It goes without saying that you have to teach people how to treat you sometimes. You have to remind them that you are human and not an object. You have to make it clear that you will not be ignored. And that there is hell to pay for grossly mistreating you.
With that in mind I am posting an update today on the NAACP, Al Sharpton, Dunbar Village incident which many of us brown women bloggers have been blogging about for the past few weeks.
But first let me tell you a story.
I love the parable Jesus tells in Luke 18: 1-8 of the Persistent Widow.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
”For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’
Now, if the unjust judge did not fear God and cared nothing for the opinion of his peers, it’s probably safe to assume that this woman and her pleas meant nothing to him. But the widow refused to be ignored. This woman who in her culture was at the bottom of the social ladder refused to see herself through the judge’s eyes. She insisted that the judge acknowledge her existence and hear her out. She kept after him. How dare he think he could overlook her without consequence?
Don’t you just love knowing that no matter how oppressive and unbearable the circumstances, subjugated people (some of them anyway) have always pushed back, fought back, and figured out ways to subvert the system? Don’t think for a minute that women in patriarchal cultures have been content to fade away behind veils, customs, and unjust laws just because that’s what was expected of them.
Remember the impassioned freedom songs 20, 000 South African Women sang before the Union Buildings in Pretoria when they learned of the government’s attempt in 1956 to force them, like their husbands and sons, to carry passes as they moved about the country. Passes were the symbol of South African’s deepest oppression. South African women composed a song in defiance of the government’s attempt to force passes on them: ”When you have touched a woman, you have struck a rock! You have dislodged a boulder. You will be crushed.”
I’ll say it again: Like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable, you have to be prepared to teach people how you want them to treat you. Those who neither fear God nor care what others think, and think black women count for nothing, have to be repudiated. Even if those arrogant enough to try trampling over you are your own men.
Update on NAACP, Al Sharpton, and Dunbar Village
We sincerely hope that this post can be the last Open Letter that criticizes the involvement of the NAACP and Al Sharpton in the Dunbar Village case. Although we are not satisfied with the official conduct of the NAACP in the past few weeks, we acknowledge that the finite goals that we originally set for this campaign have been completed. We will continue to offer our support to the victims of this crime, and would like to thank the prosecutor in this case for exercising a high degree of discretion.Synopsis New readers: this post is the conclusion of a protest in which thousands of African Americans from various walks of life condemned the recent actions of both the NAACP and the National Action Network in a criminal case known as the Dunbar Village Atrocity. Read details of the crime here.
We are satisfied that the NAACP will cease to use it’s power of advocacy to demand that the suspects in the Dunbar Village Atrocity case be given the opportunity to be released on bail.
We are satisfied that a long overdue show of official support for the Dunbar Village victims has been made, or is under way.
We are somewhat satisfied with the apology that was given for the public declaration that the Dunbar Village Atrocity and the Boca Raton rape case are comparable; however, it is not lost on us that the apology was done privately, and not delivered by the National office with the same level of conviction in which the original statement was made.
We condemn the NAACP’s failed attempt to obfuscate the truth concerning their participation in the press conference dated 03/11/2008. The absurdity of their attempt to deny such easily verifiable facts caused real damage to the credibility of their establishment. Our community needs to be able to trust the integrity and veracity of any organization that purports to advocate for it, therefore, we challenge the NAACP to be honest enough to admit their mistakes in the future, even the big ones.
We have done our very best to be people of integrity concerning this matter, by thoroughly researching the facts before mounting this campaign.
Our wish is to be to be able to work together with justice organizations to right the wrongs inflicted on people of color, by not only enforcing standards of prosecution, but also by raising the standard of ethical conduct of all people involved. While our demands have been met in this case, we are not convinced that either agency has taken the appropriate steps to ensure that tragic decisions like the press conference in support of the torture suspects will not be made again in the future. We urge the NAACP and the National Action Network to interpret this protest as a golden opportunity for critical self reflection, as a new line of dialogue, and as a chance to move into better alignment with the will of the very people that they exist to serve.
The Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund
Individuals who would like to donate money to the victims can go to any Wachovia Bank and donate to the St. Ann’s Victim’s Assistance Fund. Donations will go directly to the mother and her son. St. Ann’s Catholic Church will also accept donations. Checks can be made payable to the “Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund - St. Ann’s”. Donations can be mailed to: St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 310 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 .
For more information about this Dunbar Village Campaign, you can visit any of the following blogs: