Firstly, let me say that I’m not a B.L.M member, follower or sympathizer, but I am a black man, a conservative Christian minister that believes that Black lives matter, as well as White, Red, Yellow AND Blue Lives. Yes, All lives matter! But in regards to this issue of the NFL protests, and police brutality in the black or minority communities, I happen to have a perspective out of experiences that have made me better, not bitter. Consequently, I believe I can help those that may not fully understand what these protests or the racial conflict is all about, and possibly give another perspective that biased debates based on media narratives, or numbers, ratios and figures over the last 5 years or so, of unarmed blacks killed in oppressed communities don’t consider, nor take into account.
Now, let me try to explain this, not to debate or argue but for perspective. Because this is really not a debatable matter, nor anything really to agree or disagree about. It’s mostly a matter of perspectives and opinions, with right or wrong being a matter of heart posture towards the core issue, not just facts or truth verses lies, or charts or stats taken or sited. So I’m going to give to those that have never been to, lived in or attempted to serve these oppressed communities, another perspective, that’s neither all right, nor all wrong, just the stark reality of some and how we decide to deal with it in a supposed post-racist society.
Most that are debating this issue are making commentaries and conclusions concerning this issue of unarmed blacks being killed by cops based on instances and incidents over the last 5 or so years, when this is not a new or recent epidemic. This is a part of our heritage down through the years for generations in this nation. It’s a part of the unfortunate history of America, as intrinsic to our history as Slavery and Jim Crow laws, where in black communities, that are not policed by blacks or by non-racists White law enforcement, blacks have been unlawfully, and unjustifiably killed or brutalized for generations. This is not a new phenomenon, it just seems new to this generation, made prominent in recent years and freshly exposed to a new generation of Americans, mainly because of the advent of home videos in the 1990’s and smart phones in the recent 21st century. But these killings and instances of police brutality are a part of the oral history in our communities. Our oral history is littered with fathers, uncles, brothers, friends, etc, who were lynched, shot, arrested, imprisoned and convicted unjustifiably, without a trial of our peers, many without provocation, and some without justification, just because we were black.
These stories we have been told, some recounted by national history, others told to us by our relatives, happening in our own families, with some of us actually having seen with our own eyes these tragic killings or abuses, growing up in the Ghettos (those of us who lived there) throughout the years of our history in America.
Please don’t think every black person that is protesting or marching is doing so because of a slanted liberal or conservative media narrative. Or that this is simply an arguable debate of black and white, or conservative v. liberal, that can even be explained away based on ratio’s, stats or charts of how many blacks have actually been shot by white cops vs. unarmed whites shot by cops. Regardless of what the numbers say, this issue, with the exposing of the last few years of incidents revealed to the public by the media, is not new, and it’s not primarily what’s being protested or brought to forefront with B.L.M, or the NFL, Colin Kaepernick instigated protests in this generation. This is an issue that spans generations.
Dr. King spoke on police brutality in our communities in the 50, and 60’s in his historic “I have a Dream” speech, given over 50 years ago, saying,”There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality…..” It’s just over the last 5 years or so we’ve been seeing these shootings, either live through Facebook or recorded through smart phones, that we are now grappling over whether this is a legitimate issue or if these are isolated incidents to this generation.
Listen, these situations being caught on camera now, are microcosms of a systemic ongoing pattern of policing practices that have been happening, that became the mode of operation of policing down through the years in these communities. Does that mean that all cops are bad. NO!!!! That’s not what is being said, but what’s being exposed now through the smart phone generation must be dealt with, not on a case by case, ratio basis only, but as a matter of a systemic-wide, trans-generational pattern of policing that has become the natural way of handling oppressed communities down through the years. This trans-generational epidemic must be dealt with, with policies set in place to protect against rogue, racists, bad cops that are inevitably in every bunch (dept).
The outcry being seen with groups such as B.L.M and other protests, are not just in response to these recent incidences. They are crescendos and powder kegs of frustrations and anger from generations of our forefathers and family members who were killed, or profiled and pulled over unjustly, who some of us were let go, and some were never seen alive again, or who were arrested and charged and convicted, who didn’t have the money or the right skin color to prove their innocence in a trial of their peers. All of this conjoined with the last 25 years, beginning with the home-video generation catching the Rodney King beating on video in 1992, where all 4 or 5 cops were exonerated, onto the smart phone generation over the last 5 years of the Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina, where the cop shot an unarmed black man in the back 8 times and then was shown planting a gun on him, only to be caught on a cell phone from across the street, and of course, was tried and after a mistrial, two years later he plead guilty, and was sent to prison in 2015 for life. Again, this just being a microcosm of what’s been happening that hasn’t been caught on film, which these oppressed communities know all too well, but have never been able to do anything about it, other than develop a bitter, fearful us against them, distrust for the police in these communities.
But only now because of smart phones, are some being caught. But without the camera footage, how many have not been caught? and even with camera footage, trying to get a conviction with all the imbalanced, biased systems that try these officers, i.e. D.A.’s or Judges that are the peers that they work with every day, it’s not likely that they end up getting an indictment or a conviction, even after these incidents are caught on camera, as Jackie Anderson Whitley’s post proves. Hence the advent of BLM, (which is being labeled this generation’s Black Panther Party) which is simply saying, BLACK LIVES – which have seemed not to matter to the judicial system in a court of law, or to some Law enforcement officers, and consequently, even to our own in our own communities – REALLY DO MATTER!!!
Why B.L.M?? (Which I don’t necessarily agree with all their tactics) Why the NFL protests?? Of all the incidents caught on camera over the last 5 years, or that have gone to trial involving police and unarmed or mistaken identity black men, as Jackie Andersen Whitley so aptly posted and shared on that above post and thread, only 1 out of 18 since 1999 have been convicted. Her conclusion is given below after she lists over the last 18 years, all of these national, high profile incidences, case by case with their outcome.
