By Hodari Davis

Hey white folks, in case you didn’t know, Justice is going to be an inconvenience. Your convenience is wedded to the current order, which means I endure constant and persistent micro aggressions and insults in order to accommodate your comfort.

My inconvenience has for so long been predicated on you feeling comfortable. Jordan Davis’ murderer was inconvenienced with the music coming from the car stereo and he expressed his dissatisfaction with a gun. Darren Wilson was inconvenienced with Mike Brown walking in the street and he expressed his dissatisfaction first with his car and second with his gun. George Zimmerman was inconvenienced with Trayvon’s presence in his own community and he expressed his dissatisfaction with a gun.

How inconveniencing and discomforting do you think racism is?

How inconvenient it has been for me to pass the exact location where Oscar Grant was murdered, every day to go to work. Every freaking day! How inconvenient it has been for our ancestors to have been hung from trees, locked in jail, gunned down in a hail of bullets, bombed out of their homes, or our children now ancestors shot in the streets. How inconvenient it was for Alan Blueford, Kenneth Harding, or any of the other victims of police murder, …. and their families. And it’s still happening!

We endure these inconveniences, like going to work the day after the country pissed on us. The day after Zimmerman gets off, or Johannes, and now Wilson. The day after riots we are expected to clean houses, and peacefully ride the train. The day after our children are murdered and we see mothers crying, we are expected to go to school or to work and follow the law. Even when the law pulls the trigger, and the courts provide justification, and the media tells us we are irrational and irresponsible, and you tell us we are inconveniencing you with our pain.

If you want convenience, stop murdering our sons and claiming it’s justified. Stop miseducating our children. Stop foreclosing on our lives, preying on our ignorance and profiting off of our suffering.

If you want convenience, hold your family members accountable and join us in protesting the corporations that market us to work against our own self interests. Stop voting these clowns who seek to have us enslaved, in debt, homeless, or undereducated into office over and over again.

If you want convenience, hold the police, the politicians and the corporations that support them all accountable.

If you want convenience then be an ally and work to destroy and undermine racism and white supremacy in your own family, in your own community, in our cities and towns, and in the country at large. Work every day to destroy racism and white supremacy in your own mind.

I am here to tell you none of this will be convenient.

All of this will require discomfort and sacrifice. As I have said again and again, WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY.

When you arrive at work late, don’t complain; just inform and let them know “I am late because the country saw fit to justify the murder of Black and Brown youth.”

When them fools are tripping let them know “we all can either stand for justice or act like it’s just business as usual.” The murder of our family will no longer be business as usual.

The murder of your children should never be business as usual, and no country should encourage that and expect to be respected. No law that justifies the murder of our children is a law we are bound to respect. We cannot afford to respect those who defend that law, or who are inconvenienced by our response to it.

Any society or culture that would tell us to abide by that law is an enemy to our freedom and sustained survival.

Hodari B. Davis is the National Program Director at Youth Speaks, Inc. and the Executive Producer of the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. He is also the Creative Director of the Life Is Living Campaign and Festival, organizing eco empowerment events in cities around the country including Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, and New York.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.
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13 Responses

  1. Older and wiser than Hodari

    Everyone is “inconvenienced”… whether it is age, sex, religion, or race, we all will face those that do not understand our perspective. Hodari needs a few more decades of learning. Rants like these serve no purpose. You’ll alienate those you wish to educate. You’ll inflame those who need calming. Anger is a wasted emotion. Loose the anger and, Hodari, you will find your purpose.

  2. OaklandNative

    Older and Wiser,

    You’ve proven Hodari’s point. You divert away from the issue by writing “Everyone is inconvenienced.” Then, you turn the issue around on her and make it about her anger.

    That changes nothing, but perhaps that will make you more comfortable.

    Anger is a valid and natural emotion when used properly. More often, people calm down when the angering issue dissipates.

  3. TomThumb

    @OaklandLocal, agree with your sentiments. Had to scroll up through all the useless pingbacks to see the comment you were referencing. The only thing worse than these twitter pingbacks was when facebook likes showed up, 1 per person. Its made commenting on this website a pain. I dont see the community that once was here on these message boards.

  4. Max a Trillion

    “Hey white folks”? Really? Was it only white people that complained about this protest?

    I took the whole thing less seriously because of that opening. When the argument is built on this implied narrative of “all people of color are with us, and all white people are against us,” it reduces the whole nuanced reality of Bay Area’s complex race relations and politics into a dumb us-vs-them mentality.

    When people complain about protest actions like these, do realize that they’re not taking a stance on the cause, they’re just against methods that target everyone indiscriminately instead of those responsible for the injustice. Lots of white folks supported this tactic, and lots of POC were against it because they had jobs/family/whatever to get to. That opening is insultingly reductionist, and just stupid.

  5. Older and wiser than Hodari

    ON, for the record, I’ve been pulled out of a car at gunpoint, for racial reasons. My car was searched, while a gun was pointed at my head. My comments are for those who think ranting and blaming, and staging protests that encourage anger are appropriate tools to fight any of the “-isms” that exist. Anger IS a wasted energy and this “article” contributes NOTHING to solving race issues.

    I have been a long time reader of OL and the disintegrating quality of writing saddens me. This is article one more example of why I no longer recommend OL and why I debate wasting my time. Oh, yes, and the pingbacks. They are distracting as well.

  6. OaklandNative

    O and W,

    So are you criticizing their anger or how they use their anger? There is a difference.

    A young person pointed out to me that if the protests had stayed non-violent, no one would have paid attention. We can debate whether or not that was negative attention, but it was still attention. We also debate attention from whom? And whose attention matters?

    • A

      Right…..Oakland Native…

      Nothing says support our movement or hear our voices because we’re busting up our local community. It’s that attitude that makes people tune out ANY message they’re trying to convey.

      I’m sure if MLK had rioting and started busting up cities, people would have take him and his message so much more seriously.

      • OaklandNative

        Re-read your history. MLK was jailed, harassed, etc. Finally, he was assassinated.

        By the way, he was only one of a history of protesters–starting with the slave revolts. Some were violent. Some were not.

        Getting back to today’s protester’s. Whose attention do they need? We are discussing it right now.

  7. Francesco

    Gee, all I wanted to do was get to work that day. I had NO intention of wasting any portion of my paycheck on “black Friday” deals.

  8. Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

    Thank you Hodari for your article. I agree with the sentiment — it resonates with what the late Amiri Baraka used to ask , “Is it a little difficult for you?” I often wonder if the Bus Boycott could occur in these times. I wonder if all of us understand that this nations addiction to white supremacy and the system it has wrought will cause us all great unpleasantness if it persist and perhaps as much or more if it decides to kick and heal itself. It will most certainly inconvenience those who benefit and those who have fallen into the machine and can not conceive of any other kind of way in which to be in existence. It will also inconvenience those of us who are actively working for an intervention. Discomfort can be a learning place, and until some semblance of justice exist then there will rightfully be those dedicated to disturbing the comfort of the comfortable. Maybe a better question for today is, “Are you too comfortable?”

  9. OaklandNative

    Re-read your history. MLK was considered an enemy of the country. He was jailed, etc. Finally, he was assassinated.

    Getting back to today’s protester’s. Whose attention do they need? We are discussing it right now.


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