America’s State-Sponsored Terrorists…

Three days ago, Stephen Paddock murdered nearly 60 people, and injured over 500 more from his hotel room overlooking a crowd enjoying a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Obviously, my thoughts and condolences go out to all the victims, both wounded and killed, and those traumatized by this act of terrorism.

I’m not here to debate whether or not this massacre was part of a false flag operation or any other conspiracy theory.  Maybe we can save that for another post.

I only want to answer the question that continues to burn holes in my psyche.  Why don’t we call these mass shootings what they are: Terrorist attacks?

Americans devote so much time, attention, and resources to fighting crime and terrorism in the country.  When politicians talk about crime, they often talk about increasing police presence in “high crime areas” and tougher sentencing laws, which ALMOST ALWAYS include Black neighborhoods and other communities of color.  When the focus shifts to acts of terrorism, the spotlight almost exclusively shines on people of Middle Eastern descent, and on people who profess to be followers of Islam or an extreme interpretation of the religion.  The assumption is made that these groups of people are the biggest purveyors of crime and terrorism, so they demand more scrutiny.

However, when we talk about curbing mass shootings, all that logic and penchant toward hard-hitting, wallet-breaking action seems to go out of the window.

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Yesterday, Mother Jones magazine posted a detailed spreadsheet consisting of 92 instances of mass shootings committed in the United States since 1982.  You can sort the data to highlight such information as the number of killed and wounded, the type of guns used, and whether or not mental illness played a factor in the listed incidents.  Guess what other two categories are available to sift through?  Race and gender.

Of the 92 tragedies listed in the spreadsheet, 51 were perpetrated by White people.  And of those 51 tragedies, 50 of them were committed by White males.  15 were committed by Black males.  Let’s do some math:

Black Males – 15/92 = 0.163 = 16.3%
White Males – 50/92 = 0.543 = 54.3%

White males committed more than 50% of all the mass shootings compiled on this list!   And that’s only since 1982.  This list doesn’t include riots, lynchings, and other acts of terror committed against Black people during the Reconstruction Era or the Jim Crow/Segregation era, just to name a few time periods in our most recent history.

When we shoot and kill one another, everyone wants to talk about “Black-on-Black crime” as though it were some genetic phenomenon only inherent in Black DNA.  When a follower of Islam commits a crime against anyone else, everyone wants to blame Islam and condemn the entire religion as one of violence and hate.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of local, State, and federal laws, statutes, and codes regarding street gangs and Sharia law.

Why don’t White men get the same scrutiny as Black men?  Why don’t we scrutinize Christianity with the same vigor as we do Islam?  I mean, this is America, right?  Lady Justice is blindfolded purposefully in order to show objectiv………

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You’ve probably heard it a million times from those “extra pro-Black” folks that grab the mic and yell into it like it’s trying to talk over them.  They tell you that America isn’t for the Black Man.  They tell you that, no matter what you do, you’ll never get true justice, because you’re always going to be considered as someone not to be trusted, suspect, an enemy…A TERRORIST.

And who, in American history, has the most proven track record of spreading these lies, through both word and deed?

White men.

So why are we all considered dangerous and not them?  Because they run America.  And the laws they create will look out for them at the expense of nearly everyone else.  You don’t have to look any further than the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and almost every law written for over 150 years of this country’s history.

I mean, it only took White women OVER 130 YEARS TO GAIN VOTING RIGHTS!  So imagine where we fell in this line, assuming we were even allowed in it….

To many of us, that’s a “duhhhhh!” statement.  But you’d be surprised at the number of us who truly believe we finally have a fair shot to get anything in this country.  Before we, as a nation of Black people, can move forward with our own brand of progress, we have to collectively understand the extent to which we are still subjugated.

History shows us that justice isn’t guaranteed for us here, in its current mode of distribution.  This is why we’re continually hunted down by law enforcement and killed at disproportionately high rates, and if we’re lucky enough to survive the encounter, we’re more harshly sentenced and warehoused in prisons as opposed to our White counterparts.

