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I first saw this amazing video while watching one of the political streams I follow on Twitch. It really cut to the core for me. Please take the time to watch this heartfelt and raw 6+ minute video where activist and author Kimberly Jones (Wikipedia, Author site, Twitter) unleashes about the harms caused by historical and contemporary racism in America is a speech colloquially titled “How can we win?”.
I have both the video and the full transcript written up below.
Here is the full video: Kimberly Jones’ Full Speech – “How can we win??” (Jun 2020):
Like most transcripts I do I try to clean it up by adding lists, paragraphs, links, etc so that it is more readable. Those are all me. =)
So, I’ve been seeing a lot of things talking of the people making commentary, interestingly enough, the ones I’ve noticed I’ve been making the commentary are wealthy black people making the commentary about:
- We should not be rioting.
- We should not be looting.
- We should not be tearing up our own communities.
And then there’s been an argument of the other side of:
- We should be hitting them in the pocket.
- We should be focusing on the blackout days where we don’t spend money.
But, you know I feel like we should do both and I feel like I support both. And I’ll tell you why I support both.
I support both because there’s – when you have a civil unrest like this there three type of people in the streets: there are the protesters, there are the rioters, and there are the looters. The protesters aren’t there because they actually care about what is happening in the communities. They want to raise their voices and they’re there strictly to protest. You have the rioters who are angry, who are anarchists who really just want to fuck shit up, and that’s what they’re gonna do regardless. And then you have the looters. And the looters almost exclusively are just there to do that – to loot.
Now, people are like – “What did you gain? Well, what did you get from looting?” I think that as long as we’re focusing on the ‘what’ we’re not focusing on the ‘why’ and that’s my issue with that. As long as we’re focusing on ‘what they’re doing’ – we’re not focusing on ‘why they’re doing’. And some people are like “Well, those are people who are legitimately angry about what’s happening. Those are people who just want to get stuff.”.
OK, well, then let’s go with that. Let’s say that’s what it is. Let’s ask ourselves why in this country, in 2020, the financial gap between poor blacks and the rest of the world is at such a distance that people feel like their only hope and only opportunity to get some of the things that we flaunt and flash in front of them all the time is to walk through a broken glass window and get it. But they are so hopeless that getting that necklace, getting that TV, getting that change, getting that bed, getting that phone, whatever it is they’re gonna get – is that in that moment when the riots happened, and if they present an opportunity of looting that’s their only opportunity to get it.
We need to be questioning that. Why? Why are people that poor? Why are people that broke? Why are people that food insecure, that clothing insecure that they feel like they’re only shot – that they are shooting their shot by walking through a broken glass to get what they need. And then people want to talk about “Well, there’s plenty of people who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and got it on their own. Why can’t they do that?”.
Let me explain to you something about economics in America. And I’m so glad that as a child I got an opportunity to spend time at push where they taught me this. Is that we must never forget that economics was the reason that black people were brought to this country. We came to do the agricultural work in the South and the textile work in the north. Do you understand. That… that’s what we came to do. We came to do – the agricultural work in the south and the textile work in the north.
Now, if I’m right now, if I right now decided that I wanted to play Monopoly with you and for 400 rounds of playing monopoly I didn’t allow you to have any money. I didn’t allow you to have anything on the board. I didn’t allow for you to have anything and then we played another 50 rounds of who not believe and everything that you gained and you earned while you were playing that round of Monopoly was taken from you. That was Tulsa. That was Rosewood. Those are places where we built black economic wealth where we were self-sufficient where we owned our stores, where we owned our property, and they burned them to the ground.
So, that’s four hundred and fifty years. So, for 400 rounds of Monopoly you don’t get to play at all. Not only do you not get to play, you have to play on the behalf of the person that you’re playing against. You have to play and make money and earn wealth for them and then you have to turn it over to them. So, then for 50 years you finally get a little bit and you’re allowed to play. And every time that they don’t like the way that you’re playing or that you’re catching up or that you’re doing something to be self-sufficient they burn your game. They burn your cards. They burn your monopoly money. And then finally, at the release and the onset of that, they allow you to play and they say “OK, now you catch up.”. Now, at this point the only way you’re gonna catch up in the game is that the person shares the wealth correct? But, what if every time you share the wealth then there’s psychological warfare against you to say “Oh, you’re an equal-opportunity hire.”.
So, if I played 400 rounds of Monopoly with you and I had to play and give you every dime that I made, and then for 50 years every time that I played I, if you didn’t like what I did you got to burn it like they did in Tulsa and like they did in Rosewood. How can you win? How can you win? You can’t win. The game is fixed.
So, when they say “Why do you burn down the community? Why do you burn down your own neighborhood?” It’s not ours. We don’t own anything. We don’t own anything. There is -Trevor Noah said it so beautifully last night “There’s a social contract that we all have. That if you steal or if I steal then the person who is the authority comes in and they fix the situation. But the person who fixes the situation is killing us. So, the social contract is broken. And if the social contract is broken why the fuck do I give a shit about burning them fucking Football Hall of Fame, about burning a fucking Target.
You broke the contract when you killed us in the streets and didn’t give a fuck! You broke the contract where for 400 years we played your game and built your wealth. You broke the contract when we built our wealth again on our own by our bootstraps in Tulsa and you dropped bombs on us. When we built it in Rosewood and you came in and you slaughtered us. You broke the contract.
So, fuck your Target. Fuck your Hall of Fame. Far as I’m concerned I could burn this bitch to the ground and it still wouldn’t be enough. And they are lucky that what black people are looking for is equality and not revenge.