National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Unpopular opinion. I find it difficult to accept some of the rationale offered for the violence in Chicago, my hometown. Let me first start by saying that I am someone who believes in advanced citizenship and personal accountability. That means despite parenting, socio-economics, political orientation or even socialization one must at all times strive to learn and apply what’s right. Now perhaps it is difficult to know what’s right given the pressures of these influences; after all, one might say that these influences collectively represent “the system.” And I admit that overcoming the system can be an all-consuming endeavor. Some might even deny that’s its possible at all.

Nonetheless there can neither be change, advancement, nor progress unless we check these forces, and choose to usurp their influence with our own righteous indignation. This is a test for every soul. So allow me to address for a moment the violence overtaking the Black community on the South Side of Chicago.

Some protest that the violence is due to a lack of education and economic opportunity. Some say it is the fall out from the demolition of public housing. Others, still, say that it is a by-product of the mafia-driven police and political corruption that has plagued the city for more than a century. And of course it is the general consensus that all these things are undergirded by the racist, capitalistic norms that prevail between the Whites and Blacks who live there. In whole, I agree.

However, for the life of me there are some things that I fail to comprehend:



  • If Blacks are beset with people who wish to see their demise and it’s a tactic to maintain dominance, how does violence against one another bring them closer to freedom?
  • If you find yourself among people who discriminate against you and you have even a small economy among yourselves, then why aren’t more investments being internally directed away from those who clearly don’t value you?
  • At the very least, it would seem clear that buying basic goods and services from each other, making multi-generational strides to own lands, interstate and international commerce with other communities of color would solve much of the economic plight, if not create political leverage.
  • If public schools are not providing an adequate education, then why—in an Information Age—are we not educating our own?
  • If hate is all around us, then why are we not turning with all deliberate haste to love, offer compassion and benevolence for our kin and our neighbor?

There is no good sense in the logic that, “If a people with a proven and well-documented history of hate and murder towards you don’t provide you with economic opportunities or an education that it should lead you to kill the families in your own community”—that goes for drugs and any other destructive agent in our communities. On the contrary, it makes us look disturbed and pitiful.

Power yields only to power and at this point, other races don’t even respect us. This is not how you win cultural warfare. You must function in a fashion that is superior to that of your opponent. Blame doesn’t work. You think they don’t know what they’ve done? Moreover, what are we going to do if they never apologize? Do you think that our suffering is ever going to overpower their own self-interests?

Seriously, how do you know—for a fact—that a group of people wish for your eradication and your demise but you still maintain a dependency on them? How do you continue to labor under the expectation that they should do anything for you and then become angry when they don’t, but not turn inward and become and the magnum opus of self-sufficiency and communal love?

At this point I am convinced that while the unsustainable ways of White people certainly represent a significant problem, our greatest problem has nothing to do with them. Who let’s their enemy convince them to commit genocide, then sadly blames the enemy? C’mon! This naivety is housed somewhere between outright stupidity and sheer insanity.

I’m not saying that Whites have not been innovative and enterprising in the way they sought to achieve global dominance. They weren’t the first to have that ambition and won’t be the last. I’m saying it shouldn’t damn matter. I’m saying that I don’t care who it is or how they come. We should never give into anyone’s desire to enslave us physically or mentally no matter how long or how hard they try. Most importantly, I’m saying we certainly shouldn’t be doing the task for them.

Orie Ward is a former lobbyist and political strategist from Chicago, Illinois. He now works as a business architect specializing in innovation strategy and product management for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits and high-potential startups. Follow him @OrieDevon. 



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