By All Means Necessary
Dear Friends and Family-
We normally send emails in an attempt to sell wine; this has nothing to do with wine or sales. We normally begin our emails with wishes of health and happiness; however, the unfortunate truth is that those wishes becoming reality is not fully possible for all people.
After seeing the The United States Government violate its own constitution by using force to disperse peaceful protesters for the sake of a photo opportunity, our original intent through several email drafts was to show solidarity to Black Lives Matter and all the protesters and to provide an uplifting message to help us all deal with the harsh realities in front of us right now. None of those messages felt right because this shouldn’t be about how we feel here at Idlewild. This message should be about countless others who no longer have a voice.
Racism looks awful when it is expressed as hate, but there are far more insidious forms of racism that we must root out. Ignorance is one. Access is another. Privilege is another. To break this hegemony we need to recognize and understand what this privilege has afforded us (for those that do not know, we are two white males who have certainly benefited from simply being born with a certain color skin)…
- We can go jogging without being hunted down and murdered, unlike Amaud Arbery.
- We can relax in the comfort of our own homes without being murdered by police, unlike Bothem Jean and Atatiana Jefferson.
- We can ask a police officer for help after being in a car crash and not be murdered, unlike Jonathan Ferrell.
- We can ask a fellow civilian for assistance after a car crash without being murdered, unlike Renisha McBride
- We can have a cellphone in our hands without being shot 7 times in the back by police officers, unlike Stephon Clark.
- We can leave a party to get to safety without being shot in the head from behind by police, unlike Jordan Edwards.
- We can play loud music with friends in our cars without being fired upon and murdered by someone with a differing taste in music than our own, unlike Jordan Davis.
- We can sell CD’s without being shot and killed by police, unlike Alton Sterling.
- Our children can sleep without being lit on fire by a flash grenade and subsequently shot by police, unlike seven year old Aiyana Jones.
- We can walk from the corner store without being shot and killed, unlike Michael Brown.
- Our children can play cops and robbers without being shot and killed, unlike twelve year old Tamir Rice.
- We can go to church to worship without being targeted and killed by domestic terrorists, unlike Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson.
- We can walk home with a bag of Skittles without being stalked and killed, unlike Trayvon Martin.
- We can hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party without being fatally shot at by at least 50 rounds, unlike Sean Bell.
- We can party on New Year’s without being held down by police officers and shot in the back, unlike Oscar Grant.
- We can get a normal traffic ticket without harassment that leads to our unlawful arrest and death, unlike Sandra Bland.
- We can lawfully carry a weapon without being shot and killed by police, unlike Philando Castile.
- We can break down on a public road with car problems without worry of being murdered by police, unlike Corey Jones.
- We can shop at Walmart without being shot and killed by police, unlike John Crawford.
- We can have a disabled vehicle and not be shot and killed by police, unlike Terrence Crutcher.
- We can read a book in our own car without being killed, unlike Keith Scott.
- Our children can take a walk with their grandfather without being shot and killed by police, unlike ten year old Clifford Glover.
- We can decorate for a party without being shot and killed by police, unlike fourteen year old Claude Reese.
- We can ask the police a question without being shot and killed, unlike Randy Evans.
- We can cash a check in peace without being shot and killed by police, unlike Yvonne Smallwood.
- We can take out our wallet without being shot 19 times and killed by police, unlike Amadou Diallo.
- We can run without being murdered by police, unlike Walter Scott.
- We can be arrested with dignity and without being choked to death by police, unlike Eric Garner.
- We can have interactions with police that do not result in severe trauma to our spinal cord while in police custody which leads to our death, unlike Freddie Gray.
- We can sleep without police entering with a no knock warrant and murdering us, unlike Breonna Taylor.
- We can be stopped without the fear of being murdered by four police officers, unlike George Floyd.
This list, as hard as it is to read, is just the beginning and only focuses on deaths. Let’s look at something much less horrific: traffic stops. African Americans account for 13.5% of cars on the road, yet 42% of all traffic stops are African American drivers. This is systemic racism. It stretches from children’s education, to housing, to access to healthcare, to a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates people of color, all the way to innocent people being murdered by those who are supposed to be here to protect them.
Apathy is defined as: a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. We can no longer be apathetic. Privilege and the other insidious forms of racism are holes that let in the cruelest forms of hate in this boat we call life, and they will ultimately sink us. We need to constantly be bailing that ugly water out of the boat and working to patch those holes by calling out and standing against all forms of racism we see in our lives, or we all risk drowning. It’s the only way this broken record of tragedy followed by rage is going to reset, and it’s a fight that we need to prepare ourselves for each and every day.
Speaking of rage, many of you may think of the violence that has been seen in our country this past week. While we don’t condone violence ourselves, we understand and are empathetic to how it has come to be. Remember, violent forms of protest are a result of trauma caused by the actions of all of us who have not yet listened to, or risen to, the challenge of being part of the solution. And, this past week’s violence is nothing in comparison to what African Americans have endured at the hands of both our government and our citizenry.
We know this email may have its flaws and mistakes as this subject is extremely difficult to understand and discuss, but we do hope the intent is clear.
We are sorry it took us this long to write this and to face this ourselves. We will be actively working to root out these problems in our community and within our industry each and every day from now on, so a list like the above never has to be written again by our children.
To those of you who find our stance against active and systemic hatred unpleasant or disagree with these beliefs, we respectfully ask you to unsubscribe from these emails and unfollow us on social media.
We keep hearing about the “return to normal” as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. But remember, we get to decide what that new normal is! We urge you to vote, call out racism of all types when you see it, and use whatever platform you may have to continue this action and dialogue for positive change.
“Whether peace by war, or peace by peace, the reality of peace is scary,
But we must get there, one way or another, by all means necessary.”
-KRS-One, Boogie Down Productions
Sam and Thomas