Hate is Too Great A Burden To Bear
On Monday, June 28, our Council VP was held against her will and forced to comply with demands on paper before being released. I do not want to demonize those who did this — I share their desire to see real policing reform and I understand their rage built from many years of people talking about reform and not following up with action. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr analyzed this situation in his brilliant master work, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Confusion, writing: Anger from young people inside the movement “is a response to the feeling that a real solution is hopelessly distant because of the inconsistencies, resistance and faintheartedness of those in power.”
While we can understand the genesis of the rage, we must also hold firm to the principle that the ends do not justify the means. Ends justifies means thinking is a logic of the Western mind that is anchored on the values of efficiency and of mastery rather than the values of human compassion and co-habitation. And yes, someone can defend the value of human life in inhumane ways believing in “by whatever means necessary.” This is what is called an aporia—an irresolvable internal contradiction. It causes good people to do things they would despise if done by others.
No person deserved to be held in their car for 90 minutes until they submitted, but I want to assert that CM Jenkins — a Black elder of our vital trans-rights movement and a lifetime servant of our city — deserves this even less. Local news coverage here.
I would like to end this post with another of those magic moments of truth that Dr King gave as a gift to us, like a message in a bottle arriving in Minneapolis 2021 (note: I am not the “our” in his quote, I am Japanese American but also white-bodied in a white supremist system):
“I must oppose any attempt to gain our freedom by the methods of malice, hate and violence that have characterized our oppressors. Hate is just as injurious to the hater as to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity…. Hate is too great a burden to bear…. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of individuals and communities that surrendered to hatred and violence…. With every ounce of our energy we must continue to rid our nation of the incubus of racial injustice. But we need not in the process relinquish our privilege and obligation to love” (Chapter 2, Section 4).
Dr. King’s book is the last on my summer reading list — I hope you join me on the journey.