Last night, Black America was served up a chilling reminder that justice isn’t for all. Civil and peaceful doesn’t work anymore. We weren’t asking for socialism or reparations or anything of that nature, but simply to be reassured that the words in the Constitution apply to us as well. America doesn’t have a good track record in assuring us of anything, but we hoped that in 2011, with a Black man in office (more on that shortly), we could find the bare minimum of solace in the idea that the police are here to “protect and serve” us just as much as anyone else. We were looking for the tiniest bit of assurance that the judicial system can be relied upon to actually serve up justice and not give us the nigger treatment as it saw fit. I don’t know why we expected any of this, given the track record to date.
I’m not blaming the white man in general for this, but we’re a country that hasn’t seen revolution in a long time. We’re a country that hasn’t seen true civil unrest in a long time…at least not civil unrest that affected anything outside of our own communities. White America feels safe. They know that when angered, we will hoot and holler, sing songs, and hold candles and pray inside the safety of our churches, but won’t bring it to their front doors when a man who looks like members of our own family is about to be put down like an animal. We won’t cause a stir in the white neighborhoods outside of the politicians and judges and policemen’s homes. But we’ll march right up to the gates outside of Debra Lee’s house…because we’re angry about some sh*t we saw on television. The spirit of Huey P. Newton no longer exists within many of us. The only Huey we know exists on Aaron McGruder’s cartoon.
I remember people crying when Obama was elected. I remember people of all colors dancing in the streets in Washington DC’s U Street area that night. Let’s not act like it wasn’t primarily because he was Black. Let’s not act like some didn’t register to vote simply because a Black man was running. This all aside from him being the best candidate at the time, but the point still stands. We never thought we would see the day when a Black man would be elected president. Little did I know, we elected a politician who simply happened to be Black. Of course, people will say it’s not his job as President. However, he was a Black man before he became President and will be one after his term until the day he dies. I would have considered it my job as a Black man to say something…to make some statement in hopes of swaying things or, at minimum, to give his people some kind of hope that the first Black leader of the free world (and more than likely the last the way it’s looking) is with us in spirit. Again, I don’t know why I thought this. I didn’t see it for Oscar Grant. When Henry Louis Gates was arrested, he wanted to have a beer with Gates and the officer and squash the beef as opposed to pointing out the clear error on the part of law enforcement. But he was there with bells on to speak out when Arizona wanted to pass an immigration bill. I just hope that at minimum, private conversations were had between Michelle and Barack, and most importantly with their children…and that they felt how we felt about the situation.
There are those that would plead with our people to remain peaceful and civilized. Why? Has that worked for us? Is remaining within the confines of American law exonerating us from incarceration and execution? The only plea I have is that, in the event that there is some civil unrest, that it is taken outside of our own communities. Remaining docile like good little slaves doesn’t save one from the whip. It’s disgusting that I, as a Black father, have to have a completely different conversation with my Black son about the law than a white father has with his white son. So get the f*ck out of my face with that “post-racial” Uncle Tom pie in the sky bullsh*t. That isn’t the country we live in. Just my view on it.