The Look of Accountability

Social media has shown us, in real time, that some events that take a great deal of time can lead to minimal payout. Despite the violence and chaos needed to produce the Voting Rights Act, much of it was easily dismantled by a government unwilling to accept accountability for any wrongdoing. Under many circumstances, people have incorrectly decided that anything which takes a long time will still feel righteous when they conclude. In truth, there are many battles that become emotionally stagnant thanks to distant victories.

During the Reconstruction, many Black communities erupted that were separate from the “main” communities. Various services were available, and Black people did everything to keep social engagement worthwhile. Instead of honoring agreements to allow segregated areas, the “main” communities attacked Black areas with ceaseless violence while remarking on the “dangers” of Black people. No one even cared to legislate against such violence until over 100 years after proposing a bill, long after the first people involved had died. There has never truly been any accountability for such blatant violations of trust.

Another failure stems from the creation of suburbs and the highways that helped. When white communities fled from Black people living separate lives, they further destroyed Black communities by demanding a way to speed past “undesirables.” After decades of fighting against Black communities, municipal governments decided to simply displace residents so that white people could enjoy neighborhoods that Black people built. Suddenly, there was “new urbanism” and “transit-oriented development” born of expelling Black people to the suburbs white people no longer desired. Yes, white people finally respected cities, but only after getting rid of people they hated.

Finally, even Black leisure was destroyed without a trace of remorse for the disruption. Bruce’s Beach was a Black Beach created so that Black people could enjoy the shore in Southern California. However, as was normally the case, the local government decided that Black people deserved no pleasure and took away the beach for its own profit. When one observes land values in Southern California, it is obvious how much wealth was stripped at the whim of whiteness. Now, because of zoning laws--also created to deprive Black people of wealth–the family has chosen to sell the land, weary of the battle.

Generally speaking, apologies are meaningless because people demonstrate their lack of remorse through their actions. True accountability would be restorative, but this nation has long refused to soothe its destructive actions. Will accountability ever look right? Under the dominant narrative, such a feat is impossible. Therefore, people need to stop coercing Black people to fight for accountability that ultimately destroys us.

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