Month: December 2014

Racism No Longer Comes In Lynch Mobs, But In Juries of Your Peers


“When you hear someone wants to have a conversation about race, that really means they want to bloviate about theory and what happened 150 years ago.” ~ Bill O’Reilly

Well, that’s helpful, Bill. We wouldn’t want anyone bloviating about theories of why black people bring violence upon themselves, with their poor educations, poor family structure, and defiant attitudes towards police.

Neither side is guiltless, and there are certainly those in the African American community who have broken the law and acted aggressively. Perhaps even Michael Brown. But that’s actually not as important as a much larger question we must ask of the whole system. We must ask ourselves who wields the power in this relationship? Who has the mandate and strength of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and the legislature that enacts law? Simply put, those in the African American community have no agency, and are at the mercy of the larger Hegemony — a social or racial group that dominates over the others in a society. Even if every black community decided to protest — or take up arms — it would still be like challenging the entire US military to a fight, armed with nothing more than slingshots. In reality, it wouldn’t matter how well armed they were, because they can’t outrun a police force equipped with military weaponry, or a jury unwilling to indict a murderous cop, or escape laws designed to punish certain crimes more harshly than others, resulting in the disproportionate conviction and sentencing of black youths. These youth are not simply running from one cop, but an entire monolith of institutional racism — a disease that taints all our sacred traditions. So ultimately, the tally of who’s to blame in individual cases will go back and forth, but for now, what’s not changing is the inequity of power and the egregious miscarriage of justice in the black community. So even if O’Reilly’s grievances against the black community were justified, the true outrage should be directed at a system that failed an entire community. And guess what? That didn’t start in our lifetimes. Looks like we may need to look back at least 150 years. The sins of our fathers….

I sincerely believe most police officers to be kind, just, and interested in upholding the peace, and protecting the innocent. However, the reality is that it only takes a few bad apples. You could say the same thing about young black men. The difference is, even though cops aren’t exactly popular at the moment and are in admittedly very dangerous professions, young black men have historically been lightening rods for society’s anger, frustration, racism, and violence. Whether it was slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, bus boycotts, lynching, gang violence, police brutality, or any other number of harms, the African American male has sadly been endangered since first arriving on our shores. We simply can’t look at the sickness, but at the symptoms and roots that gave rise to the affliction. If you wanna play the chicken and the egg game, you’re gonna lose. The system was in place — and failing — long before the family unit broke down. As for education, that blame can be placed at the feet of our tax system and distribution of funds and resources. And as for defiant attitudes towards the police, I would guess that grudge grew up together, and only fed off of each other over the decades. It is a dysfunctional relationship founded on resentment and mistrust. Both sides are clearly responsible for fueling the fire, and as you might expect, it will take both sides exercising good faith, and cooler heads prevailing. It will rely on sacrifice, humility, trust, and generosity of spirit. THAT’s a tall order, and I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.

Ultimately, our entire system needs to be put on trial, and  from the ground up, until we finally have an institution worthy of the words “…with liberty and justice for ALL.”