Saturday, July 10, 2010

U.S. Court Sanctioned Lynching of Black Men

A guest post by the wonderful @ggSpirit. Read her blog: g.g Spirit Writes...

“No money…no pot to piss in…just two fed up brothas” – Panther, movie.

Yesterday, yet again, a U.S. Court in Oakland, California sanctioned the lynching of a black man by a police officer. Formal news circuits may have reported this fact differently but to me it’s merely a matter of semantics: BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant. In this instance, Oscar Grant, an unarmed man lying defensively face down on a subway platform was shot in the back and killed by a police officer. Despite the fact that the execution was captured on video, the officer was merely convicted of involuntary manslaughter. In the so-called era of post-racial America, I believe James Baldwin to be prophetic in The Evidence of Things Unseen, when he said for one to ignore racial issues in America is for one to have willed himself colorblind.

As easy as it would be to make this issue a matter of black and white, I learned a long time ago to stay clear from this manner of reasoning. A college professor of African American studies often challenged his students of color to avoid blaming the white man by challenging, “Which white people are you referring to?”

The issue of continued genocide of blacks in the United States is a humanitarian issue. After the verdict was disclosed, Twitter was flooded with outraged tweets by blacks who again felt the insult of injustice.

Interestingly enough, I have yet to see this story on any mainstream media. Again, a police officer was let off the hook for the assassination of an unarmed black man. For those of you who may be unaware as to why I say ‘again’, please see Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell or the countless other points of reference you can easily Google.

In 1999 when the Diallo case occurred I was working in New York City as a social worker and a close family member was working as a prosecutor. When we discussed the verdict in which the police, having shot to death the unarmed 23-year-old Guinean immigrant with a total of 41 rounds fired, were found not guilty of all charges based on the premise of a “perceived threat”, my relative the prosecutor defended the police asserting they are scared to which I questioned, “Of what?”

It seems to me that the answer to this question gets to the heart of the court-sanctioned extermination of black America. What is the United States afraid of that allows the nation to continue to justify the wrongful death of its second-class citizens? Is America afraid that as long as black and brown exist, the threat of revelation of its dirty little secret of brutality, thievery and inhumane origins will be revealed? Or does the United States fear that the black man may suddenly realize he has the right to be pissed off about said history and the continued, systemic oppression of the black community and pull a Crispus Attucks all over again?

Ironically, after signing off Twitter, mentally exhausted by the inability to effectively DO anything in response to the Oscar Grant verdict, I happened across the movie Panther on television. The movie is a fictionalized account of the history of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. While watching the movie I was momentarily energized by the spirit of rebellion, uprising and fundamental ‘fuck you we ain’t taken this shit no more’ images which filled the screen. But when all was said and done, the United States with assistance of J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO (counter intelligence) program effectively neutralized the resistance of the black community.

The quote preceding this post was taken from the beginning of that movie to denote that it didn’t take much, just two fed up brothas, to ignite the fuse of defiance that marked one of the most powerful eras of organized civil disobedience to date. Yet in the age of the internet, social networking and the multiple means of uniting for a worthy cause we, humanity, appear to be the most divided, indifferent and complacent society to date. In one tweet, I asked if people of color could file a class action civil law suit against the United States for terrorist threats. No response.

So I humbly ask the United States, now that you have effectively neutralized any organized contender, can you please stop executing black America?


  1. I think that was a great manifesto, G.G. I think that the lynching of Black America should end, be it physical violence or slanted innuendos such as using "ghetto" in neighborhoods that aren't suburban or using the term "hoe" when it refers to something concerning Black Americans being considered pimps and the like (of course, this is my own issue towards some, but you get the point.)

    I guess my point is that Black Americans seem to always be considered inferior to other races, namely the Caucasian race. This isn't a hate comment to whites, of course, just a way of saying that everyone was created just as equal as everyone else. If it had been a Black cop who'd shot a White man like that, he would've gotten the death penalty. How fair is that?

  2. As a ridiculously middle class white male, all I can really say, is sorry. Sorry for the lazy racism of my forefathers. Sorry that the folks that share my skin color, and who run the MSM, choose to spend more time focusing on what Lindsey Lohan has written on her fingernails. Sorry for complacency, sorry for hate.

  3. Thanks for comments and sorry for the delayed response...

    mizbellereve, I think that a lot of people are reluctant to acknowledge racism. Some truly feel these are post-racial times and see blacks as merely using the "race card". Many fail to recognize that segregation is recent history and the constructs of slavery still exist. What I fear is that not many are invested in taking that hard look and working toward resolve. I try not to give up all hope though and people like you give me reason to hold out on possibility.

    Joseph, Thanks for doing such a wonderful job posting. As for the apology, thank you but do not attempt to take the whole burden on your shoulders. The fact that you continually shed light on issues of injustice is good enough and I appreciate you for it :-)

  4. It's simple & maybe overacting to say, but this makes me think about how easy anyday my black child (grown but still my child) could loss his life over his skin color? I am honestly nauseated by this verdict. Bensonhurst was the first incident I can actually remember seeing played out. Now what 25 yrs later this still, really?