“The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. ”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1967 speech at the American Psychology association’s annual convention

In my opinion, the recent announcement by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval’s that he is “fed up with gang activity in Madison,” will inevitably and unfortunately result in the targeting of black and brown people in the poor parts of our city and a paternalistic call to “get our house in order.”

Coming down from the high of Madison’s “Feel-Good” MLK weekend celebration, initiatives will be predictably be launched through the non-profit industrial complex in Dane County to fix the problem. (Important side question: How in the world does an area with the fourth-most non-profits in the nation also have the nation’s worst racial disparities?) Money will be poured in while people will lament the lack of “strong male figures” and declare that more respectability politics are needed. The need for more mentors and job training programs will be called for — now, not that these things are bad things — but the problem is that they don’t address the structural issues of the violence being committed.

These are Band-Aids on gaping wounds.

A few things won’t happen as they criticize this “criminal behavior” so “righteously.” They won’t criticize this nation’s foreign policy and how we decided, for the most part, to solve our problems internationally with bombs, coup d’etats, and bullying as the American Empire. They won’t criticize how our law enforcement apparatus also uses violence to solve many of its problems, mostly against poor black and brown folk. And they won’t truly demand that the apparatuses that create the poverty that give birth to the crime they so adroitly criticize will be changed.

The trick that is played is they feign concern for such things, and call for solutions. Of course, our leaders, decision makers, and policy makers want “peace,” who wouldn’t? Of course they want an “end to poverty,” who wouldn’t? We all want to end discrimination, right?

But, there will always be excuses of not enough money to invest in black communities. With the results being a womb-to-prison pipeline instead of a womb-to-Bascom Hill pipeline. Black America has been in an economic depression for years upon years.

The economic comparison of the current state of black America is that of the United States during the great depression, but for many decades longer.

The slums and ghettos were not created by African Americans. These communities — with limited and sometimes negative economic investment — were not created by African-Americans. It’s a history we’ve had endure. A history of economic robbery, human robbery, and the robbery of life, is not a history that was created by African-Americans. It’s a history we’ve had to endure.

The long history of lynching, the burnings and bombings, the prison-industrial complex, and an intentionally unjust justice system, has not been something created by African Americans. It’s a history we’ve had to endure.

Any darkness in America’s black communities, are darknesses not of our creation. As it is a darkness that has been thrust upon us, it is one we’ve had to endure.

If one wants to really honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, then you would be demanding that this darkness is lifted. You would demand that a massive redistribution of wealth happen, all across the country, and, yes, one that does includes white people. But, would be equitable in its deployment. You would demand that the trillions and trillions we’ve spent on burning and looting abroad would be spent on peaceful endeavors, on communities here and abroad that have suffered under the slums and ghettos of our own creation. You would demand an end to the violence of the police and our unjust justice system. You would demand that there would be no more Doyle Squares until we have an equitable city, a city free of oppression.

Instead, the voices that are “fed up” of the violence here won’t demand any of that. They will find many different excuses, but the level of investment and commitment needed by our city won’t happen.

Yes, our city can’t fix everything, but it can do a lot. Too many decision makers have no will to make the changes that must be made, at every level of government. Too many don’t have interest in doing so. Unfortunately, the system is designed so that those that do have interest don’t last long in it.

They must do what they can at the position where they are while 99 percent (not a real statistic) pass the buck. Enough will power can make the change. Until that time, if it ever comes, we must all call out the moral hypocrisy of our so-called leaders. It is our moral responsibility to be vocal about their hypocrisy. It is our moral responsibility to disrupt and put pressure on them in every way possible.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t trying to make anyone’s seat comfortable; he was disruptive, divisive and confrontational. He put his reputation on the line at every turn; even many black leaders disliked him at the moment of his murder.

All black leaders — all leaders — must understand the legacy of King wasn’t his non-violence, and it sure as hell isn’t the myth of his respectability politics. It was him speaking of a radically different America. Never forget, King was calling for radical shifts in power, wealth, and lived values.