Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos by Delayne Whiteside
“I got a letter from the government, the other day. I opened and read it, it said there were suckas”……28 years ago Chuck D gave light to the plight of an African American male in the United States on an album called It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. That same year (1988) NWA exposed the LAPD in a hood anthem entitled FUCK THE POLICE. These songs all foreshadowed what was to come in the 1992 LA Riots sparked by the acquittal of the officers caught on tape that beat Rodney King nearly within an inch of his life. When Black America heard the verdict, we knew loud and clear that “civil rights” was a mirage the desert. Seriously…like how could you justify a criminal act caught on video tape? I guess “our” lying eyes didn’t see several baton sticks whacking King with his hands up pleading for his life.
Were there criminal acts of police brutality caught on video after that? Of course. But what sparked a new reign of terror for the black man in AmeriKKKa came on February 26 2012. Trayvon Benjamin Martin was killed by a wanna-be police officer. Notice I didn’t say police officer…he was killed by a civilian (I don’t even wanna mention the cowards name) We thought for sure this was a no-brainer. We thought this coward was going to jail for life. July 13 2013….the heartbreak of Trayvon’s mother and father was heard across the world when the verdict came back that this coward was free to go with no jail time and given his gun back. It seemed like that dreadful day in July, opened up a fountain of blood on this nation’s urban streets with law enforcement and the judicial system controlling the valve.
Getting back to this caught on tape thing…..July 17,2014 Eric Garner (NY), minding his own business in front of a New York corner store, and from what the on- lookers would say, was the mediator in a dispute was “Radio Raheem’d” (See Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing) for all of social media to see. And did we get justice for that shit? That’s a big Hell To The No!
From 2012 the names have been endless, from Mike Brown to Freddie Gray and the outcome always ends up the same way….Not Guilty. We riot. We protest. We march….and then the incident becomes old news, until the next victim rolls down our timeline.
This brings us to July 5 2016… Mr. Alton Sterling was in the process of being taken in to custody by Baton Rouge police when the video clearly shows that he posed no serious threat and was fatally shot. Via social media, there are two videos being circulated. The most graphic video can be shown by LA rapper The Game’s social media page @losangelsconfidential with the hashtag #ITSTIME at the end.
As you can see the blood oozing from Sterlings chest, you soon realize how real the hunt is on for African Americans in the world for 2016. As we go through the Kubler Ross model to the stages of grief, (denial, anger, bargaining, depression….) let’s talk about the last one…acceptance. Have we in America accepted these horrendous terrorist acts as normal? Have we become so desensitized that we will not stand in front of the precinct and refuse to go home until we have the badges of these murderous police officers? Will we allow another Not Guilty verdict? Will our President in his last leg of his term say Enough!? I need answers…No I demand answers!!!
His name is Alton Sterling. Another human being that is no longer on this earth because his life was not valued. A man selling cd’s in front of a corner store to support himself and his family. As you watch the video of Alton’s son’s mother…it becomes surreal as you hear a 15 year old boy weep uncontrollably for his father. Those tears and cries, knowing his father is never coming home are so gut wrenching, it makes one want to seek justification and vengeance by any means necessary.
Yesterday my cousin Janell Luke wrote a letter to America’s Law Enforcement and I was almost moved to tears as the fear, love and passion poured from her soul to convey what the black men in her life meant to her. As I close this blog…please read her words and reflect….For the next time…it could be your father, husband, brother, cousin, son, uncle, grandfather, nephew, that we will be saying Rest In Peace…for yet another senseless unjustifiable homicide.
“Words Of Janell Luke”
A Letter to Law Enforcement. To Whom it May Concern, This is a photo of my husband and one of my sons. They both happen to be African American and they both are presently unarmed. I want you to look at this picture and tell me what you see. Do you see a threat? Do you see terrorists? Do you see animals? Describe to me how their presence frightens you or how their stance makes you uneasy. Do they anger you? Do they look like they may cause a problem? I ask you these questions because in the wake of another black man’s death at the hands of police officers, I need to know what my husband and my sons should look like when they encounter you so they do not seem like a threat. I need to know what stance should they take. I need to know if they should look you in the eye. Do they need to be humble and gracious if you harass them? How can I save their lives? How can I protect them from your grotesque form of justice? How do I explain to my sons that not all policemen are bad if you keep killing people who look just like them? How do I explain a young white man entering a church and murdering nine innocent people but still apprehended alive and yet an unarmed black man selling CD’s outside a corner store gets shot to death at point blank range? At this point I don’t know if your purpose is to “protect and serve” or to oppress and malign my people. At this point it’s starting to look like we’re being modern day lynched. We are being publicly hanged for the world to see and not a single murderer is being convicted because their alibi is their badge number. Your fraternal order is starting to look very familiar; reminding me of riders in the night with white hoods and burning crosses. Your attitude toward my people is uncannily recognizable; reminiscent of dirt southern roads and cotton fields. Why do you opt to kill us when you can easily de-escalate the situation? Is it because you see us as less than human? Or maybe it’s because no matter how much evidence we have to prove that we are being murdered in cold blood you still walk away with a pension and respect. Are you desensitizing us by letting us watch you kill our people so that if you decide to kill us on a massive scale, it won’t bother us because we’ve already been defeated? I want to know. I demand answers. Because whether you like it or not, WE ARE PEOPLE. WE ARE AMERICANS. AND WE WILL HAVE JUSTICE. Our ancestors built this country’s economic structure with the stripes on their backs and WE WILL NOT IGNORED. We will demand change! We will fight for our freedom! We will take our equality because WE’VE EARNED IT! Racism in this country is a system that we are DETERMINED to tear down, bit by bit, until every trace of it has disappeared! Law enforcement was put in place to enforce THE LAW not your own personal prejudices against a people you choose not to identify as human. I hope you read this letter and understand that it was not written in anger and outrage but in civility and justice. Very unlike your actions towards us. Read this and know that you are not above the laws that govern humanity. Understand that we will not stop fighting until we get justice. And please, above all things, stop killing us; because just like your children and spouses, mine deserve to live too.