As I’m sure many of you are aware, the Standing Rock Native American Reservation has been growing in prominence recently in the media. This is largely due to the impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the land. There has been a lot of uproar and protest and what has really caught my attention is the treatment some of these people have been receiving..for defending land they have a right to.
Now some people, many whom continue to believe in corporate America, have expressed support for the pipeline. I try to read both sides to get a clear picture and I’ve seen some people address the low risk and the due care they are taking as well as the better flow of oil compared to rail or trucks transport.
And yet repeatedly I think people seem to just miss the point of who has the right to the land to begin with. As we lose our humanity for the steady increase in the value of the dollar (I’m Canadian so unfortunately I’m at a loss here), I see the spark slowly creating embers.
The people are beginning to unite against this system that was never made for us. To the Natives who have time and time again been disrespected, from the beginning of American as well as Canadian history, I have something I really want to see, a what if of sorts.
It seems that many white individuals who become uneasy when they see minorities protesting or fighting back always have this common argument. “Why should I beat myself over something my ancestors did over 150 years ago. Me, nor my mother, nor grandmother, even great- had nothing to do with it. Why should I feel sorry when I’m a different person?” My reaction to this goes two ways. I understand how you’re feeling. But there is a difference in acknowledging this and using it as an excuse not to speak out against injustice, and using it as a tool in being an ally to those faced with injustice.
I’m a believer in karma, but I’d rather save that for a different post. So let me just put this what if scenario out there.
So all the blacks, native americans, and people in LGBTQ communities let go of the past. Everybody wipes their hands and history continues. We say, “it happened so long ago, why penalize this generation for their ancestors wrongdoings?” Now tell me this. What if our generation saw an uprising. The full on overthrow of white supremacy. Not only that, but a whole shift in the makeup of the country. The natives and blacks come in to power and within 150 years, the roles have been reversed. The descendants of white people in this new generation now fight the same injustice and inequality. The same failing system of Capitalism which has slept in the same bed of institutionalized racism. In this new generation, blacks and natives are abusing their power to reap the most benefits out of the system. Would you tell these people, your descendants to “just shut up and get to work. To live under this way of life and not complain about it, be soft, or be a ‘social justice warrior’?” Based on your current take on things, you would likely be in agreement with the natives and blacks in this new generation who simply dismiss this notion that their is a severe problem with the system. You would agree with them when they say “what am I supposed to do about something that happened 150 years ago that has nothing to do with what’s going on now. Everyone has the rights to the same thing so what are you complaining about? Stop being lazy.”
What would you do?