The Vestiges of Racism, while blaming the victim – The Murders during the week of July 4, 2016
The week of July 4, 2016 started with great fanfare. Many beamed with pride as the Nation celebrated its independence, although some African-Americans pondered the great Frederick Douglass’ comments admonishing those claiming freedom and independence for all, while at the same time the country was in the height of slavery!
Then, all hell broke loose, first there was the murder in Baton Rouge, LA of Alton Sterling based on the allegation of brandishing a gun. That was followed by the murder in Falcon Heights, MN of Philando Castile, based on the allegation he must have been reaching for his permitted gun. That was all followed by the retaliatory killings in Dallas, Texas at the hands of Micah Xavier Johnson who shot 12 people, mostly law enforcement and the result was five lost their lives. All three of these horrific incidents were in States that permit “open-carry.”
Across the nation and the world people have responded, both pro and con. Many have exercised their constitutional right to vocalize their protest. Some have taken to talk shows and other media to pontificate or otherwise authenticate their positions. Yet, some have retreated to the time-tested reaction of blaming the victims for their own demise.
“If only people would obey the police officer’s command, these shootings would cease,” could be heard from folk who in our opinion are a bit out of tune.
The vestiges of Racism
Regardless of your historical understanding of Racism, certain facts are undeniable. Racism is a construct created by Europeans to divide people. Racism is used to evoke power over another group. That is why it is next to impossible for ethnic groups other than Whites to be accused of employing Racism. Bias, perhaps! Prejudice, maybe…. but not Racism in its true form to oppress or marginalize others.
No doubt, fast forward and there is agreement much progress has been done to “level the playing field” so that all can enjoy equality. Unfortunately, that paradigm is short-lived, especially if you are Black, particularly in the under-belly of society where there is extreme poverty. The reason, you are viewed “less than” or not equal, or in the case of Sterling and Castile you are defined by extreme suspicion.
We are careful to point out not all police who have felt they had to kill someone, justified or not are all-white. Our point is often times, those dying or getting killed happen to be Black.
Additionally, we too mourn the loss of life of those officers killed or injured in Dallas or anywhere, where they were simply doing their job.
The annals of history are filled with antidotes and examples of police brutality. While the history is replete with killings of African-Americans by the police and some who happen to also be African-American it is simply something the system allows. At the same time, can you find any instance where Blacks or non-whites have killed White people at the rates in which Blacks suffer? The answer is very simple; you will have to dig really deep to find an example. And the reason is because society, people or the system of racism will not tolerate it.
Millions of people applauded and supported Barack Obama’s notion to run for the presidency. For most African-Americans the thought was it would never happen. Many others considered it a lark. The reality is what made Obama’s run intriguing was he did not appear tainted or have any visible luggage which would surely doom any thoughts of running.
What Obama proved during his notion of running for the office as well as his subsequent victories was he was/is a professional politician who proclaimed his African-American ancestry. This created great consternation for some, even African-Americans who have attempted to wedge-hole him into something he isn’t or in their minds a complete failure of their ideal of how he should behave.
The realty is simple. The reason there where so many tears once Obama declared victory on November 4, 2008 was not Obama the person in living flesh. It represented the symbol that a Black man, an African-American could achieve this election to the highest office in the free-world.
The Realty and the Sacrifice
Obama’s realty brought in a new day where extreme sacrifice would be necessary by those who supported him. The racist, the haters and those who simply have found their order of life turned upside down have been working overtime since that historic day in November.
Interestingly, today during Dr. Wilmer Leon’s national show, “Insides the Issues,” noted civil rights heroine Dr. Ruby Sales was very quick to offer caution to all the so-called social media revolutionaries about the plight and navigation Obama must employ in dealing with such a hostile crowd in Congress, as well as opponents at large. “You may think it is easy for Obama, but trust me it is not. You all need to use some common sense,” were the words of Sales as she spoke with great passion and credibility earned from the work she has performed.
They have been extremely busy in uncapping the overt racism and hatred which had been somewhat suppressed. For the last seven years plus there has been one incident after another and the undisputed denominator centers around race.
