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Are We Scared Yet?

Our weekly commentary from Socially Speaking

A Socially Speaking commentary from social change activist and author

Gotta ask yourself: where did these “terrorists” come from? Why is it that every terrorist group you read about in the news has a bullseye on the United States? It seems like every time the national conversation on fairness, justice or equality comes up, another “war on terror” pops up. Are you scared yet?

Look, as a Black man living in America, I have very little fear of terrorists. I have more fear of police in my neighborhood than terrorists in Syria. The face of America is white across the oceans. It appears evident that people of color make up the vast majority of the people our government label as terrorists. I think they know that Black people mean them no harm; I think they know that Black people don’t run the agenda either. With those facts alone, I shouldn’t be scared.

Unfortunately, each evening on the mainstream news, I see bombings and extreme violence in lands that I have to practice to correctly pronounce. These are countries that the United States is consistently de-crying their lack of democracy, or their failure to examine human rights. Every time I see another Black man shot and killed in an urban center of the US, I get conflicted. As a nation, we turn a blind eye to human rights on a daily basis. Just think of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

From the founding of this country, Black people have had to fear terrorism—and not from overseas. Slave catchers in the 1700’s, lynching in the 1800’s, the Klu Klux Klan in the 1900’s and police-induced murder now; I can’t think of a better reason to be scared in than that this country…unless you’re white. Then, you ought to be scared of your “responsible gun-owner” neighbor going on a shooting rampage or a despondent teen at your local high school.

Hell, once Barack Obama got elected to the presidency, the fear of terrorism became heightened just by the language of my fellow Americans: “take our country back” or “I came unarmed, this time,” is the kind of language that implies that there are terrorists among us. When you define the noun, it means a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims. If that ain’t the Tea Party of 2009, I don’t know what is?

But, back to my original point: I’ve got to get a hold on why I should be scared? It wouldn’t be a question if we were truly united as a nation. We can’t get a woman’s right to choose right, so you know that issues of fear won’t be consolidated by consensus. Whenever there is an incursion of violence in another country, the polls (and no, I don’t’ trust polls) say that the American people are divided. I guess that’s good for the sake of democracy, but half of a yes, isn’t a yes! Just like rape, half a yes, is uncertainty, so don’t’ do it.

I have to think more critically about this terrorist thing. Everytime we react to a terror threat, resources have to be applied. That costs money. Truthout.org said that without designated “bad guys,” corporate war profiteering would wither. Negotiation risks leading to a peace settlement; peace is the enemy of the war industry. The war industry, through lobbying and by financing election campaigns, buys and sells Congressional representatives. These kept men and women, in cahoots with the Pentagon and with the executive branch, keep the war pot boiling—and money flowing. Corporations like Northrup-Grumman, Aegis and Halliburton urge the administration (pick one) along to “neutralize the terrorist threat” year after year. And so, we get scared year after year.

Last year, it was Boca-Haram; before that, it was al-Qeada. Then came ISIS. Now it’s Khorarsan Group…Khorasan Group??? What is that…an investment firm? Get that f#%@ outta here! How is it there’s a group

So I’m back to my point: where do these terrorists comes from? How did I become their enemy? As far as I’m concerned, I’m not. I’d love to see every country in the world practice democracy. Hell, I wish we all on the same page. I’d like to see democracy right here in America for that matter! Conservatives spend great time and money trying to stifle voting rights. I’ve got a terrorism problem right there!

In the end analysis, I think you ought to ask yourself, “why am I scared?” I believe that when you do a mental replay, you’ll realize it’s because someone in the media told you to be afraid…”be very afraid.” But when you examine your role in that fear, you’ll realize that you didn’t even have a role in originating, only perpetuating that fear. Are you scared yet?

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