Decoding racial tensions in United States
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
November 27, 2014
Updated: December 10, 2014
The 24 November 2014 "no indictment for officer Wilson" verdict arrived at by the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, in regard to the shooting and killing of the unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown and the subsequent 3rd December "no indictment" verdict by a grand jury in Staten Island, New York City, in favor of a white police officer in the New York Police Department (NYPD), Daniel Pantaleo, for the "chokehold death" of another unarmed, forty-six year-old African-American man, Eric Garner, speak massive volumes as to the omnipresence of racial tensions/distrust between the Black community and white police officers across the United States.
The stark racial reality is that of the 179 NYPD police officers involved in death by shooting, only 3 have been indicted. The NYPD banned the chokehold method of arrets in 1993.
As an overt corollary, to all intent and purposes, these shootings and killings seem to concur with the March 1857 US Supreme Court Dred Scott decision to the extent that Blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." Furthermore, what is ominously frightening is that these racial incidents/tensions are occurring on a regular basis coterminous with the anomalous election and re-election of America's first African-American (Black) president.
Indeed, one can juxtapose a direct correlation/nexus between the acerbic, albeit law suit threatening relationship, between President Barack Obama and the white Republican male members of Congress in regard to Executive Orders. Ipso facto, this is directly correlated, by extension, to the identical acerbic relationship between the Black community and white male police officers across the United States.
The salient reality is that apparently white male police officers are taking the cue from white male Republicans in Congress in regard to the treatment of an African-American male.
And this notwithstanding the political truism that President Ronald Reagan (1981-89) issued 381 Executive Orders, President George Bush, Sr. (1989-1993) issued 166, President George Bush, Jr. (2001-09) issued 291 Executive Orders, President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) issued 364 Executive Orders and now President Barack Obama, as of this writing, has only issued a miniscule 188 Executive Orders. What's wrong with this presidential picture?.
Indeed, the poignant question that immediately comes to the fore is: Are the white male Republicans in Congress saying and/or implying that it is acceptable for a white president to issue Executive Orders but for some strange reason, it is unacceptable for an African-American (Black) president to do the same? What's wrong with this presidential picture?
Moreover, it must pointed out that President Barack Obama has been publicly described as the "worst president since WW11"; ergo, real and/or imagined, white male police officers seem to be sending a subliminal signal/message to the Black community that this African-American (Black) president can't protect/defend them.
In this regard, it need occasion no great surprise that on 18 September 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder felt compelled to announce that he is "launching (a three-year) study on policing bias." He further elucidated that the Department of Justice has enlisted "a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five cities and to recommend ways to address the problem on a national level."
On the flip side, it is a sine qua non to recall the primary findings of the July 1967 presidential Kerner Commission in regard to racial tensions in the United States. The Commission found that the nation was "moving toward two societies, one Black, one White, separate and unequal."; the country faced "a system of Apartheid in its major cities." The Commission's report also delivered a stunning indictment to "White society" for "isolating and neglecting" African-Americans. Unfortunately and very regrettably, this racial chasm/divide has been expanding/widening exponentially ever since.
The fact of the matter is that African-Americans are just "sick and tired of being sick and tired" of seeing young Black men shot and killed on a routine basis and white male police officers continue to walk free. Indeed, now is the time for all Americans to judge each other based on "the content of their character and not by the color of their skin."
In the final analysis, all Americans need to heed the salient, but apocalyptic admonition of slain Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King as follows: "Now the judgement of God is upon us (24 November 2014) and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools."
The bottom-line is that Michael Brown did not get justice; he got just-dis.
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is Professor Emeritus, Department of Pan African Studies, Kent State University.
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