What’s Going On? A Reflection on the Not Guilty Verdict of Kyle Rittenhouse

In 1971, 50 years ago, Marvin Gaye released his song entitled ‘What’s Going On?’, which was written by  Renaldo Benson, Al Cleveland, and Marvin Gaye on a subsidiary label of Motown Records, Tamla

The song was inspired by a police brutality incident that was witnessed by Renaldo Benson. Mr. Gaye was singing to us about what was going on in the ’70s, in the African American community by making this statement, “You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some understanding here today.” He also used his lyrics to address the family which represents the African American community and culture. This ideology seems to suggest that there are expectations that we should have concerning our own solutions and answers to address What’s Going On.

But how do we get over the anger, frustration, and disappointments of watching What’s Going on?

“Talk to me so you can see, what’s going on”

Historically, what’s going on in our society is usually reflected in our music, politics, media, and art just to name a few. However, it’s the negative reflections that generate the most adverse conversations that have the most unanswered questions, along with multiple solutions that seem to be most relevant to all. It’s not like what’s been going on is hearsay or false historical accounts, or rumors because we’re watching the news along with the internet. It’s not like racism isn’t blatant in our society because some of us are experiencing it in our communities and workplaces, for example. It’s not like people of color haven’t questioned the democratic processes because what’s going on may not be wrong according to a court of law, but it certainly isn’t right either.

“Picket lines and picket signs”

Some may feel that Mr. Gaye’s question via the title, ‘What’s Going On’ can still be posed today because unfortunately what was going on in the ’70s is still going on within and surrounding America’s society. For example, the recent Not Guilty verdict of Kyle Rittenhouse.

Many people may not understand the scope of the type of evidence or why and how it convinced a jury to acquit the young man. But what we do know is that the law can be interpreted in many ways. The problem is that we must address the original intent of the democratic process, the Constitution and its language, what was said vs what was meant, and for whom, and then react responsibly.  And that takes a different kind of unification. For example, allegedly, how does an armed white male, allegedly take to the streets to protect his community and allegedly unarmed people are shot and killed, and the shooter be found not guilty of all charges? 

Meanwhile, people of color are arguing if he was from another race/color, the case would have went differently. And why do we think that? And why would that be true?

“Father Father We don’t need to escalate. You see war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate”

There were many conversations leading up to the Rittenhouse case decision that varied from previous related cases and their outcomes to how could any jury not convict him. How can the law be interpreted in such a way that makes an (allegedly) armed man not guilty of shooting (allegedly) unarmed people? One could argue that the young man put himself in a hostile environment, which had the possibilities of violence. Therefore, and if violence would be present then he chose his weapon of choice? The street arguments were mostly centered around racism, privilege, equality, and what needs to happen. But in a court of law, the arguments are about intent and culpability. And somehow the defense lawyers won over a jury with evidence that proved beyond any doubt that the young man was innocent.

“Brother Brother Brother there’s far too many of you dying”

Hypothetically, White America could possibly argue that we don’t see them getting upset when we gun down our own people. And the POC could argue that now you know how it feels to have your own killed while unarmed. This argument could go on and on. But maybe the arguments could be addressed by each side addressing themselves. And here’s why:

This young man’s mother allegedly dropped him off with the AR-15 rifle. One can only imagine why 2 people lost their lives and no one is held responsible. If protecting property was the original intent, then that relates to the Constitution because protecting land and what’s on the land was the focus. It stands to reason that while slaves (property) were considered 1/5th human, and a war was fought, that the Constitution should be revisited and written to include us all as equal because we all were not included in the “We The People” part. This thing with racism in America needs to be addressed in the African American community from the inside out, as well white america. The reality is that other races may sympathize and even share similar experiences but who wants to exchange places with POC when they see what’s going on? Let’s not think for 1 minute that we don’t love who we are, we just desire reciprocity.

Is Justice Attainable?

How are different groups of people ignoring blatant racism? How do people of color not be angry about what’s going on and what has been going on? Perhaps we need to focus on what’s really going on first. For example, If we believe that we are made up of a body (physical) soul (intellect) and spirit (the real you), we must ask ourselves what type of battle we are really experiencing. We tried physical and the intellectual ways of addressing what’s going on, but the laws that don’t include us, have our hands tied, until America admits and agrees that the democratic processes are flawed and needs to be revisted. We as a whole have not tried to address what’s going on spiritually. Why do you think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s way of thinking was shut down? He also knew who our, meaning mankind’s, true enemy is: the devil.

Here’s a quote from the movie, ‘The Usual Suspects’, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”, Roger “Verbal” Kint.

With that being said, along with all that has been said, it’s time to really think about what’s going on and maybe address it spiritually. Maybe then racism won’t be a taught behavior, maybe the democratic processes will be revisted to include all. Maybe if we prayed more for each other, then we’d become more relatable to each others issues without bias. Maybe if we loved more then we’d be quick to forgive and move forward. Maybe if we treated each other fair, and learned how to problem solve and listen more without our opinions then, maybe just maybe we could see each other from God’s eyes.

Our creator created us to be different so this argument isn’t about being the same or even thinking the same. We just need to focus on what our purpose here on earth is to do. That’s the unity mentioned earlier. For example, if you have children your focus and purpose should be to raise respectable and responsible adults that can thrive in our world. If you have a business/ministry, you focus should be on building, networking, and supporting others. If you are student, you should be able to focus on your education without worrying about the late walk home from the library. If you are a criminal, you need to be represented and the law should be interpreted fairly for all races. If you are meant to uphold the law then you should be focusing on obeying the laws and not racial profiling and getting away with murder. And the list goes on and on but we have to ask ourselves, at some point, what motivates our thinking and behaviors and address them as a human race. And that starts with the family. That’s what should be going on right now.

‘Right on Right on”

(Disclosure: This is an opinionated view about what’s going on and possible ways to address the issues).