Sunday, December 21, 2014

If Obama Were President (or even a real leader)

When Michael Brown was killed and Ferguson erupted, Barack Obama had an opportunity to put on the mantle of the President of the United States and lead the nation “forward” through a crucial crossroads.

Obama is not a leader, he is merely a politician. Eric Holder stated, “In things racial we have always been and, I believe we continue to be, essentially, a nation of cowards.” Not only was Holder projecting, but he was also just a bit off the mark. What he meant was liars.

If Obama were President of the United States, rather than merely a politician holding the office, he would have spoken out on behalf of the nation, instead he merely reinforced the political mantra of his party and ideology.

What would have been so hard or so wrong with (warning wordy mock speech approaching)…

“My fellow Americans.
What is happening in Ferguson right now is troubling. People have jumped to conclusions and assumptions about an officer’s conduct based solely on deep seeded bias and prejudice. People are picking and then tending an old wound as if it happened yesterday.
There is currently no evidence that the shooting of Michael Brown is a civil rights violation or in any way racially inspired. There is no evidence that the contrasting races of Michael Brown and the officer who shot him is anything more than a coincidence.
According to the evidence at hand, Michael Brown fit the description of a suspect involved in a crime. It is reasonable that this might draw the officer’s attention, regardless of Brown’s race. When the officer first noticed Brown, Brown and another young man were walking down the center of the street; behavior the officer is obligated to address; again, regardless of race.
There are those who would argue the officer ONLY took interest because Michael Brown was black, and would not have cared had he been white. While I cannot say for certain what the officer’s motivation was, I CAN say with absolute certainty that the officer had a mandate to address Michael Brown, and I CAN say with absolute certainty that I would have wanted…DEMANDED that the officer do so.
I can also be fairly certain that members of the Ferguson community would want the officer to dutifully fulfill his mandate on their behalf. So what choice did the officer have but to address Michael Brown?
So I can be absolutely certain that anyone who says Michael Brown’s race influenced the officer’s decision to address him…ANYONE….EVERYONE….is currently making an ill-informed assumption…a foolish assumption…an assumption that is fueling protesters and violence in Ferguson.
We must wait for the evidence.
Now there are those who would concede the officer had a mandate and a just cause for approaching Michael Brown, but they would argue that how the officer handled Michael Brown was influenced by race. These people contend that Michael Brown is only dead because he is black. The officer only pulled the trigger because Michael Brown is black.
Again, there is currently no evidence that this is a civil rights violation or in any way racially inspired. There is no evidence that the contrasting races of Michael Brown and the officer who shot him is anything more than a coincidence.
According to ALL accounts, there was noncompliance from Michael Brown and there was an altercation that ultimately ended in Brown’s death; however, no account offers race as anything more than a physically apparent variable…something you can see with your eyes. Are we to assume…and pre-judge…that because race is visually apparent, it is the chief concern?
Such assumptions are themselves rooted in ignorance, prejudice, and hatred of the basest sort…rooted in racism.
Are we to take up the mantle of racism, justified by the fall of Michael Brown, whom we see as one of our own…based solely on his skin color?
Is not the Officer also one of our own? Is he not also a member of our community? What if he had fallen, instead of Michael Brown? How would race fit in that scenario?
If a young black man commits a crime, we rightfully decry mention of his race as more than coincidence. Why in this case, in the absence of evidence, would we not do the same thing and rightfully decry mention of race as more than coincidence?
We cannot pick and choose when to be colorblind; when to be equals. Racism is evil, and if it is ever going to die, we must resist the temptation to revive it, even for our assumed benefit. If racism exists at the heart of Michael Brown’s death, it absolutely has no place at the heart of his defense.
If we shroud these events in the shadow of racism, we will NEVER know the truth, and in our ignorance, our response to this tragic event will be a wild, chaotic, destructive, and fruitless cry that brings further tragedy to our communities in the forms of distrust, anger, and violence. And just as such premature and misguided fury has already begun to further embroil Ferguson, so will it ravage the rest of our great nation.
I do not know Michael Brown, but under the circumstances, to assume anything about him…his guilt or his innocence…strictly because he’s black and the officer is white is to judge both men by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. A great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., died that we, as a unified nation of equals, might know and be better than that.
Until credible evidence suggests otherwise, the issue at hand in this case is whether the officer acted properly when he assessed an unarmed assailant to be a lethal threat warranting the lethal force that ultimately took that assailant’s life.
It is the officer’s duty and responsibility to make that call. As we gave the officer that authority in trust, and we gave it to him for a reason. We must afford the officer that same trust when he exercises that authority.
And while we do indeed trust the officer, it is our duty to review the officer’s conduct and verify that trust has not been misplaced. Michael Brown’s death is indeed cause for us to investigate and scrutinize; however, his death is not in and of itself evidence of the officer’s misconduct.
So, I urge genuine protesters in Ferguson to restrain themselves for the moment, and let due process, the heart of our nation’s judicial system, run its course. The evidence must be reviewed, and if misconduct is proven, there will be disciplinary and punitive action taken.
Do not waste your energy protesting ONLY on assumptions of guilt, accusations of impropriety, and the media fueled idea of a racist conspiracy against the black community. Use wisdom and patience, so that if your righteous fury must be unleashed, you can choose the right time, the right place, and the right cause. Such focused energy would be easily discernible and far more productive than the chaos of riots and looting going on in Ferguson right now.
As for the rioters, looters, and other criminal elements currently ravaging Ferguson: It is clear Michael Brown’s death is merely a veil behind which you hide your selfish and malicious intent to pillage and plunder the resources of that already shaken community. I implore would-be leaders of the Ferguson community to unequivocally discern and denounce such heinous and despicable activity.
 We need to make our first priority unity and order, especially in the community of Ferguson. I beg all upstanding and law-abiding members of the community of Ferguson to stand with the police, as I vow to you the police stand with you, and together you can repel the current criminal forces destroying any hope of peace or progress in your community.
Together with the police you can restore order and bring unity to your community; and if the officer who shot Michael Brown did so without cause, he will be held accountable. Regardless of the outcome, this is an opportunity for the community and the police department to grow closer, rather than further apart, but make no mistake you will have to choose which course to take.
This is not an issue of racism, it is an issue of community. If we want to move forward, we must keep our eye on the real issue and actively invest in community, here and now, when it’s toughest…when it’s needed most.
Thank you, and God bless the United States of America.”

