Posted on February 27, 2018

America Doesn’t Have a Gun Control Problem. We Have a White-People Problem

Damon Young, Very Smart Brothas, February 26, 2018


The dearth of black people on the GAP trail should be no surprise to anyone who’s driven through Pennsylvania. A popular joke about the state is that it’s Pittsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other and Alabama in between. The “joke,” of course, is that once you leave those metropolitan areas, you’re surrounded by small towns and rural farmland. And “surrounded by small towns and rural farmland” is a euphemistic way of saying “surrounded by whiteness.”

Thing is, that dynamic isn’t exactly unique to Pennsylvania. Regardless of where you are in the country, once you get 10-15 miles outside a city’s greater metropolitan area, you’re probably going to splash into a sea of white people. And that sea probably won’t end until you’re near another city. It’s so stark that if you had no concept of America and you asked an American where the black people lived, they could just draw a small circle around the 30 largest cities, say “there” and be mostly accurate. And then, if you asked where the white people lived, they could say, “There, too. And everywhere else.”

In America, white people are everywhere, and this ubiquity connects to perhaps our greatest irony: We (black people) are vastly outnumbered by them. They also own more land, earn and possess more money, and have all the guns. Most of the people making laws are white, as are most of the people enforcing them. {snip} We are surrounded, outnumbered, out-resourced and outgunned. Our entire existence here is a continual assault on our bodies.

But we are the ones perceived to be the threats. We are the ones they’re scared of. We are the ones who tell our children how to dress and how to wear their hair so they’re not thought of as threats to them. We are the ones who consciously and subconsciously modify our voices and our behavior when forced to interact with them. We’re the ones whom trained officers with weapons and badges and handcuffs and legal justifications are so damn scared of that we’ve created entire curricula based on that fear, teaching ourselves what to do to seem less frightening to them.

This fear is why they’re so obsessed with arming themselves with multiple human killing machines. It’s why they fight against even the notion of incremental disarmament so vehemently. They are scared shitless of us. Of anyone who is not them. {snip}