It was just last week that President Obama spoke at the NAACP Convention and gave an incredible speech that received a rousing standing ovation. He covered a lot of ground, but frustratingly he never made mention of police brutality and the high number of incidents that have taken place with young Black and Brown people being shot or mistreated. He has gone out of his way to comment on almost all police killings including the ones in Oakland, Pittsburgh and last week in Jersey City.
Since that speech we have seen Jersey City police kill a woman who had a knife , but was never warned before being shot to death. Her husband, residents and witnesses accuse the police of wrong doing.
We’ve heard about the false and dubious arrests of prominent Hip Hop figures and community activists like; Paradise Gray of X-Clan and Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers.
We’ve heard about Black police officers in Philadelphia suing fellow white officers for posting up and running a website full of racist rants called Domelights. What was the final straw that prompted the lawsuit was white officers referring to the young Black kids who were recently discriminated by a white run country club as ‘Ghetto Monkeys’ .
Since the NAACP speech, we’ve seen the angry white pundits like Pat Buchanan and even some Senators make over the top racist remarks about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Buchanan was so angry that he came on a primetime news show and called Sotomayor a Minor Leaguer and stated that white men weren’t getting a fair shake. He said the race pot needed to be stirred up. He then went and made the outrageous assertion that this country and its wars were built and fought 1005 by white people.
Since that speech we’ve seen KKK square off with the New Black Panthers in Paris, Texas after they attempted to disrupt a rally being held to protest the freeing of two white men accused of dragging a young man Brandon McClelland to death.
On that same day Henry Louis Gates the prominent 58 year old Harvard Professor who heads up the African studies department was arrested in his own home after police initially approached him accusing him of breaking into his own home.
I guess President Obama has heard enough and finally said something. He accused Cambridge Police of acting stupidly. It took me by surprised. Now I hope it calls up Attorney General Eric Holder and has him start investigating police misconduct and start holding folks accountable. They better start holding those serious conversations about race and do this quick before Holder or Obama get arrested and mistreated over a minor incident by police who are resentful about these two Black men holding so much power.
That may seem like a off the cuff remark, but I remind people as I close out that back in the late 1800s after slavery had ended, Black folks were moving into positions of power. We were getting into elected offices. We even had a Black senator. We were moving on up as jealous and resentful white folks saw the upward move as a threatening. This was called the Reconstruction period. Enter DW Griffith and his movie Birth of a Nation. This was where the Ku Klux Klan was introduced and depicted as heroes who saved this country from ‘Uppity Negroes’ getting power.
It wasn’t too long after Birth of a Nation came out that the KKK increased its membership in huge numbers and that mobs of white people started rioting, burning down and even bombing Black cities and neighborhoods. From Chicago to Cincinnati to Tulsa, Oklahoma, roving mobs of angry whites came through and destroyed these cities and the people within them. After that came along period of lynchings. These things happened almost everyday in places throughout the country prompting singer Billie Holiday to do the song ‘Strange Fruit’.
Let’s not wake up and find ourselves repeating history as more and more racist shed their masks and start showing their true colors and expressing their true hatred for Black and Brown people.
Something to Ponder
Mass. policeman who arrested Gates won’t apologize
NATICK, Mass. – A white police sergeant accused of racism after he arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home insisted Wednesday he won’t apologize for his treatment of the Harvard professor, but President Barack Obama said police had acted “stupidly.”
Gates has demanded an apology from Sgt. James Crowley, who had responded to the home near Harvard University to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded the scholar show him identification. Police say the 58-year-old at first refused and then accused the officer of racism.
Gates said Crowley walked into his home without his permission and only arrested him as the professor followed him to the porch, repeatedly demanding the sergeant’s name and badge number because he was unhappy over his treatment.
Obama said Wednesday he didn’t know what role race played in the incident but added that police in suburban Boston “acted stupidly” in arresting Gates even after he offered proof that he was in his own home.
“I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry,” Obama said. “Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”
He said federal officials need to continue working with local law enforcement “to improve policing techniques so that we’re eliminating potential bias.”
Crowley said Wednesday he’s disappointed by the heated national debate triggered by the incident and insisted he followed proper procedures in arresting Gates last week in Cambridge on a charge of disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday.
Officers were responding to the home Gates rents from Harvard after a woman reported seeing “two black males with backpacks” trying to force open the front door, according to a police report. Gates, who had returned from a trip overseas with a driver, said he had to shove the door open because it was jammed. He was inside, calling the company that manages the property, when police arrived.
Gates was accused by police of “tumultuous” behavior toward the officers. But Gates countered by saying Crowley was clearly responding to racial profiling and “couldn’t understand a black man standing up for his rights, right in his face.”