Black People Just Don’t Get It
Like the average black Joe I read what happened to Shaquanda Cotton with disgust and appall. A 15 year old African girl gets sentenced to serve a maximum of seven years in juvenile prison for shoving a 58 year old hall monitor at her high school in Paris, Texas. It should be obvious to anyone with a fraction of a brain that the injustice of the United States judicial system against its citizens of African descent knows no shame or boundary. However, this is the tip of an iceberg that runs throughout America.
Blacks are regularly made examples of injustice, prejudice, exclusion, incompetence, omission, exception, deception, rejection, condemnation, revulsion, abhorrence, stereotypes, subjugation, etc. The list never stops. Every goddamn day that passes we find more examples of America’s detest for blacks. If we listed each and every injustice we as a people have suffered on post-it notes and stacked them all together the resulting column would reach beyond the sun and back. There isn’t time to address each and every transgression The list is simply way too long.
If hurricane Katrina taught the African American community anything it is that our collective voice isn’t strong enough to stop the injustice. Days prior to the hurricane hitting New Orleans the weather forecasts had predicted the potential strike. Yet the federal government claimed they knew nothing about it. We stood by as our federal government did nothing to prepare for the cataclysm. Everyone was outraged. There were calls for investigations. There were rallies to help the victims. New Orleans was the focus of the whole world’s attention. And nothing happened.
The mother of the President of the United States pays a visit to the Houston Astrodome to draw attention and support to the people victimized by the storm. What did she have to say about the plight of the people? “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.”
Shortly thereafter Robert Davis, a 64 year old black man who was in New Orleans to check on his family’s property, was assaulted by police officers in an altercation initiated by his request for information. The man was beaten unmercifully by a number of local cops and federal agent. The police tried to hide their gaffe by alleging that Mr. Davis, a school teacher, was drunk and disorderly. As days passed attention on the fate of Mr. Davis’ case was swept under the AP News rug. And the black community did nothing.
Martin Lee Anderson, a black 14 year old at a Florida bootcamp-style detention center for juveniles, is assaulted by four camp officials. Within the first two hours of his first day at the facility officials tried to get Anderson to continue to exercise after he had collapse from exhaustion, resulting in his death. The official coroner’s report had attributed the young man’s death to a latent sickle-cell trait (a seriously lame excuse for a medical official working on behalf of the government). A second autopsy, performed two months after his death on his exhumed body, had contributed the death to suffocation. And the black community did nothing.
Abadou Bailo Diallo, a 23 year old Guinea immigrant to the United States was shot and killed by four white New York undercover police officers on February 4, 1999. Supposedly the story is that Diallo matched the description of a man already captured for serial rape. Diallo ran when he saw the white men coming for him (the brother probably had a premonition of what was about to happen). When he was cornered he reached for his wallet. Four police officers feared he might fatally identify himself to them so they shot him in a hail of 41 bullets. Diallo was hit 19 times. The officers were acquitted of any wrong doing. And the black community did nothing.
New York police officers have killed Patrick Dorismond, a Haitian security guard. New York police killed Sean Bell on his wedding day. New York police are responsible for shooting and killing more unarmed black men than all the black brothers killed in George Bush’s Iraqi War. Abner Louima was sodomized by New York’s finest with a broken broomstick handle. And how did the black community respond?
Rodney King is brutally assaulted on video by four police officers in Los Angeles. The police officers are acquitted and the buildup of frustration causes the black neighborhoods to erupt in riots. The expression of anger was a short term response to the lack of compassion from the white dominated American society at large. But what happened after that?
When will the descendants of Africa get it through our collective skull that we are not participants to the bounty of America? Measured as an entire group to the group of descendents of Europe, our schools are inferior, our medical care is inferior, our neighborhoods receive inferior attention and our opportunities for employment as a whole are far inferior. Too much of the economic wealth of the nation is controlled by people, both black and white but mostly white, who pretend to be oblivious to the disparity between African Americans and European Americans.
Yes there are plenty of house niggers (sorry, but there’s no better description for this group) out there that people across America can point to and say, “they did it, why can’t you”. But not every member of the African community has the talent to be exceptional at playing a sport, the voice to be an exceptional singer, or the stomach to maximize the size of their wallet at the expense of their racial identity.
A lot of white people and their uncle toms claim to be tired of black people crying discrimination every time an unarmed black man gets gunned down Chicagoland-gangsta-style by white and black police officers alike. But none of these people are tired enough to do anything to keep their badge carrying posse in check. Why? Because of all the hate, fear, and disdain filling their hearts these people want to drive the point home that the black community is in no way, shape, nor form respected, appreciated, nor tolerated outside the physical, mental, and social perimeters established by the white dominated society.
The problem isn’t just that the police are out of control. The abuses of the various law enforcement posses are just a sick symptom. The root of the problem is American society’s general way of thinking. This attitude can be summed up as “the black community can holler all they want but there is nobody coming to help them.” And for every Shaquanda Cotton, Patrick Dorismond, Sean Bell, and others that come to the light there are hundreds of incidents of abuse that exist behind a veil of secrecy, ignorance, deception, and contempt.