“If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need to do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way.”
“Art of War” Sun Tzu, Chinese General and Philosopher
Reflecting on the no-bill indictment by the Ferguson grand jury in the shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, I realized two things, 1.) I was not upset and 2.) I was not surprised. Nothing about the case was surprising. In fact, practically every word, every reaction, every emotion, every report (both sides), and every protest right down to the grand jury’s decision not to indict, was predictable. Even more disturbing is that Michael Brown’s alleged reaction to Officer Wilson was predictable. The only thing about this case that perhaps was not predictable was the extent to which Michael Brown allegedly, reacted.
As stated in the above referenced quote by Sun Tzu, the best way to avoid a fight is to surprise your enemy by doing something out of the ordinary, for which your enemy has not accounted. In other words, don’t be so predictable. You see, when your enemy is able to predict your moves and reactions they (enemy) control you, your behavior, your progress, where you are, where you’ve been and where you are going. Sound familiar black America? This is just what white America has over us; you/me/we are predictable. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s examine for a moment one of our (blacks) most predictable reactions.
When a black youth dies at the hands of a white person, police officer or not, law enforcement expects that blacks will march and that certain civil rights advocates will suddenly appear to which law enforcement responds with a show of force. Marching, protesting, and to a lesser extent, rioting were not always predictable behaviors or reactions that whites expected from blacks. This accounts for two of the most successful campaigns in black history, the Underground Railroad and the Civil Rights Movement (success?).
Movements and events such as the Underground Railroad, the March on Washington or incidents such as the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, NC, represent instances according to Sun Tzu of throwing something odd and unaccounted for in the way of the enemy. In other words, instances such as these exhibited unpredictable behaviors and reactions. Unfortunately, because these behaviors and reaction are now predictable, the enemy has the opportunity to prepare and make contingency plans. Once in place these contingencies and counter-measures negate the element of surprise and as Sun Tzu surmised, “All warfare is based on deception.”
Therefore, because the old tactics of marching, protesting and making courthouse step speeches are old hat to the enemy, it becomes necessary for blacks to develop new strategies to begin existing outside the realm of predictability. You see, white America treats black America as a target (no pun intended) audience. Whites create contingency plans for blacks much the same way production teams strategize and plan for shows. Producers in media pitch ideas to test audiences, and politicians take polls in order to know what their respective audiences and constituencies desire.
After doing so producers and politicians make the necessary adjustments to meet the demands of the people. However, in regards to black America, producers and politicians tell blacks what we want, and we make the adjustments to suit what the producers and politicians are prepared for - predictability. It’s not just our reactions that white people can predict either. White people can also predict [their] reactions. For instance, do any of you believe that once Officer Wilson realized the gravity of what occurred, if he (Wilson) ever contemplated going to prison? Not on your life, because Wilson knew how [his] people (whites) would react and guess what? - Wilson was right.
The sad thing about all of this is that it didn’t have to be this way. We blacks brought this on ourselves. Yeah, I know you’re mad, and even that’s predictable, but think about it from outside the realm of predictability. When blacks were living apart from whites and I mean not integrated into the white way of life, blacks were doing fine, lynchings notwithstanding. Although what we are seeing now is just lynching by way of bullets instead of rope but - I digressed.
Yes, blacks were doing just fine. But then for some ungodly reason someone decided that we (blacks) had to go to the same school as whites, drink from the same water fountain as whites, shop at the same stores as whites, and ride in the front of the bus with whites…why? We had our own schools (and fared much better than now), we had our own water fountains, as for stores we still get the same treatment and as for buses most blacks won’t even sit with other blacks. CAN WE TALK?
I liken integration to seeing a suit in the store window, deciding you want the suit and then determined to buy the suit you risk everything to get that suit. However, to your dismay, you discover the suit looked much better in the window. Blacks bought integration in the 60s, tried it on in the 70s, realized it (integration) didn’t fit in the 80s, sent [it] to the tailor in the 90s and now in the 2000s are making every effort to return it, minus the wrappings and the receipt. What’s worse is there is no store to which to return it. Thus, in lieu of the inability to return integration blacks have decided, as the courts would say to, ‘constructively evict’ themselves from society. In other words, blacks are turning off the heat in their own apartments making the apartments uninhabitable.
Sadly, however, even this behavior is predictable because it is exactly what whites expect
- Kill one another, don’t vote, march, protest, give speeches
- Watch reality television
- Stampede stores to buy flat screen TVs and video games
- Disrespect authority -parents, elders, and worse, police officers who know that killing blacks is of no consequence
- Focus on fame and fortune instead of family and friends
- Dress in prison garb and plaster your bodies with ink because it makes you ‘happy’
- Brag about participating in foolishness (ice bucket challenges) but you won’t participate in Spelling Bee Challenges
Shall I go on?
The bottom line peeps, predictability is poisonous. You will know what not being predictable looks and sounds like when you hear things like, “uppity”, “arrogant”, “you don’t talk like the others, or put that Negro in his or her place. I would gladly suffer the ire of those words for the sake of my people and my posterity, how about you?
“When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.”
“Art of War” Sun Tzu
Written by Jay Arrington, Maryland Daily Examiner & Real World Politics Radio
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