THERE IS NO DEBT OF NON-VIOLENCE

by Lena Potts

I refuse to hear “so much of the violence is coming from the Left now” as a rationale for the open hatred, the validation of bigotry that we’ve seen over the last week.

History does not owe you non-violence, and marginalized people firmly do not owe you non-violence.

Violence was effective when it wiped out the Native Americans, when it colonized continents, when it enslaved Blacks and made them niggers.

White violence has passed through centuries with impunity.

Do not place further burden on historically oppressed people, or overreact to their moments of individual violence when centuries of it has been institutionally forced on them. Non-violence is a difficult choice when it’s something you’ve rarely been shown.

And yet, the non-violent movement remains, and remains strong. The push for non-violence in Black and Brown communities does not come from obligation, but from a drive to be the best we can be. We encourage our children to be non-violent not because it wouldn’t be fair, because burning it all down would be fair, but because we hope to be better than the oppressor.

The oppressor is ignorant, so we will teach our children and communities to be educated. The oppressor is hateful, so we will teach love. The oppressor is violent and weak, and so we will teach them every day to be peaceful and strong- but that is not for you, and you are not owed anything.

We should all be grateful for the quality of character in these aspirations, thankful for our restraint- restraint that has been rarely shown to us.

I maintain my nonviolence as a method of maintaining my own sanity and humanity. That is not for you and I do not owe it to you.