why we need our children at the table, now more than ever. 

So, these are the questions my children have been asking, and how I’ve tried to answer them…

Is this our fault?

No, it is not your fault. But it IS your problem. Because it’s your inheritance, your heritage. It’s what has been handed down to you by your ancestors – myself, regretfully and shamefully, included – and so now, whether you like it or not, it is down to you to fix it.

Can’t we just put it all behind us? Can’t we all be equal?

No. Not by just saying or simply wishing it were so. The things that are broken need to be fixed. The treasures you possess – your health and your security not least among them – were stolen – not by you, but for you – and they need to be re-distributed.

These things need to be fixed, and fixing them will inevitably cost you. It might even scare and hurt you. It certainly won’t be easy and it might even feel unfair. But the truth is that doing this work will hurt less, and cost less than not fixing it at all. Trust me. I know that now, and it’s too late for me. But you will gain more than you’ve ever known before – in doing your part in making a true, global brotherhood/sisterhood with all those that live alongside us.

So in that sense, there is nothing you can possibly hope to achieve in your life – no career, or profession, or platform or social standing or greatness – that could be more closely defined as purposeful – and right – than to commit to this work for the whole of your life. And for this work to be the thing that you pass on to your children on and on, until the work is done. But please, hear me now: please don’t just pass on what we’ve passed on to you – these shallow advantages of our privilege – not anymore. 

How long will it take?

The work will last for as long as we live as a species on this planet and/or beyond (if that’s where life chooses to take us). 

But the work will never be done. That’s the whole point. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Because sometime way back when we thought domination – and beware any fool that thinks dominating is the answer – was the way to be. That by taking, and owning, and not giving back – we could somehow be DONE enough that we need worry about doing no more. That our children need not worry too. 

That’s how it started, and that’s how it rolled on. And it grew and it grew, and it has destroyed lives, and generations, and nations and peoples, and continents and histories and friendships and kinships and allegiances and love and connection and truth and the very essence of life itself… and these things, none of them can be undone. They can’t be taken back. But we don’t have to keep doing them. 

We can start sharing the things that were stolen and have since come into our hands, but which never belonged to us in the first place. Lands and rights and respect and the ability to live a life – these things just for starters. We can start to reckon on how many channels have been built that divert the resources of life to us from the source, but by which method others are denied – and we can start to dismantle them.

Why do the ‘bad guys’ look like us? 

The bad guys look like us because our ancestors – the ‘us’ that isn’t ‘them’, and watch out for that shit too – are the ones that built these huge, impenetrable fortresses of privilege that you still, to this very day, live inside, benefitting from the wealth, health and security that they provide. If you’ve never seen the fortress within which you live, that tells you just how big and comfortable it has been made for you – it feels like your whole world.

But what you are seeing right now on these screens – THAT is the REAL world. This isn’t it here inside this fortress. These screens we look at are in fact windows onto the world outside. That’s the world that we have made that we now need to un-make.

Does that make us liars, and thieves? Are we the bad guys?

Only if you continue to pretend what I’m saying is not true. If you choose to ignore the truth, and work to protect the fortress and remain within. If you don’t want to be one of the bad guys you need to figure out either:

  • How to move out of the fortress and join the battle to tear it down, or
  • … actually, there is no ‘or’ – you gotta figure out how to move out, and then get to work pulling it down.

Is there no other way?

No – although people might argue that we don’t need to tear down the fortress, we just need to bring everyone inside. But they are wrong – all the while the fortress exists, it belongs to those within. It will never belong to those invited in – they will only ever be guests. And guests can never be equal.

Others might perhaps argue that everyone outside the fortress simply needs to pick themselves up, get off their butts and build their own damn fortresses. But how can they do that, if all the riches of the world are locked up in here with us? What are they to build with? 

You will hear a million other reasons why there must be another way – but ask yourself this: it’s only ever those inside the fortress that don’t want it to come down? And why do you think that might be?

Is there only one fortress?

Ha! You got me. This is where this analogy falls apart a bit… No. Not just one. There are lots of them. And what’s worse is that they all exist in your mind, and in the minds of others, and in the minds of us all collectively – untied and opposed. It’s a bit of a shitshow, truth be told. And from those places in our minds they’ve shaped the structures of our laws and our resources and our lives. 

This one I’m talking about today is the fortress of race. Of how we separate ourselves by the colour of our skin or the place of our births. And it’s a big fortress because it even has room for other fortresses within its walls – and outside of them – fortresses of gender, or sexuality, even fortresses of thoughts and ideas… damn, we’ve even managed to make fortresses of left and right. Seriously. And in and out. No doubt somewhere someone is working on up and down too. We’re dumb like that. Building these damn things. 

But the point is that left to their own devices, they grow and they grow and eventually they start to rip us apart. And that’s where we find ourselves today. This one is tearing us apart and it needs to come down – but it needs to be those of us on the inside that weaken its defences – because as things stand, it remains impenetrable from the outside.

Why did you never tell us this before?

Because I was weak. And fearful. And liked to think I was good, and that it wasn’t me, or my fault. Which it wasn’t. But it WAS my responsibility, and I didn’t want that to be true. It felt like such a mountain to climb and, just like you, I didn’t choose to be responsible for what has been done. And even though this heritage has benefited me in too many ways to list, it felt so big and unfixable that I chose to look away. And in so doing I have let myself down.

And that is why I am telling you now, and why it is that, as I pass it on to you, it is heavier and more burdensome than it was when it was passed to me. And I am sorry. Truly so terribly sorry. But not as sorry as I am now for all of those outside the fortress whose suffering and scars run deeper than any of us will ever know, or could even comprehend. Any sorrow we might feel for ourselves for having inherited this burden is nothing – nothing – compared to the savagery of what it has been lived through and woven deep into them. Never forget that.

But perhaps at least, if you can, take pride in this role… receive it as a gift – because you might be the first of us to turn the corner and start our pilgrimage back to where we belong, back out into the world, where we might rejoin our brothers and sisters, who we’ve spent far too long hurting in too many ways. It might be you…

So how do we start…?

OK. I got a few ideas. You’re 10 years old, right? 11? That means the election after next you can vote… you think you can get all of you guys onboard for then? 

Let’s figure out how we turn all of this into something we can vote for. Just as a start. Let’s kick it around. Let’s not try to fix it today. Let’s put a decade on it. To form a movement. To get all of you guys in the loop. Let’s work together now to set out what we expect our leaders to do, and let’s tell them what it is you’re gonna vote for. So that you’re ready, and they’re ready.

Let’s put them on notice while we plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize.

OK, go – do some reading (here is a good a place to start) – and then let’s reconvene. Share this document if you think it makes sense and get people to comment and let’s fix and tighten it up… 

And make notes for the next bit – the bit where we make the plan – that 8-10 year plan that we gonna tell these so-called ‘leaders’ of ours to start putting into play… 

And remember – the election after next – that’s when we strike.


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