Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Eulogy and the War on Black People

Good morning, family. Yesterday, President Obama delivered a moving eulogy honoring the life of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, slain Member of the South Carolina Senate and senior pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston. White supremacist terrorist Dylann Roof brutally slaughtered Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight other African Americans while they were attending Bible study at Mother Emanuel A.M.E.

No doubt, Obama is a brilliant orator and a symbol of progress. However, symbols alone are insufficient. Obama is the one who told us that "there is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America — there's the United States of America." The Charleston massacre is a cold blooded, gruesome reminder of how wrong the President was. In this great age of progress, America still is not a post-racial society. Unfortunately, America will never be one. Even as a black man occupies the White House, the relentless war against black people marches on with no end in sight.

Although the other victims have not even been laid to rest yet, Obama celebrates forgiveness. As good, little, loyal Negroes repeatedly forgive their oppressors, there will be more Travyon Martins, Jordan Daviss, Michael Browns, Freddie Grays, Walter Scotts and Clementa Pinckneys. Wake up! Wake the hell up from your deep slumber, black man, black woman!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Obama Says "Nigger" and Speaks the Truth About Racism

Politico reports that:
President Barack Obama did not mince words in discussing race in a recent interview, going so far as to use the N-word in talking about America’s complex racial history when speaking to Marc Maron on the comedian’s “WTF” podcast in Los Angeles last week.

“The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it,” Obama said in the interview, posted in full on Monday. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n——-’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. … Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 2-300 years prior.”
The President's remarks come a few days after Michael Eric Dyson mustered up the courage to say this:
"The question is, Ed, when will this president finally see that he doesn't have to run from his race or run from blackness which are obviously there, and the tether to the issue of gun control and violence in this country," Dyson said. "He must use his bully pulpit to excoriate those forces that are demonizing all American citizens, in this case those who happen to be African-American."

"If you look at the descending order of greatness of nuance there, Bernie Sanders talked about the ugly stain of racism, Hillary Clinton talked about race, guns violence and division," Dyson said. "And then President Obama, oh, who by the way, Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about this, and then he talked about hatred across the races. Huh?"

"When a young man goes into a church and says, I'm here to kill black people, the president cannot pretend this is an issue of gun violence because if that man had a knife, he would have tried to kill the people with a knife. It doesn't matter the implement," Dyson said
Apparently, President Obama got the message.

Some are offended by the President's use of the N word. I am not. We must stop giving that word unspeakable power. Obviously, President Obama's intent was not to insult. His intent was to inform, to inform White America about the true, pervasive, structural and institutionalized nature of racism. Racism is bigger than a word. It is a permanent system of oppression.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

White Terrorist Shoots and Kills Nine People at Black Church in Charleston

The Washington Post reports that:
Police are searching for a gunman who opened fire Wednesday night at a historic African American church in downtown Charleston, S.C. Charleston officials said nine people were killed and others were injured.

“I do believe this is a hate crime,” Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said at a late night news conference, without explaining the basis for his conclusion.

Police said the victims had gathered Wednesday night in the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston for a prayer service when the shooting occurred. Police are now searching for the gunman, described as a clean-shaven white male in his early 20s, who has sandy blond hair and a small build. Police said he was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots. He is believe to be the only shooter.

“This is the most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy in historic Emanuel AME church, the mother church of the AME churches,” Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley (D) said. “People in prayer Wednesday evening, a ritual coming together, praying and worshiping God. To have an awful person come in and shoot them is inexplicable. Obviously the most intolerable and unbelievable act possible.”

“The only reason someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” he added. “The only reason. It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine.”

Police said the shooting occurred about 9 p.m. at the church, which is located between Henrietta and Calhoun streets near Marion Square in downtown Charleston. Charleston’s NAACP president Dot Scott told the Post and Courier that a female survivor told family members the shooter sat down in the church for a while before he started shooting.

When officers arrived, they determined that eight people had been killed inside the church, Mullen told reporters. Two others were taken to a nearby hospital, where the ninth died, he said.
We must call this what it is, white supremacist terrorism. This incident is reminiscent of the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church. That bombing killed four precious African American girls.

Today, over 50 years later, we are reminded yet again that we live under the illusion of progress. Even with a black president in the White House, racial hatred against black people continues. In fact, it has become more open, more intense and more inflamed. Black people, it is time to wake up from our deep slumber and face reality.

