I'm not an ally; I am a co-belligerent.

I’ve been protesting since I could walk.  Born to politically-active and socially-conscious university professors, I was born in Spain on the day when bulls run through the streets so I’ve been under attack my whole life. In the mid-80’s while in high school, my brother and I would drive down from Cleveland to Washington D.C. to stand in front of the South African Embassy with fists held high. We marched against Reagan and the Contras, and my brother drove his car south to Managua and donated his car to a doctor with the Sandinistas. I was living in Jordan during the first Intifada, wearing a checkered keffiyeh as I marched in solidarity with Palestinians, even though I had Jewish relatives living right across Jordan River.   

As for my parents, my father and mother where living in North Carolina in the early 60’s after returning from the Peace Corps in Tanganyika. They joined sit-ins at places like the Woolworth's lunch counter and later, my father was asked to leave the non-violent Civil Rights Movement after he brawled with the Klan during the Freedom Rides. Jews can’t help but fight back. Resistance is in my blood. 

When the Black Lives Matter Movement blossomed from the rainbowed-ashes of Trayvon’s murder seven years ago, I marched the streets with my fellow brothers and sisters. And I’ve been loud and proud about the Cause ever since.  

And I’ve never thought of myself as an Ally.

I’m too white to be trusted.

Think of it this way:  The United States and the USSR were allies in World War II, not because they had similar democratic values but rather a hatred of Nazism. And what happened the day after the war ended? Those allies turned on each other as enemies. The Cold War emerged, the smiles and handshakes in Berlin became glares and threats in Havana.  

Allies will betray you when their self-interest is threatened.   

I’m not an ally; I am a co-belligerent

BLM should be like Finland. When the Soviets invaded Finland in ‘39, the Finns turned to Germany for protection against a greater threat, the Red Army. The Finns, and men like White Death, were not allies with Germany, they simply had the same enemy.

Part of the reason the Black Lives Matter Movement is gaining momentum now is because of all the white faces in the crowd. At a police brutality protest, the police respond with . . . police brutality.  And white people are finally saying, “Oh shit, this is what y’all been talking about!”

We need to use our white bodies to shield black bodies

And I use the word "shield" instead of "protect" because I refuse to promote the myth of a white savior. Physical intervention creates change. Police only pause when a white face stands before them. Allies stand together; but co-belligerents stand in front and take the bullet.  

The rest of America, hiding in Trump’s bunker like Hitler at the end of the war, is terrified by demands to Defund or Disband the police. Because nothing scares White America more than a world without police. The police have been the overseers/officers, serving and protecting white property, since 1619.

I grew up in Cleveland reading Malcolm X and Che Guevara as an initiation to political consciousness. Many other first occurred in those days: witnessing racial terror, while watching the first television show in my memory, as a white man chopped off Levar Burton’s foot in Roots; and, worshipping my first hero, heavyweight champ Jack Johnson, for beating up a white man a hundred years ago in front of an angry white crowd; and, listening to and learning from Chuck D and KRS-One, spurring me to social activism.  

Yet, I have no idea what it is to be a Black American. Growing up, I would see my friends get followed through Randall Park Mall, but the security guard never questioned me. When I got pulled over down tha way in rough Hough, with a gun under my seat and looking to buy dope, the cops didn’t search my car. They let me go with a white warning, “Get back to the suburbs, son, you don’t belong here.”

They didn’t call me boy, they called me son. The word choice is the difference between life-and-death when uttered by a cop: Boy implies ownership, son requires kinship.  My white coat of armor protected me and I didn’t even know it.  

So, I’m not an ally.  Allies will betray you, allies will turn on you when you are most vulnerable. 

I am a co-belligerent because I’ve never been a pacifist. I completely support the 2nd Amendment. Want the NRA to help regulate firearms?  How about if every Black man and woman went out, bought a gun and joined a gun club. The only time, the ONLY time, the NRA has supported an open carry ban was in ’67 when the Black Panthers marched with loaded rifles to the California State Capitol building.  

We are fighting in the same war, and we are serving in the trenches together. We have the same enemy. Allies feel sympathy and donate money, but right now, the BLM Movement, is war and we need soldiers. And I will fight to the death.

Because when I see a George Floyd slowly and calmly be murdered for 8:46, crying out for his mother, he is a fellow soldier. Breonna Taylor, Eric Gardner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, Michael Brown. They are my family, and I am enraged. What I feel is not the sympathy of an ally, but the anger of losing my own blood.

Nothing more patriotic than American blood spilled on American soil.