The Killing Continues
At least there is one white person who seems to understand the situation of Black folks in America and is willing to speak about it.
And to my great surprise that person is Newt Gingrich, a Republican, former House Speaker, and a man who has had choice words to say about President Obama as America’s first Black President.
According to Mr. Gingrich, “…it took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this.” He also told CNN “white Americans instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk facing Black Americans today.”
He went on to say that “It is more dangerous to be Black in America, in that (Black folks) are substantially more likely to end up in a situation where the police don’t respect you and you could easily get killed. And sometimes for whites it’s difficult to appreciate how real that is, and that it’s an everyday danger.”
Other Americans writing letters to the editor of the New York Daily News two days after five cops were killed in Dallas, Texas were not as understanding. One writer totally blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for the murders, and called them nothing more than a racist hate group hiding behind a cause. He went on to say that “(the BLM movement) uses the unfortunate, sometimes illegal, use of deadly force by police against persons of colour as the excuse to unleash racist and violent hatred for authority and white Americans.”
Others blamed the President and the politicians by saying that “As long as President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio give credence to, and embrace groups like, Black Lives Matter, American police officers will continue to be a target.”
Yet another blamed “news editors” (on Facebook live streaming?) for allowing the girlfriend of Philando Castile, who was killed by a police officer in Minnesota, for yelling “they are trying to kill us Black people” and showing this to millions of Facebook followers. She blames this and celebrities tweeting ‘stop killing us’ for inciting violent protests.
And yet another writer, as with the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles and the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, puts forward the theory that what we saw in the video of Alton Sterling being killed was not what really transpired. He suggests that even if Mr. Sterling was subdued it is within the realm of possibility that the deceased was reaching for his gun in his pocket and that it is possible to fire a handgun while still in a pocket. In the case of Philando Castile he says that we did not see what precipitated the shots being fired.
And, once again, I do not understand Black folks.
As with the quick offer of forgiveness to the young white man who killed nine people in a Black South Carolina church, the family of Alton Sterling is pleading with Black folks not to see his killing as a racial matter. Even when the white governor of this state said that Mr. Sterling would not have been killed if he were a white man.
This is in the same America where the Ku Klux Klan is still doing active recruitment and recently held rallies in Atlanta and California, as well as a 2006 FBI report, which warned that many law enforcement agencies in America are staffed with white supremacists. The report specifically says, “white supremacist groups have historically engaged in strategic efforts to infiltrate and recruit from law enforcement communities.”
And Bishop T.D. Jakes is suggesting that “we ask God to heal” this situation.
For sure this kind of thinking is surprising to me after 246 years of slavery (beginning in 1619 in America), which included being stolen from Africa, forced labour, beatings, broken families, and the rape of Black women by white men.
And in the 151 years since slavery ended officially in 1865 in which Black folks have had to deal with racial discrimination, segregation, denied opportunities, having a disproportionate share of the nation’s resources often resulting in poor Black communities, racial profiling which includes driving while Black, and a biased justice system which has seen a significant number of Black men doing big time in jail and some recently released after twenty and thirty years for crimes that they did not commit.
Maybe it is because I do not understand forgiveness, which I see as someone putting an umbrella up your behind, opening it and then me telling them that it is okay.
I have always been told that God is compassionate and just, but the vibes that I am getting is that He seems more like an irresponsible father to allow such continuous suffering to be imposed upon His children. Or do we have to suffer until Judgement Day?
Although I am not an advocate of violence (because we will always lose against the American military complex, and because we have already failed at that with groups such as the Black Liberation Army, the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers) one possible explanation for the murders in Dallas and Baton Rouge is that the young men who killed those officers may have reached the point where they saw Black folks being killed over and over and there is no consequence for the police officers. As well, the killings are not new but the cameras are now plentiful.
I am not sure about where do we go from here. Is it more talking, negotiating, begging, praying, or protesting? I do not have the answer. But what I do know for sure is that nothing much will change anytime soon because American society was built on, and has been maintained by, racial divisions.