I, along with the masses, have been nominated to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
I, along with what feels like no being on this planet, respectfully decline.
I had this little injustice meter surgically inserted into my prefrontal cortex several years ago as a way of mitigating the mind-numbing effects of living in a culture becoming increasingly obsessed with short-lived, narcissistic, gestures in place of true activism. OK, so there's no real risk of getting this device wet and triggering an electrical short -- that's not where this is going (although I do worry that brain freeze could take on a whole new meaning). It's just that this ice bucket thing seems to have tripped the electrical wires holding this injustice meter together. My ears have been ringing incessantly. I can no longer ignore the constant vibrations that when downloaded to my heart and decoded read something like this:
You are being distracted from the true debilitating disease plaguing this nation, namely DBLS: Disposable Black Life Syndrome.
Disposable Black Life Syndrome (also known as Disregard for Black Lives Syndrome or Disdain for Black Love Syndrome) is a collection of symptoms exhibited by groups of people who hold power (primarily police officers, politicians, administrators, educators, contractors, dog walkers, grocery baggers) ranging from total and utter disregard for the existence of people of African descent to neglect of their basic needs and a dismissal of their human rights; also includes a denial of their social, political, economic, artistic, and spiritual contributions to society and the world at large.
The first documented cases date back to the mid-15th century in groups of European businessmen who embarked on a new venture requiring human capital in the form of enslaved Africans. Today, DBLS afflicts millions of white people across North America where it has secured a particularly firm foothold at every level of government and law enforcement.
DBLS is an insidious and unrelenting disease that does double harm by inflicting its white host with a debilitating sense of privilege even as it systematically snuffs out the life force of Black people everywhere.
It is time we shed a light on DBLS and expose the horrifying ways it continues to ravage the lives of black men and women. If a fraction of the attention ALS has received over the past month were to be directed to the eradication of DBLS? Well, I might just get a bucket of ice water and take my chances with this ringing in my ears.
Oh... one more thing.
I'd like to be so bold as to suggest the following as a gesture of solidarity in combating DBLS.
Dear white folks who are aware of the privilege your skin bestows upon you, your family members and future descendants; who understand the status, opportunities and power that arise from being born with white skin; who know without a doubt that your lives mean something simply because you are here...
Grab your camcorders and head to your local McDonald's or nearest convenience store, purchase a small jug/carton of milk, imagine that your eyes are egg yolks being nuked in a microwave oven, your throat is a raw and open sore, you can't breathe through your nose, your coughing can't be quelled. Now open the milk jug/carton, tilt your head back and pour over your face while thinking of the dehumanizing effect tear gas (along with water hoses, ropes, chains, batons, and handcuffs) has on the disenfranchised who out of sheer exasperation and grief take to the streets to protest any number of the world's many injustices because it's the only way their rage will be acknowledged; their voices heard.
Now put that up on Facebook and YouTube and watch how viral you go. #milkjugchallenge