What would have been so wrong with that message (besides the fact it would not work as a smarky or catchy Tweet)? It’s the actual truth.

It would have given a clear and productive direction to the community of Ferguson and it would have left the door open for the system to serve the black community. More accurately, it would have left the door open for the black community to recognize the system is not against them, even if one individual within the system might happen to be. Why wouldn't Obama want to do that?

Obama definitely hedged his political bets, and he has empowered the “victims” within the black community, but he has yet to step up and shed the racial cowardice and lies that attempt to disenfranchise the whole of black America. He has yet to embrace the true responsibility of the office of the President.

He has yet to lead.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Only One World

More importantly, I am troubled that as an officer of the law, based on the color of a woman's skin compared to his own, he can dismiss any professional or commonsense appreciation for her concern for her safety in the presence and proximity of a stranger.

As a black man with a white wife, I am troubled that my wife’s concern when passing a stranger would be dismissed and attributed to racism because that stranger happened to be black. Who cares that her husband, her children, her in-laws, and her friends are black; because the stranger was black, she is racist.

Black America has devolved past the white-America of the 60s. Black America not only judges others by their skin, we judge others by our skin.

Officer Sanders is dead wrong. He lives in only one world, but he has accepted the fabricated world in which racism lurks behind every corner, and he allows that world to shape his reality.

Black Americans decry “profiling” and stereotypes, yet have no issues when Barack Obama or Officer Sanders reveal their prejudices about whites. In fact, we champion those prejudices.

When it comes to young black men dressed and carrying themselves like thugs, hoodies hiding their faces, skulking around in shadows; we are shamed for “assuming” their appearance and actions accurately portray their character and intentions. When it comes to white women guarding their person in the presence of a black stranger; well the concern is obviously ONLY because he is black, and indicative of racism running rampant through ALL OF WHITE AMERICA. (Oh yeah, no profiling or discrimination there.)

I feel sorry for Officer Sanders that he has created the prison and imprisoned himself in it; however, I am outraged that he holds others accountable and spreads the lies and foundation for other black Americans to construct similar prisons for themselves.

