The Conscious Corner by Maceo Z. Keeling, Sr. –
Clearly the body of humanity has been invaded by an illness that cannot be cured with a simple inoculation or a pill.
It grows like a cancer and feeds on ignorance, lies, fear, and hate. This illness is no less than a monster, so I’ll call it “the Beast.”
Symptoms include but are not limited to: physical and mental trauma, social unrest, and chaos in the streets. Its hold on the body of humanity is catastrophic worldwide. The Beast seems impossible to eradicate from humankind, but I will set forth some ideas of how we can begin to remove it from our society.
Eradicating It From the Root
First, think about “eradicate.” It means to remove “from” (ex-) “the root” (radix). And that’s what we must do.
Think about what good physicians do: they listen! When the good doctor hears I have Racism Syndrome, her visceral reaction might be to get to the root of the cause.
The doctor may ask: “Are you experiencing unemployment, poverty, homelessness, unfair housing practices, disparities in healthcare, police brutality, political disenfranchisement, educational and economic inequities, racial profiling, and mischaracterization of who you are?”
You may respond: “Yes. No. Sometimes. Episodically.” Or, “to all of the above, yes.”
The doc wonders, “How do we kill the Beast that is America’s Racism Syndrome? How do we root it out?”
Don’t React Negatively: Act Positively
If we settle for the firings, indictments, and convictions of the police officers who kill unarmed, innocent black people; if we dismantle police departments altogether; if we react negatively without acting positively, then we have missed the boat.
We need to sail onboard the USS Opportunity for global evolution, make a worldwide call to stand up for all that is good and righteous! Here are just a few ideas I would like to set forth as ways to reorient our funding and support from policing to developing our neighborhoods, communities, and families.
Establish Black Enterprise Zones subsidized by city, state, and federal agencies—including NC Education Lottery funds—to build self-sustainability within our own communities.
Require all city, state, and federally funded projects to have a percentage participation of blacks equal to or above the area’s percentage of black residents.
Establish and fund community-appointed oversight committees to verify proper use of all funds going to Black Enterprise Zones.
Offer tax breaks for black-owned start-ups.
Build low-cost, high-efficiency housing to address homelessness and unsafe housing—at a cost far less than settling more lawsuits over the loss of human life.
Create and fund a community oversight liaison for public housing authorities and predominantly black communities.
Establish pathways for residents of subsidized housing to purchase their homes at low cost to gain equity and build inheritable family wealth.
Waive the cost of annual wellness visits for all people regardless of insurance coverage (private, corporate, public, or none).
Redirect funds from policing and prisons to building neighborhood clinics staffed by quality physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.
Use NC Education Lottery funds and redirected police budgets to establish a fund for black children who are identified as uniquely talented—as all children are talented—to support community-based oversight teams for exceptional-child development.
Recruit and hire retired teachers to work with exceptional children at all stages of growth and development.
Raise public school teachers’ pay to professional, executive levels.
Safety & Security
Require all public safety departments to dispose of all unneeded riot gear, surplus military gear, tanks, and other materiel that is inappropriate for policing (as opposed to military operations)—and prohibit the sale or disposal of that materiel to private militias or similar organizations.
Require all police officers, sheriff’s deputies, state highway patrol officers, and other safety personnel to wear body cams at all times when on duty.
Require all police-owned vehicles to have video cameras operating as soon as an incident begins (when called in, on a chase, when responding to a call, etc.).
Require all body cams and dash cams, with GPS locating systems, to be turned on at all times when on duty.
Make all body-cam and dash-cam footage available as public records at the request of anyone involved in an incident; their family members; their attorney; a district attorney; elected public officials. (The only exception is to protect the privacy of innocent bystanders.)
We must understand that the Beast sucks the life from everyone. It steals our attention from self-improvement, distracts us from social development, diverts money from community investment, exhausts us from participating in LIFE! All of us—black, white, brown, yellow, red; rich, poor, working-class, just getting along; homeless, McMansioned, renters, owners, tenants and landlords; single, married, GLBTQ, families, empty-nesters; grandchildren and great-grandparents—all of us are vested in this struggle, and its outcome.
When the symptoms are clear but the causes are hidden, we must recognize the difference…and root out every tentacle, cut off every fiber, and sever every Medusa’s head from the Beast. Now is the time, and the opportunity, to begin.
Hidden Causes Coming to Light
The hidden causes are exposed—systemic racism at the highest power centers in the land; the truth about bigotry, buried beneath lies, white robes of hate, and ignorance, has come into the light of the global consciousness. The truth is that this is not just “a black crisis”; it is a global crisis. But it’s not too big to attack, for the entire world is in the fight, even as it attacks the entire world. Like the unimaginable work the world is doing to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, we now—at last—see that what was believed to be impossible, is possible, if we work together, as one people, on this planet.
We are compelled to act! And there is good news: we have help from a greater Consciousness. The Beast will see its inevitable demise under the enlightenment of our raised consciousness! We will have the victory.
Maceo Keeling is the principal of the consulting company Asheville Business Accelerator; he is available to discuss and expound on any of these and other topics these difficult times demand. Call (828) 989-6999.
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