Thanksgiving celebrates genocide. I don't know when I first came to the realization that that's what this holiday represents, but it was most likely during the Civil Rights era when so much of the American mythos was put to the test.
We had been lied to all our lives in other words, lies and damned lies about the past that made it out to have been a struggle won by the righteous. Well, no. Not so. The righteous continued to struggle, nothing had been won but a sham, it was all false -- and how many millions had been slaughtered and enslaved in the process?
How many millions? The mythos didn't know. The mythos didn't care.
We were to believe that's done is done, and we can't go back and we can't fix it. White folks are good and true and righteous, everyone else is a savage or suspect or unworthy.
That's the story we were told, but I didn't believe it from a very early age because I spent a good portion of my early childhood among people of color. They weren't called this at the time, however. They were called Greasers, Beaners and Niggers, but when you're a kid, those words don't necessarily carry the sting they do when you get older. They're just words, and they don't really have anything to do with people. It takes a while to learn that words like that can hurt badly.
I lived the first ten years of my life among people of color and I didn't become socialized to the fear of the Other that seems to influence so much of world view of white folks to this day.
It didn't occur to me that there anything at all to fear from brown folk and black folk, but I knew from a very early age that there was plenty to fear from white folk. The ones in charge, you know? Some of them were purely evil in so many ways that you had to be on the alert all the time -- or you might not survive.
We, the children, black, brown, and white, all seemed to be aware of who we had to watch out for and be afraid of, and it was always white kids and white adults in positions of power. Always. They could hurt you, and they did.
But the mythos says no, white folks were kindly and generous and righteous, and I knew that some of them were, but when they were kindly and generous and righteous, so often they wound up almost as persecuted and disparaged as black and brown folk were.
This was, after all, the era of Red Baiting and worse. Oh, much worse.
Thanksgiving celebrates the genocide of the Indians by these righteous, kind and generous white folks. They did their duty. They cleansed first the eastern seaboard, then the rest of the country of the taint of the Savages. They brought their slaves over from Africa to serve their needs and demands. They fought one another and they killed whatever they designated as the Other with impunity.
The Other scares the holy shit out of them. Murderous rampages are the result. It has ever been thus, but if you're not socialized to fear the Other, as I wasn't, you run the risk of being designated the Other and being rampaged against yourself.
How well I know. How well so many Americans know.
Police violence is a direct descendant of the genocidal, massacring, murderous rampages that made this land what it is, that we celebrate at Thanksgiving.
I've been studying police violence for decades and have written extensively about it. It has become the central social issue of the American people this year thanks to an appalling spate of police killings, so many of them driven by nothing but stark terror of the Other, that has led to the deaths of hundreds, nay more than a thousand, many of them innocent of wrongdoing, this year and every year. People are killed by police because the police in so many cases are terrified of their own shadows, specters they've created in their own minds.
It's insane -- just as the genocidal, massacring, murderous rampages that created this country were.
Recently I came across a video at the Police One site that actually explains how policing has become such a perverted killer culture, and why so many get killed by police year in and year out, and nothing is done about it.
I posted the video here as an example of how police are trained and brainwashed to regard certain designated Others as existential threats fit for nothing but killing. And how the police are trained and brainwashed to believe that killing the Other is their highest accomplishment.
This is psychological abuse of the highest order and this is what leads to scenes like the killing of Tamir Rice in a park, the killing of Michael Brown in the street, the killing of James Boyd on a hillside, and the killing of so many others, at least 1001 since January 1, 2014, according to the tracking site, "Killed by Police."
An analysis of this insane training video is, I believe, long overdue, for this trainer, (Lt Col) Dave Grossman, had been spreading his theories and philosophy of "Killology" among police and military recruits unchallenged for a very long time.
From his perspective, a perspective shared by police and military alike, the highest accomplishment of a police officer is to kill -- to kill the designated Other, with neither remorse nor regret. According to Grossman, police are sheepdogs, the Other is the Wolf -- a veritable demon -- whose death at the hands of police is the purpose of the sheepdog's life.
When Brave Officer Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on Canfield Drive that hot August noon, he was fulfilling the purpose of his life, just as Brave Officer
That is what they are trained to believe their purpose in life is: to kill, without conscience or remorse, whatever is deemed a threat to the lives of the Good People, the Sheep as it were, that sheepdogs -- the Police and the military -- are assigned to "protect."
But what happens to these theories when the sheepdogs become the threat?
Who do the sheepdogs work for, anyway? It's not the sheep, that's for sure. Who or what are they protecting?
I resisted the cult and the theories that this insane freak (Lt Col) Dave Grossman propounds, but when I realized that his theories are largely responsible for the huge number of killings and other abuse by police in this country, and they probably form the psychological basis of so much of the killing by Our Valiant Forces abroad, and that it all amounts to a secular cult of killing, I realized I'd better take a closer look.
But the fact is, I don't want to look closer. It's vile. What Grossman propounds is clearly an effective means to warp and perverting the minds of police and military, too.
How to corral and overcome it becomes a fundamental question for the survival of the people who face this deadly police culture every day.
That's what the protests against police violence and murder all over the country and spreading around the world are all about.
Overcoming the madness.
I give thanks that so many people are waking up to the necessity to overcome this madness, to end the slaughter, to curb the police.
But the struggle isn't done, but more and more police seem to be waking up, too.
Let's hope so.