Philando Castille– shot while reaching for a gun. (Investigated)
Terence Crutcher– shot while high on PCP and reaching into his vehicle.
Sandra Bland– committed suicide in jail. Officer who arrested her was fired.
Eric Garner– resisted arrest, fought police, and had health issues.
Mike Brown– fought a police officer and tried to take his pistol.
Rekia Boyd– accidentally shot. Officer was (improperly charged and got off.)
Sean Bell– shot after trying to run over police officers.
Tamir Rice– shot after brandishing a realistic looking toy gun.
Freddie Gray– fatally hurt himself in the back of a police van. (Officers’ charges thrown out.)
Danroy Henry– shot after hitting an officer with his car and the officer landed on his hood.
Oscar Grant– officer who killed him (convicted of manslaughter.)
Kendrec McDade– ran from the police in a car and on foot and made a movement like he was reaching for a gun.
Aiyana Jones– killed in a tragic accident during a raid by police. (Resulted in two mistrials.)
Ramarley Graham- killed after reaching for his waistband while cussing police.
Amadou Diallo– mistaken for a rape suspect and killed by police. Officers (charged and found not guilty.)
Trayvon Martin- not killed by police. Killed by citizen acting in self defense.
John Crawford– killed while brandishing what was later to be determined to be a BB gun and refusing to drop it.
Johnathan Ferrell– shot after fighting with officer. Taser was used first and didn’t work. After two grand juries and a mistrial, (charges were dropped.)
She therefore concludes:
18 people killed since 1999. The problem is most were justified and one wasn’t even killed by police. That’s roughly one person a year. If roughly one person killed a year, with most being justified, is evidence of systematic lack of police accountability, then cop haters such as Colin probably need to come up with something else. This is pretty much a false narrative.
Police issues are local not national.
If your city is blue – stop voting Democrat.
By her commentary, all were investigated, seemingly going through due process of the law, and only a few were charged with anything. So this proves that justice was served, and the media and radical left rabblerousers are just feeding into false narratives. But while this is one reality, there is another reality that this narrative exposes that isn’t new or false. It’s the narrative that has been passed down to us for generations. Dr. King called it in his letter from the Birmingham Jail, “Justice too long delayed is Justice denied,” along with Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Taken from William Penn…to delay or deny justice is Injustice.
None of this is new to the Black neighborhoods or communities, whether it is presented as just or unjust from which ever side is presenting it, these epidemics and deliberations are trans-generational. But the outcry of this generation is, that now many of these killings are being caught on camera, beginning with Rodney King. And in all too many instances they’re still being acquitted, even with Camera footage, which is what sparked the LA riots of 1992.
Whether you believe these shootings by the police over the past several years were justified or unjustified, the fact of the matter is, IF the system is corrupt, i.e racists, the system of law and justice is going to do everything to cover and protect their own, unless there’s undeniable visual evidence, as in the Walter Scott case in South Carolina. And even with this damning video evidence, his first trial was a mistrial.
Am I condemning all cops. No!!!. I’m just trying to give you a perspective that goes beyond the 2011-2017 charts, stats and ratio’s that people put together to disapprove a racist narrative. But once I heard a man say; “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” Am I bitter and filled with race hatred about all of this? No! As I said, I’m a Conservative Black Minister, who has preached most of my 30 years in ministry in predominant white or multicultural ministries. I’m just aware that this IS an epidemic that’s being exposed for another generation to deal with before it’s too late. And we’ve got to stop giving our race biased, slanted perspectives and listen to what’s trying to be communicated through these protests, and these revelations of some of these shootings being caught on camera, and know this is not a media driven narrative, (though the media attempts to stir the pot and blow it up for their own purposes). This is actually a true narrative that is trans-generational.
Now let me add this, It’s not all just about bad, racists cops, but it’s also sociological, involving poverty, the welfare state, the demise of the black family (which the welfare state assisted in) as well as the pop, and entertainment cultural and the demise of the moral, sexual standard and responsibility, that has been just as injurious in our communities as racists policing has been, or isolated bad cops have been. But regardless of all the different factors that plays into it, it boils down to it being rooted in a systemic racists ideology, undertaken by bad cops, whose vestiges still have not been fully erased in a supposed post racist society.
But to understand it fully, you have to go beyond charts, stats, and ratio’s given to disprove a racist, systemic narrative, you just have to listen to experiences from Blacks from these communities that have been profiled, arrested unjustly, beaten or even whose family members have been shot and killed under the cloud of suspect policing in these communities. You have to hear stories like when I moved into a upper class neighborhood and was walking in my new neighborhood and the police was called on me by a neighbor who wondered why I was in the neighborhood. And three cruisers surrounded me with six officers (one being black) who began to question me for 20 minutes about what I was doing in MY new neighborhood. It took me 20 minutes to convince them that I lived in the community because I didn’t take my I.D. with me to go on a walk or a jog (I do now). And then it was the black officer who believed me and convinced the other officers to let me go.
I’m just saying, until you’ve walked in a black man’s shoes, or lived in a community and witnessed it, or heard the stories, you would not believe it. You’ll continue believing those biased, slanted stats, ratios and pie charts proliferating these posts. And still some will try to argue me down on this post, when what we need in this generation is people that dialogue, listen and look to get perspectives, not win arguments. I could go on but I will stop now. But, first let me give a shameless plug. I’ve actually written several books on the subjects of racial conflict, racism and reconciliation on Amazon. All of them are balanced and very fair, speaking to both sides of the issue, and laying the responsibility for change on all, not just whites, not just law enforcement, but our own communities as well.