Oakland’s Finest

October 30, 2011

Police in my city have made world-wide news for brutalizing peaceful protestors and I truly hope that no one is surprised. After all we are speaking of the same police department that served as the foot soldiers for the unlawful dismantling of the Black Panther Party. Therefore should it really shock anyone to discover that a young man can survive two tours of duty in Iraq completely unscathed only to live in Oakland, CA for less than a year and have his skull fractured by the police?

 

Before Occupy Oakland became an official part of the movement Oakland was already occupied by the boys in blue. I grew up in an impoverished underserved community on the East side of town in which a police station was built before we even had a grocery store to buy fresh food. As a matter of fact the very room in which I attended preschool in Eastmont Mall has since been converted into jail cells to temporarily house inmates on the way to county lock up. I’ve seen police brutality, I’ve experienced police brutality, and I’ve known police brutality for as long as my skin has been black.

 

So I see this young man named Scott Olson lying helpless in the street with blood streaming down his face. I see the cops continue to pump rounds of “Nonlethal” projectiles into anyone who is brave enough to cross the line in an attempt to retrieve him or offer him medical-aid and I think to myself; how vile, how disgusting, how typical of police in Oakland.

I must be honest with you all when I say that I am not a very well traveled man. I’ve never spent a semester in South Africa, or been to a convention in Spain. I’ve never studied in Iran either. However I always had a hunch that the police officers that I deal with on a near daily basis have got to be one of the most repressive forces in the entire world. Of all the places around the globe being “Occupied” I have yet to see a crack-down remotely similar to what took place in my town a few nights ago.

 

As enraged as I am about the whole situation, I can’t help but to feel just a slight bit validated and if you were from Oakland then I’m sure you would feel the same way.

 

-YB

 

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Brief Thoughts on the Occupation

 

October 12, 2011

                It’s easy for me to forget that I’m a writer when I’m at my job working all day. It’s easy for me to let my best thoughts evaporate into the idleness of my mind. It’s easy for me to become blind to beauty. The world is dramatically shifting all around me; therefore I cling to employment so I don’t lose my balance. But then again maybe I need to be pushed down like a wooden domino. Perhaps I should allow myself to get swept up in all the change.

                Lately I’ve been wondering if I have become a bit of a hypocrite because I only write about my radical ideas as opposed to running out in the street and screaming about them to whoever is listening. It’s been several years since I’ve participated in an organized protest. It’s been equally as long since I’ve collaborated with like-minded luminaries. I’m concerned that I have grown to rely far too heavily on the tactic of guerilla warfare that is my writing. It may be time for me to join the disenchanted masses.

                At present I don’t know what to make of the occupation of big cities across America. I mean I know I agree with just about every homemade banner and sign that I have seen (raging against unemployment, corporate greed, bailots, etc), and lord knows that I support drastic change in this country. I just feel like something else will need to happen in order for me to be reeled in. Forgive me for what I am about to say but when I see footage of the unrest; I see a lot of white boys with bull horns. I see white guys leading chants, and blocking freeways. I just see a lot of white males— period. All of this makes me wonder whether or not we can we really call what is happening around this country a revolution if is led by the world’s most privileged demographic.

                I am not trying to be overly simplistic nor do I intend to come off as being too caught up on race but this is what’s making me hesitate. This is what keeps me wrapped up in my own occupation instead of jumping head first into theirs.

-YB