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The Death of Ignorance
I watch as the two sides load up their guns and get in position, ready for the war four hundred years in the making. One side wants to make America great again. And is willing to destroy or kill anyone or anything to do it. Willing to destroy cultures, enslave people, create prisons, take lands and riches and claim this is for the best as they’re the only ones who reap the benefits. Then when they’ve had their fill, they say that was the past and the other people should either leave or get over it. And to “complain” about the situation, might as well be treason and to try to escape the life you’re in by any means necessary is a death sentence. A political, economic, and educational system created to empower those already in power. And to trap, impress and filler out those who have more to say. But disguise it as the “American Dream” and suddenly everyone thinks they have a chance to be free. Together, they stand ready with guns, tanks, missiles, ships, money, power, education, influence and enough ignorant people willing to do anything to make changes, even if they don’t know why they’re doing it.
The other side is like a bee hive with no queen. So they each try to be their own, making that one side turn into four. One side wants war, you kill one of mine, I kill five of yours and whosoever left determines who’s right. Another side wants peace, let’s protest and that only, and if they kill another let’s just do it again. Being a hashtag can’t be all bad, it’s better than just being a body bag. The third side wants nothing to do with it any of it. They say, “This is our life. They rule the world, they got bigger guns, they have all the control, mothers now and days live longer than the sons. Things will never change and that’s ok. They see us as drug dealers, killas, big ballas, ni–as and no matter what we do, that’s all they’re gonna see. And you know why, because that’s all we see and believe that’s all we can be.” Those who believe that being a young thug is a goal or a dream composes the fourth side. The one side, broken into four will die simply from divide and conquer causing the martyrs to be nothing but more than memories.
As the two main sides collide, one side surrounds and traps the other, so all they see is each other. The side broken into four can’t figure out what to do, who’s right and who’s wrong. Trust starts to break down and color begins and to blur and is no longer a factor. You’re either a friend or an enemy. They start to fight each other, killing anything that could kill you. As they have their internal war, the other side finishes them off, slowly without them noticing. To distracted to realize their real enemy is killing them. And before you know it, everyone is for themselves.
But how you can’t win a war if you don’t trust the soldier next to you? How can you have leaders if no one thinks they can be one? How can you have a future if you don’t believe one? And how can you do nothing, knowing you can die next? Or your brother, or mother, or sister, or father, you’re youngest daughter or your oldest son. Who too, has a son. Who was walking down the street, coming back from the convenient store looking for something sweet to eat. And as he walks wearing his black hoodie, with slightly saggy pants, holding an Arizona and a bag of skittles, a car with bright red and blue lights passes by. They see his hair of wool growing to much for their liking. A skin tone that they’re daughters try to replicate, but can never duplicate. And a confidence filled with the pride of knowing who you are, where you came from, and where you’re going. They can’t let this slide, so they stop him and ask him, “who are you, where’d you come from and where are you going?” And guess what, there is no right answer, so put your hands up and die in the name of freedom…..or fear. It depends on what side you’re on.
But how can you kill someone who simply wants to have peace and to be left alone? How can you agree that All Lives Matter, when a gorilla died and that got more attention than my son? How can you say I’m just paranoid, when my perception is my reality? And how can you know all of this be and silent?
Consider this the death of my ignorance because as the two sides collide in this war to determine which one will win. I am forced to accept the horrific fact that I’m either a threat that’s guilty before innocent that needs to be destroyed. Or another forgotten martyr used to try to fuel the flames of a roaring fire. My existence should not and well not be what others want it to be. I can and will determine my own destiny and I refuse to bend to anyone who threatens me. I won’t watch this war anymore and stand around as we all die. I will end this war with the power of my words and we will survive.
Shumon Jenkins ’18