This is our wake up call. How many more signs must we see? When will we finally realize that there is a war on black people. The police are suppose to protect us from this type of terrorism. Unfortunately, some police officers terrorize us as well. A prime example is the shooting of Walter Scott. As we pray for our sisters and brothers in Charleston, we must prepare to defend ourselves, our families, our communities and our institutions.  Our demand for justice must be relentless.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Thoughts Regarding the Rachel Dolezal Debacle

In this video, I share my thoughts about Rachel Dolezal, a Caucasian women who masqueraded around for years in virtual blackface. She used her fake racial identity to advance her career in academia and in the modern day civil rights movement. Not only did she pretend to be black, she apparently fabricated stories of hate crimes. The Spokeman-Review reports that:
Also this week, Spokane police files on Dolezal’s report that she received a hate mail package and other mailing in late February and March were released. Police records say the initial package Dolezal reported receiving did not bear a date stamp or bar code, which Dolezal herself told police when she reported it. Investigators interviewed postal workers, who said it was either very unlikely or impossible that the package could have been processed through the post office, and that the only other alternative was that it had been put there by someone with a key.

However, several other pieces of mail sent in the same handwriting and style, and with the writer identifying himself in the same way as “War Pig (Ret.),” have been received by Dolezal, the Spokane Valley Police Department and The Spokesman-Review. Those other letters were date-stamped and postmarked from Oakland, California.

It was not clear from the reports, released through a public records request Wednesday, if the police investigation into the letter has concluded or was ongoing. Dolezal said Wednesday she believes it has reached an end, at least for the time being.

“They’re not going any further. … I didn’t hear the word closed, but I did hear there’s nothing more they can do at this time,” she said.

Dolezal said she received a key to the post office box when she became president of the NAACP earlier this year. Asked about the possibility that she had put the package there herself, she said, “That’s such bullshit. What mother would terrorize her own children?”

She said she was not questioned about that possibility by police, and was bothered by initial media reports about the package. “Nobody’s ever come out and said (they suspect me) directly, but I am bothered by the subtle implication,” she said.

Neumaier said he was suspicious of several incidents Dolezal reported in Coeur d’Alene, including her discovery of a swastika on the door of the Human Rights Education Institute when the organization’s security camera was “mysteriously turned off.”

“None of them passed the smell test,” he said.

Good News in the Fight Against Police Brutality

This week, there has been some good news regarding the fight against police brutality in Ohio, South Carolina and Texas.

The Guardian reports that:
A judge in Ohio said on Thursday he had found probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year.

Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland municipal court said there were grounds to prosecute officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide and negligent homicide.

Adrine also found there was probable cause for a charge of negligent homicide against officer Frank Garmback, Loehmann’s partner, who was present when Tamir was shot at a park on 22 November while holding a pellet gun.

The judge’s recommendation, however, was brushed aside by Timothy McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, who pledged to proceed as planned with having a grand jury decide on whether the officers should be charged.

“This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury,” McGinty said in a statement. “That has been the policy of this office since I was elected. Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged.”

In a 10-page order, Judge Adrine wrote that after viewing surveillance video, which shows Tamir being shot dead within two seconds of Loehmann’s arrival, he was “still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly”.

The judge said Tamir was given “little if any time” to respond to any commands from the officers, that his arms were not raised, and that he made no “furtive movement”. Adrine wrote: “Literally, the entire encounter is over in an instant.”

In South Carolina, WYFF reports that:
Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill Wednesday requiring all law enforcement officers in South Carolina to wear body cameras.

A bill that would require all South Carolina law enforcement officers to wear body cameras is gaining momentum after an officer-involved shooting in North Charleston, according to the bill's co-author.

The bill, which was passed by the General Assembly on June 4, will do the following:

Amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina by adding a section to define the term "body-worn camera."

Require all state and local law enforcement officers to implement the use of body-worn cameras.

Require all state and local law enforcement agencies to submit policies and procedures related to the use of body-worn cameras to the law enforcement training council.

Establish a "body-worn camera fund."

Make data recorded by a body-worn camera not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

Despite first being introduced in December 2014, Bill S.47 was fast-tracked following the April 4 shooting death of Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer.
The South Carolina body camera law is a step in the right direction. However, the goal of the law is undermined by provisions stating that body camera video footage is not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, as illustrated in the Eric Garner case, video footage of police brutality is no guarantee of a conviction. Nonetheless, that law is a sign of some progress.

Finally, in McKinney, Texas, Officer Eric Casebolt resigned and apologized for harassing and humiliating a 14 year-old African American girl and other black youth. Yahoo reports that:
Cpl. Eric Casebolt was captured on video Friday evening wrestling a teenage girl to the ground and pointing his gun at two other teens while answering a disturbance call at an unruly party at a neighborhood pool in suburban Dallas.