I don’t believe we’ll ever completely stop the terrorism levied against us, physically, economically, religiously, or in any other form.  All I advocate is that we better prepare ourselves for it by working together to become a stronger family, through the pooling and sharing of our resources, our shared culture, and our will to survive.

I love you.  #BlessedBeTheGrind

5 Threats to The Black Man In America Part 5: Politics

The Declaration of Independence was unanimously signed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776.

On July 5th, 1776, you, Black Man in America, were still a slave.

On June 21st, 1788, New Hampshire became the 9th (and deciding) state to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America.

On June 22nd, 1788, you, Black Man in America, were still a slave.

The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1865 following the Civil War, outlawed slavery for all people EXCEPT convicted felons.  Three years later, the 14th Amendment guaranteed citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States.  The 15th Amendment ratified in 1870 grants voting rights to all people without respect to race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Of these three amendments, the 13th is the most important in terms of how America uses its laws to continue our oppression in other forms.  “Black Code” laws and variations of those laws legally upheld segregation and unequal treatment of Black people for decades.  It allowed for harsher prosecution of Black criminals, leading to disproportionately high conviction and incarceration rates, and providing over a century of data to support the “fact” that Blacks deserve the treatment they receive from law enforcement.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME WHEREOF THE PARTY SHALL HAVE BEEN DULY CONVICTED, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction…”

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(Picture source: http://solitarywatch.com/2011/07/28/gods-own-warden-inside-angola-prison/)

Keep in mind, from a federal standpoint, women still didn’t have the right to vote.  That didn’t come until the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920.  So only our men could vote.

Long story short: The cost of your freedom was NEARLY ALL OF YOUR FREEDOM.

The Constitution is the “supreme law of the land,” and no piece of legislation is allowed to stand in opposition to it.  All the legislations, statues, and lesser documents, including the ones that restricted our freedoms, were in agreement with this constitution. America’s history has shown, unequivocally that THESE LAWS ONLY CHANGE WHEN WHITE AMERICA FEELS THREATENED ECONOMICALLY.

Had Black people not rebelled through violence and escape from plantations, causing untold millions of dollars in damages to property (including themselves, because they were considered property), we’d probably still be slaves today.  Had Black people not been so economically prosperous during the latter half of the Jim Crow Era, to the point of organizing and sustaining targeted economic actions against legalized segregation, we’d still be drinking out of “Colored Only” water fountains and giving up front seats on public buses.

The reason American politics is a threat to the Black Man in America is because we, as a group, believe that it will cure our economic woes.  “Voting for the right politician will help us get out of our rut.”  “The next election is the most important election.”  And on the day after Election Day, we’re thrown on the backburner, left to wonder in amazement at how we got nothing out of the deal.

Wash.  Rinse.  Dry.  Fold.  Store.  Use.  Repeat.

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A big deal was made within the Black community about voting during 2016 election cycle.  Two candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Republican Donald Trump, fought for the presidency soon to be vacated by Barack Obama.  Neither of the two candidates were good choices for Black people.

Donald Trump…well, we know his history.  He touted it as a source of pride throughout the election with impunity.  Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was considered by many to be the more palatable choice.  As First Lady to former president Bill Clinton, she supported his 1994 Crime Bill, which drove already high rates of incarcerated Black people into the outer reaches of space.  She was also seen on video referring to gang members (read: Black people) as “superpredators” who needed to be brought to heel.

No remorse for her support of that crime bill or her own statements was shown until she needed our vote.  And Black folks FLOCKED to her as though she could do no wrong, the same we were fooled into thinking Bill Clinton was our first “black president” because he played the saxophone on “The Arsenio Show.”

“You have to vote!  Our ancestors died for your right to vote!”

You know what my ancestors DIDN’T DIE FOR?  Me to settle for mediocre and to just hope that someone will “be nice to us.”  Or to settle for “the lesser of two evils.”  I didn’t vote in this election for those reasons.

