My name is Charles Karim Diggs. I’m at Graterford prison in Pennsylvania. And the name of my, uh, essay is “America Addicted to Trauma, Cncompromising Violence, and Abuse.”
In 1968, and before a pattern of police killings of African-American people, in the South and in all parts of the nation created a collective justified resistance.
CSPAN today, 9/4/18, had a celebration of 1968. Kathleen Cleaver, the wife of Eldridge Cleaver, leader of the Black Panther movement, was a guest on the show and another law professor from Texas University. And they were answering some of the questions the callers came in.
The heart of the show was the overview of what the 1968 movement and how Dr. King and others played their part in the struggle for injustice and equality in this country. The 50-year review shows the nation remained sick with an intrinsic passion for oppression and violence against people of color and poor people. The civil rights movement, the Black Panthers, and other college movements, as well as the war movement, made 1968 a period of important American history.
Professor Cleaver explained how the Panthers used a symbol that was developed in Mississippi as an image: a animal that would fight you only if you attacked it. The purpose of the Panthers was based on violence started by the police and the poverty within the African-American community. The Panthers started food programs, free lunch breakfast for children, self-defense was a mandatory principle for the Panthers.
The self-help and self-defense caused alarm and fear by law enforcement, including the FBI. The Panthers studied the law and found that it was lawful in California: a citizen can carry a weapon, even a rifle, openly as long as that, the person was not pointing or threatening anyone. The state legislators changed the law when black men started walking around with their weapons opposing any change in the law.
Dr. Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers, Malcolm Shabbaz, and Stokely Carmichael and others of the southern college organizations called SNCC, they helped bring down much of the discrimination in the area of voting, education, and commerce.
Some of the men and women who were involved were murdered by state and federal authorities. Black Panthers were killed all over the nation. Some were killed in their sleep in their own homes. Many were in prison and remain in state and federal prisons today. These men and women remain in a suffering- in a oppressive, abusive, traumatic condition. Only America can fix this type of long, drawn-out pain.
A few- a few callers asked the question, “Is Black lives relevant?” The professor from Texas stated he did not understand Black Lives Matter. He suggested that all lives matter. He tried to connect that statement with Dr. King’s final days of organizing the poor people movement around poverty, and he did not use color as an issue at that time today.
We are spending over a trillion dollars on the military and space programs. The irony of it all is we don’t use the supernatural weapons. We sell most of our weapons to Third World nations and European nations, along with 150 or more military bases all over the world. We continue to police the planet and, at the same time, policing the African-American community with an unwritten policy to kill first and make up reasons later.
The only lives that matter is the government who shoots the citizen. The inequality of life and the absolute power of the state suggests as America is a nation addicted to trauma, suffering, and abuse. Economic stimulation, political positions, and voting given as yet to solve historical disadvantages.
Democratic- Republican parties and communism has yet to cure the diseases that dominates the structural foundations of our nation. 50 years later, the same arguments are being made. Until the damage has been- until the damage of white supremacy is addressed how severe the mental damage has been, progress is always regressing.
It reflects a battered woman- woman personality. The abused woman keeps going back to her husband believing she can change him. She believes there is something she is doing wrong to provoke him. Brutal violence upon her beautiful body and face, the epidemic of violence, and the joy of seeing other people suffering is reality in America.
With 3 million in state and federal prisons, another 6 million on probation and parole, and the murder rate of felons upon each other is also a reality. New institutions must be created to address and work on the cure for the mental illnesses that has been inherited by European-Americans. They made the system, not African-Americans!
The laws, Constitution was established for white males. Until we address- to change these historical falsehoods, expect another 50 years of a central government that is totally, morally spiritually, bankrupt. The citizens of the nation must bind together and educate each other, establish a new movement based on love, and build a new vision for the country, free from the old myth of racial superiority.
We have to face the naked truth. Unless we do, expect more of the same. The new $600 million prison that I live in will not be the last. Our nation has not learned any lessons from the past. The sign of a criminal government is when the leaders can not learn oppression never brings happiness. People want to be happy. All the marijuana laws to allow citizens to get stoned will not cure the desire of human beings to be free from injustice.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.