“He never intended to mistreat anyone,” his attorney, Jane Bishkin, said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. “He apologizes to all who were offended.”

Bishkin said Casebolt had worked one suicide and one attempted suicide in the hour prior to being dispatched to the pool party that reportedly involved teens fighting.

“The nature of these two suicide calls took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt,” Bishkin said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
Casebolt's apology is an empty gesture. It is insufficient. Charges should be brought against him and the McKinney Police Department should be investigated for discriminatory patterns and practices.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Former Cop Indicted for Killing Walter Scott

The Huffington Post reports that:
A grand jury has indicted a former South Carolina police officer in the April shooting of an unarmed black man, the prosecutor announced on Monday.

Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, 33, has been charged with murder in the death of Walter Scott, 50.

"I think the people of the 9th circuit elected me to be accountable to them, and that’s what we intend to do," Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said during a news conference following the announcement of the indictment Monday. "They have to know they have someone prosecuting the case who is accountable to them."

"We’re going to patiently wait for the criminal trial in this case,” Chris Stewart, one of the attorneys for the Scott family, said in a brief press conference. “It’s just about keeping the faith. The community has done that. The family has done that, and we’re going to continue to do that until the resolution of the criminal and the civil case."

Stewart thanked the community and noted the family plans to file a civil suit in the next few months.
Good morning, family. This is only the beginning. Justice for Walter Scott and everybody else.

Monday, June 8, 2015

McKinney and the Dehumanization of Black Youth

The Root reports that:
A pool party in McKinney, Texas, Friday has shocked the nation after footage went viral showing a white police officer cursing, threatening and ultimately slamming into the ground and handcuffing a 14-year-old African-American bikini-clad girl. At one point the officer is seen pulling out and pointing his service weapon at a group of teens.

The community is torn, the officer has been suspended and details have been scarce...

Since the video went viral, Cpl. Casebolt has been suspended pending an investigation into his actions, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has released a statement condemning the officer’s use of force.

“While we don’t know all the facts about the party, the crowd, or whether a fight broke out, what we do know is that the police response, as seen on the video, appears to be a textbook case of overuse of force,” the statement reads.

“A well-trained police department would have responded more cautiously, with less hostility and using sophisticated crowd-control methods that favor de-escalation not escalation. Without question, guns were not needed and in fact risked turning a group of partying teenagers into a violent encounter that could have turned deadly,” the statement continues.

Several McKinney residents have taken to social media to dispute the reporting of the story. According to one McKinney resident, who asked that the “true story” of what happened get out, a DJ was blasting obscene music in a public area and carloads of teens where arriving in the neighborhood without permission to go to the pool. When the teens were confronted, according to the resident’s post, they began climbing the pool fence and arguing with a security guard. When residents confronted the teens, the residents say, it was they who were attacked with racial slurs and physically assaulted.
In the eyes of many police officers and many white people, we are not viewed as neighbors and fellow Americans.  We are viewed as invaders who dirty up the white man's precious, delicate, little enclaves. Our mere presence is a natural cause for white alarm and overreaction. Black people are not viewed as human beings. Unfortunately, we are viewed as wild animals that must be subdued and controlled. When the police harass us, humiliate us or even kill us, there is a concerted effort to defend and rationalize police brutality and misconduct. Since the dehumanization process is complete, rationalization is a very easy task.

In their warped white supremacist minds, fellow white people, even the violent ones, are regarded as relatively non-threatening. For example, as reported on CNN, rival white biker gangs in Waco, Texas got into a shootout. 9 people were killed. 18 people went to the hospital. Over 100 weapons were recovered. Did the police treat those white bikers like they treated those black kids in McKinney? Of course, not.

In reality, we are not the animals. Our oppressors are.  The McKinney incident started with racist slurs against black youth and ended with racist police action against black youth. Police officers like Eric Casebolt are the real animals. Casebolt was the one yelling and cursing at the black youth. While completely ignoring white kids like Brannon Brooks, Casebolt is the one who frantically ran around like a possessed demon targeting and pushing down almost every single black person. Casebolt was the one who slammed an unarmed, 15-year-old girl, bikini clad girl on the concrete and put his knees on her back as she screamed in fear and pain. Casebolt is the savage who pointed a gun at two unarmed black teenage boys.

Animals like Officer Casebolt must be punished for their brutality. Such people do not deserve to wear a police badge. Justice is not just about Casebolt's termination. True justice requires a complete reformation and transformation of the McKinney Police Department and others like it. We can't afford to rest. The struggle continues.