Inauguration Day


Decades from now, how will we talk about the men in the red hats?


There they were on inauguration day, old white men,

clad in business suits, donning red hats,

emerging from the shadows in their uniform of oppression.


The uniform is less obvious, perhaps,

than the red arm bands and swastikas of the third reich;

or the hoods and capes of the KKK;

or the beards and hijabs of ISIL;

but they are uniform, organized, and malicious just the same.


White folks think “domestic terrorism” is a new phenomenon,

which began on September 11, 2001.


Our sisters and brothers of color know all too well

that the roots of terrorism run much too deep in America.


Terrorism is our “inaugural” narrative.

Terrorism was our inaugural address

to the inaugural peoples of this beautiful land.

Terrorism names the logic by which we created the racial caste system,

and systemically built a white economy on the backs of black bodies.

Terrorism is segregation laws and lynching mobs in the Jim Crow South.

Terrorism is a disproportionately black prison population,

and a disproportionately white senior level work force.


These are old truths to roughly 3/5ths of Americans,

but for the dominant majority,

these truths have been less than self-evident.


Today, may this truth walk out of the shadows.

May the scales fall from our eyes.

May those of us who have been blind,

finally see and name systemic oppression for what it is—

domestic terrorism.


May we recognize the uniform of oppression,

note our own relation to that uniform,

and by the power of the people,

may we peacefully and creatively dismantle it.


And may we do so with expediency.

After all, it’s inauguration day.

Let’s get to work.

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