I live in the exact same world Officer Sanders does, and I never notice store security following me, I never notice white women in fear of me, and I never fear the police shooting me, because I have no reason to.

For the purpose of making the point above, I highlighted that I am a black man with a white wife. Of course, neither I, my wife, nor our children see it that way. I am a man. She is a woman. We love each other. Period.

It is Officer Sanders, Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and countless others that just won’t let it be, and then they blame my wife, my family, my friends, my community, and my country and fellow countrymen.

Officer Sanders, you seem like a decent fellow, but if you don’t want to live in two worlds, you need to make the decision to cast one aside. If you’re having trouble deciding which world is real, let me give you a hint. If your skin color was the issue, the uniform wouldn't solve it.

Stop feeding the distrust. Stop building up that other world. Start giving people that which you so self-righteously claim as your just deserts: the benefit of the doubt.

Did you ever think the store security follows you because you obviously keep looking over your shoulder at them. Maybe the white woman on the street guards her purse, because she noticed you obviously looking at it.

A great man once said (and I paraphrase) the best way to end racism is to stop being racist.

I tried it, it works. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michael Brown's Tragic Proof

In light of the chaos ongoing in Ferguson, MO, I have to ask myself why, given the choice and responsibility to choose between an angry lynch mob and the justice system, alleged leaders in America sided first with the lynch mob.

Those alleged leaders fostered an environment in which justice could no longer survive under any circumstances.

Had the grand jury indicted Officer Wilson, the lynch mob would have been thus reinforced, believing its lawless, violent actions the key to newly won “justice.” What if that indictment did not yield a conviction? Likely the same outcome as when the grand jury "failed" to yield an indictment, the previously condoned and now inevitable lawless violence.

This is no longer about the death of Michael Brown, but about the death of American leadership.

Talking heads continue to lament how the justice system mishandled the situation, ignoring the fact that the justice system was prematurely judged “guilty” by not only the lynch mob, but also the alleged leaders of the community and even alleged leaders of the nation. Perfection itself would have been insufficient under the circumstances, had it failed to render the lynch mob’s demands.

What was to be lost by first calling the lynch mob to task for violence and lawlessness? Why was it necessary to reinforce unfounded accusations of a civil rights violation, before allowing the justice system to even try?

Alleged leaders effectively ruled out any chance the justice system might prevail. Why?

In destroying any chance the justice system could prevail, those same alleged leaders ensured their followers would never rely on the justice system and would never feel justice. This is most puzzling and horrifying when those same leaders parade a slogan of “no justice, no peace.”

These alleged leaders have made justice unrecognizable, unpalatable, and ultimately impossible, and by their own slogan’s admission, they have done the same for peace.

Michael Brown is dead, and while the situation is indeed tragic, that does not automatically imply that it was murder, or even criminal. Nor does his tragic death absolve him of the potential role he played in his own death. It is possible and plausible Officer Wilson’s actions were warranted.

Why are alleged leaders unable or unwilling to recognize and acknowledge these facts?

Unfortunately, the answer to both of our pertinent “whys” is closely related to why Michael Brown robbed the store, why Michael Brown disrespected the police officer and disobeyed lawful authority and direction, and why Michael Brown might have felt justified in all this to physically contest and assault an officer of the law and ignore that officer’s order to stand fast.

The alleged leaders in this entire situation have, as a rule among black communities, sewn distrust of the American system. Conveniently, that philosophy has reined in black support to anyone outside those same alleged leaders, but at what cost to the Michael Browns of America? The Michael Browns of America have been convinced that law and order in America is a conspiracy of oppression to be resisted and railed against.

Before Michael Brown’s blood was spilled, his alleged leaders had convinced him the justice system was corrupted beyond measure and should hold no sway in his life. Hence, Michael Brown would so vehemently reject an officer’s simple and rational instruction not to walk down the middle of the street; something a parent might naturally teach their child for safety’s sake.

Alleged leaders misled Michael Brown to his death.

Rather than instructing Michael Brown on how the system works, they fed him lies and conspiracies and imprisoned him in ignorance. Had those alleged leaders truly led Michael Brown, he might have known how to interact with an officer of the law. He might have prevented his own death, rather than contributing to it. He might have denied the system at least this one opportunity to prove itself; and what tragic proof.