What Tamir’s Denigration Means

What does a people say when a nation, its own nation, continually denigrates them and lets them know that their lives really do not matter?

There has been a grave travesty of justice – yet again – in the decision of the Grand Jury in Cuyahoga County to not indict the police officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice within two seconds of driving up on him as he played with a pellet gun.

How can any intelligent group of people not agree, not see, that those officers murdered a child?

People always want justice when they have been aggrieved; it is human to seek it. The parents and loved ones of the four people killed Ethan Couch,  a wealthy teen who was driving drunk, were outraged when he was given probation instead of jail time. Any parent would be so outraged.

Think of how you would feel if such injustice, such a decision to not demand accountability for awful crimes, were your norm.

It is the norm for black people in this nation.

It is not the norm when black people kill other black people; those criminals go to jail. But the criminals wearing badges get a free pass. They are almost never held accountable.

It is the norm for black people in this nation.

How can a people, masses of white people, not be incensed at America’s continued violation of the human and civil rights of black people? How can a people who say they are pro-life not care about the families which are being devastated by a justice system which is anything but just?

How can parents not feel the anguish of parents of killed loved ones, their children, who will never see justice rendered against the murderers of their children, because the system …protects…their murderers?

How can a nation not be incensed that officers who have a history of using excessive force, especially against black people, are allowed to stay on the streets? Aren’t they at least as despicable as priests who molest young children and who are allowed to stay in their parishes?

How can any person calling him or herself Christian not be pained to the core of his or her spirit, because the Scriptures, which demand justice and righteousness, are being ignored?

Do not say that we, black people, should trust the system. The system has never protected us, never had our best interests at heart.

We cannot trust the prosecutors, the judges or the juries. They are bedfellows with a largely white police force which knows it can get away with murder. Prosecutors need the support of police unions, so they do what the unions say do. Prosecutors, elected officials, also need to satisfy their base, which is largely white and Conservative, and no friends to black people.

Judges need support from powerful union interests as well. They are too often not interested in justice, but, instead, with satisfying those who pay their salaries and help them stay in office.

The result is a justice system which still lynches black people.

What was done by the Grand Jury in Tamir Rice’s case …was immoral, unjust, but typical of how American justice works for black people.

He was a kid, 12-years old, and he was shot to death within seconds of being driven up on by rabid police officers with no self control.

He was allowed to lay on the ground for a number of minutes, dying, while the police officers wrestled and handcuffed his 14-year old sister.

How can so many (not all) white people not be enraged? What if it had been your son? What would you feel? What does a people say when their own nation continually denigrates them and lets them know that their lives really do not matter?

Has America’s racism, its white supremacy, eroded your very souls, your capacity to feel?

It would seem so.

A candid observation …

Ferguson, Our Ferguson

From the beginning there was something very wrong with this case in Ferguson.

Immediately after Mike Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police department showed video of Brown stealing cigars from a convenience store. Even as his body lay on the hot pavement, dead,  the police showed more interest in protecting themselves and their officer than in anything else. They were going to jump in front of this, and make sure the American public knew that Brown was no saint.

That in and of itself is no surprise; there are no human saints, and teens more than other age groups are often rebellious, not interested in following any rules. Teens push the envelope as a matter of course, no matter his/her color or ethnicity.

But it was really important for the Ferguson Police Department to get that image and perception of Brown out, because it fed into white America’s belief that black people are criminals; if, then, Brown was shot and killed, everyone could see that the officer was justified. This was just another black thug.

As the protests and anger welled up in Americans across the country after hearing what witnesses said happened, the police in Ferguson stayed the course. Instead of talking to and with residents of Ferguson, at least pretending that they understood their angst, police dressed up like soldiers, putting on riot gear and using military weapons to protect themselves against the protesters. These people, the message was, are bad news. They are dangerous, out of control, angry for no reason.

It didn’t help that some of the protesters looted. That was fine with the police and the media, though. The looting fed into America’s image of who black people are and what black people do. The talk on the news was of violence, ironically but intentionally forfeiting discussion about the violence regularly meted out to black people by police – white and black.

Then, as we awaited the decision of the grand jury, all the media worried about was the threat of violence. They were worried about keeping the peace, not working for justice. There was nearly no empathy or concern shown for Brown’s family, and there was certainly no credence given to the people who protested daily – peacefully – on the streets in Ferguson.

A police officer on CNN yesterday said that the protesters were out there daily, “trying to kill the police.”


Now, the decision of the grand jury has been rendered, a grand jury which was made up of nine white people and three black. Their goal, it feels like, was to get that officer off the hook, which they did. It never felt, from the way the procedure was being reported, that the grand jury was interested in letting a family have reassurance that there would at least be an attempt  to obtain justice for the murder of their child.

Darren Wilson got on television and thanked everyone who supported him.

He never voiced an ounce of empathy or sympathy for the parents of Mike Brown.

I did read that, in his testimony to the grand jury, he said Mike Brown looked like a demon. I imagine that when he said that, that the people sitting on the grand jury listening shuddered, grabbing hold to their own images of and beliefs about, bad, black people.

What this whole situation has reinforced is the notion that black lives, black people, do not matter. I daresay that if the kid killed had been white, and the shooting officer black,  there would have been no grand jury. The officer most likely would have been arrested. That’s the way this nation works.

Black people all over this nation are angry, hurt …and discouraged. When will the lives of black people become as important as are the lives of white people?

Probably never. Not in this country.

A candid observation ….