On the Abandonment of Previous Policies for Communicating with Those in Charge

Photograph by Jose Padua
I’ve never smacked my son’s hand to keep him
from reaching for the pot of boiling water. I
grab his hand and hold him calmly instead. I’ve
never sent my daughter to bed without supper
for random acts of disrespect. I don’t speak the
language of violence and deprivation to them.
If they happen to begin a conversation using
that language I don’t use it to answer them back
because that’s not how I wish to continue the
discussion and because whenever possible I try
to speak the language of peace. But when it comes
to the slumlords, the corporate con men, and those
pale supremacists of the hierarchy in power, violence
is the only language they understand. A brick through
the window is simply an effective way to communicate
with the disappearers of men and women and all the
other hoarders of privilege and intolerance, because
broken windows are like the speaking of so much
broken English—an attempt at telling those for whom
the subtleties of poetry and language are lost
exactly what the fuck is going on. And because
sometimes simple obedience is like a carton of milk
that expired a month ago and is still for sale at
the corner store. Don’t buy it, don’t drink it. Just
translate it into language they can understand.

-Jose Padua

Photograph of the Baltimore skyline by Jose Padua

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