That is the burden Obama has accepted as well as those who support what he represents. As the late Dr. King would tell his supporters as they were getting involved in the “movement,” this may result in some of you losing your jobs, having your loan called in, losing your house, and for some it will result in losing your life.” As we look back to what has happened this week and reflect on all the other instances during the past several years we are clearly reminded of Dr. King’s words.
We Want Our Country back
Obama was barely in office, yet those who opposed any support to him, let alone the nation they proclaimed to love were left on the sidelines shouting, “we want our country back!” That slogan becomes laughable if not perplexing as many wonder what time they are talking about? Therein lies the code words or “dog-whistle” echoes of those who swear there is not a racist bone in their body, yet they simply cannot explain their dislike for a person who doesn’t look like them! It is further remarkable that a dissident group of elected officials, including Newt Gingrich and John Boehner attended a dinner at the Caucus Room restaurant the same day Obama was sworn into office! Their goal was very clear; to establish a strategy to block Obama’s presidency.
During the past years the media has been flooded with professional pundits. They take great pleasure to authenticate any subject that is considered newsworthy.
An interesting phenomenon is when African-Americans cry foul on issues, the media and the programs have become very proficient in finding some African-Americans who will disagree or otherwise validate the position they must be incorrect in their thinking.
There is always one!!
During the past week, in addition to the Milwaukee policeman chief, Dr. Carol Swain has allowed herself to be manipulated to offer commentary that sadly is the very thing or strategy the establishment has used over and over. Of course the usual suspects are found eager to grab the mic. Those such as Alan West, Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain and others are very eager to diffuse any notion that Blacks are mistreated. Their claim or perspective is embarrassing! “The people got what they deserve!!” “It’s Obama’s fault.” “They need to pull themselves up…..like I did.” on and on to justify the angle the media wants to project.
In Swain’s case…….From blaming the victim to giving other thought, she is too quick to never agree that any claim brought by an African-American has any merit. As a matter of fact talk show host, Michael Smerconish was left in amazement at what he was hearing. Yet, the current media is clamoring to book her on their programs because that is the narrative producers must present to justify why Blacks keep getting shot and killed by the police.
“But whenever a black man stands up and says something that white people don’t like then the first thing that man does is run around to try and find somebody to say something to offset what has just been said. This is natural but it is done.” Malcolm X
The Hood/The Ghetto
One more point. Why is it whenever the broad-based media describes the ‘hood or Ghetto it is automatically inferred to be deficient? Are there any educated people there? Are there any who may own businesses, let alone have full employment? Are there any with homes nicer than many in the suburb? Is there any thought that some prefer to live there for whatever reason pleases them?
While the public is left pondering what happens next? Most agree, until Racism is knocked down will these problems start any modicum of resolution.
Some of you understand it’s the Racism that propels law enforcement to automatically assume those African-Americans they stop are criminals and must have deserved whatever they got. The question is fear being one thing, why do those who are trained in public safety react so quickly to pull their gun in the first place when confronting an African-Americans? Why do they devalue others lives when the threats appear to not warrant such reaction?
Then again perhaps due to your cultural conditioning you do not buy into the Racism paradigm as the core of the problem? Perhaps, you dismiss such a simple explanation. Or, perhaps you accept its Obama’s fault? After all, since his presidency……..race has been a lightening rod issue. Some have intimated, if the nation had not elected Obama in the first place none of the killings we have witnessed would have never occurred! Most know too well that is a ridiculous thought and instead point to the sacrifice we must deal with as our society plows forward, including having the courage to elect an African-American as president of the United States.
Then again you may proudly proclaim those stopped by the police must adhere to any and every command, thus problems such as we experienced would not happen, let alone escalate to the conclusions we have witnessed. Or, you may point to skewed statistics that show there is higher crime amongst Blacks and in their community, or you may feel they simply are inherent to crime? There much be an explanation to your perspective? There must be some reason to justify why the police fires into a car with a woman and a 4-year-old child? There must be some reason why a suspect was pinned down by two police, yet firing a bullet into that person was their solution for him “not complying?”
We would encourage you to continue to get informed, get knowledge – ditch the blame game and try to generate a thought process which allows you to be proactive and solution-oriented versus business as usual.