It’s one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Surely, progress has been made in the fight for social justice. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was the last major piece of federal legislation to make us, in theory, equal to the rest of America. In practice, however, America continues to do what it’s always done: find ways to skirt its own laws to keep the upper hand in its relationship with its Black citizens.

We have to stop looking to politics as our way up and out.  Given the history of how this country has treated us LEGALLY, I see no hope in relying SOLELY upon our vote.  In a nation where capital fuels politics, a broke person with the power to vote can only elect an official who’ll continue listening to the person with the money.

I love you.  #BlessedBeTheGrind

 

My Response to Retired officer Chris Amos’ Open Letter to Colin Kaepernick

(Click here if you have not yet read Officer Chris Amos’s open letter to Colin Kaepernick.)

Officer Amos, your service is truly appreciated.  From what I gathered in your letter, you were involved in a police-action shooting.  You were shot and wounded, and you responded by returning fire.  Unfortunately, a man died.  You were put on paid administrative leave and rehab, and returned to duty.  I’m glad you pulled through.  For that, I am thankful.

Now, let’s get down to business.  Your open letter to Colin Kaepernick DISGUSTS me.

Kaepernick’s protest specifically calls out police brutality.  His protest brings attention to officers who shoot and kill people UNJUSTLY and get away with it.  If you believe your actions were justified, why would you believe that he’s protesting you?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because he IS protesting you.  Your open letter, no matter how well-intentioned, is merely a written version of the response given for as long as America has existed: a response of deflection.

His protest, along with many patriotic Americans, doesn’t just call out the obviously corrupt officers.  He also points the finger at you and your fellow officers who say and do little to root them out.  You speak about all the good that the overwhelming majority of 800,000 officers do for us as though it should be enough to shut us up about the few that do bad.  You deflect attention away from the real issue: POLICE BRUTALITY.

What also disgusts me is how you “dig up” your friends who either died or commited suicide in the line of duty, in an attempt to shame him, and by extension all protesters, for showing and voicing their discontent.  Allow your fellow officers to rest in peace!  They died upholding the same laws of this country that you upheld.  Those laws, among other things, grant the right to protest.  You don’t get to pick and choose which rights you care to enforce.  Your personal feelings DO NOT MATTER.  Kaepernick could hate your guts, but if he’s within his rights to do so, you have no choice but to protect him.  Here also, you deflect attention away from the real issue: POLICE BRUTALITY.

To protest, by definition, is to express objection to someone or something.  There’s no acceptable or inoffensive way to engage in it.  Dismissing the REASON for a protest because you don’t like the METHOD is unacceptable.  Dismissing his protest because he’s rich and famous is unacceptable.  You don’t respond by relabeling the protest a larger problem than the one it seeks to address.  But you did just that, and in doing so, you again deflect attention away from the real issue: POLICE BRUTALITY.

You made it a clear point in your letter to let us know that an elderly black man assisted you in locating the criminals you were chasing.  His helping you and your partner DOES NOT JUSTIFY YOUR BELIEFS IN ANY WAY.  He was simply doing what all citizens of America are asked to do when crime happens: speak up.  If anything, he and Colin Kaepernick have more in common than you will ever have with either one of them.  Speaking up in a community where decades of mistrust demands that you don’t talk to police is a tough thing to do.  And apparently, so is speaking up about law enforcement not serving and protecting everyone equally.  In this regard, once again, you deflect attention away from the real issue: POLICE BRUTALITY.  (I’ll spare you, in the interest of time, my opinion of the history of America trotting out individual black people that, knowingly or unknowingly, cosign its agenda of racially-motivated politics, economics, and education.)

At some point we, as a nation, have to stop deflecting.  In the same way we call on other nations to own up to their mistakes, we must also own up to our own.  There’s no shame in that.  The shame comes when we deflect attention away from issues we need to address.  It’s paramount to defending bad behavior.

Sincerely,

Devin Wilson