United States of Apocalypse
By Delphia Simmons
I read somewhere that the word apocalypse does not mean final destruction and undoing of all things as I had thought, but rather an uncovering, a revelation of what has existed but has not been seen. There have been apocalypses throughout history; I’ve read about some that belonged to another time. But this apocalypse belongs to us. Like Seers and Prophets of old, we’ve long seen what others only now see. Bringing light where there is darkness, knowledge where there is ignorance.
Caution: Reasons for Ignorance May Vary.
Far too many have been in the comfortable illusion of color-blindness, rugged individualism, American idealism, and equal opportunity, while we, as African Americans and people identified as “non-white,” live in the experience and reality of blatant hatred and racism in a built system that we’ve been forced to keep alive and breathing. A system emboldened to take our very breath at will and that refuses to answer the question posed by James Baldwin: “why do you need a nigger?” The answer is a truth that brings inescapable light to the dark recesses of what has been passing as something that it is not.
I was alive but too young to realize what was happening during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s but not too young to remember the “Colored” or “Whites Only” signs displayed in the South where we lived until I was about seven years old.
The absence of those signs in the North just made the hatred and fear more insidious, less obvious, and easier for us to believe that we hadn’t been followed. I thought the North was in the struggle with us, fighting just as hard against the murders and terrorism of the South that I’d heard the adults in my family talk about.
Instead, its struggle was about maintaining the equilibrium of the 400-year old system by ensuring that the overall balance of power remain the same despite seeming changes. Too much change too fast would disrupt that strategy.
Dr. King eloquently laid out “why we can’t wait.” The system pushed back, resisting, reinforcing that it would not be changed. The lie that it could not be changed unless the pace was slow enough to protect part of the system that maintains the comfort of those for whom it was designed has gotten a lot of traction. Discomfort is anathema.
The glacial pace of change strategy has continued to exert itself in various forms after huge strides like ending slavery, ending segregation. The system has always adapted.
Reflecting on how long this system has made clear its hatred for BLACK SKIN with no intention of equity and transformation feels like a case of collective Stockholm Syndrome. America talks a good talk but the world is seeing the hypocrisy.
America REMAINS a country that could have at any point lived up to its ideals but instead has been intentional and calculating in not doing so. It is a country that broke away from colonial rule only to replicate it around the world; like an abused child who grows up to be 10x the abuser that their parent was.
I hold out hope that as humanity stands in this apocalypse, this uncovering, that we do so with eyes wide open. That none will avert their eyes or remain ignorant willingly to the SYSTEMS SUFFOCATING America. The system will not self-correct. The system is designed for the results it is getting.
To look away now would mean turning away from the revelation of love, to the system that upholds indifference, fear, hatred, evil, and oppression. It means choosing to continue in the comfortable illusion of separateness, the embrace of the delusion of supremacy and superiority, blinded eyes and hardened hearts. It’s the delusion that says it’s not what it looks like…because lies are the mortar holding it all together.
This apocalypse reveals that the oppressor, silent consenter, and willfully blind are one in the same. Bloody hands that won’t be made clean by 20 seconds of washing.
May this be the tipping-point, the flash-point, the critical mass that causes humanity’s quantum leap. May we hold the line together with love and action against hatred, oppression and evil so that they go no further.
May 400 years be enough!