In regards to comments flying around online and in the media about black people over the last few days, I must confess it does lead one to come up with one conclusion more than any other. And that is that as a nation America just doesn’t care that much about black people. Or put a different way, most people in America just don’t care about black people. There I said it. Someone had to. Im not the first and I certainly won’t be the last. People are saying it all over the country at the moment. At least those who are paying attention. And that’s the key to this whole thing: America cares so little about black people that not that many people are even discussing this issue. Most of the people who are are black. And that’s insane considering that not just one but two unarmed Americans were killed in cold blood by cops in the last 30 days.
Just compare the response to these last two murders of unarmed black men by police to almost anything else going on around the country or the world… Those are the last things anyone is thinking about. The american media and the people are talking about the protests in Ferguson Missouri more than they’re talking about the actual cause of the protests. It’s a nightly public spectacle akin to a circus, everybody tuning in each evening to see what those crazy people down in Missouri will do next.
American citizens murdered in plain view by police. Yet no one cares. Just imagine if Erik Gardner — strangled to death by four cops in New York City last month — would have been a WHITE husband and father trying to make ends meet… The response would have been catastrophically different. It would be front page news all over the world! “New York Police Strangle Unarmed Father of Five To Death!” But because he was black… That’s a different story entirely. The truth is that NO ONE EVEN KNOWS WHO ERIK GARDNER IS.
Remember Jon Bennett Ramsey? That cute little white beauty queen girl who went missing 20 years ago? The country went crazy! That drama and saga went on for decades and prompted countless fortunes for countless people, the media, the family, people writing books about it, TV specials, etc etc. Erik Gardner — strangled to death on the street like an animal by four cops live on a camera phone?!?! NOTHING. Except protests from the black community. It might as well not have happened.
I think it’s something that we just need to face about America. Black people are at best an endured leftover from days gone by… A former means to end but still around. Americans needed them, so they used them, and then when they no longer were allowed to use them as they needed, they set them free and said “alright we’re done with you. So go on and get out of here. But there’s no law that says that we have to CARE”.
And since the great Emancipation Proclamation that’s how it’s been. A very small freedom where they’ve had to fight and claw and struggle for every new right, law, liberty or privilege they’ve begrudgingly been given by the white powers that be. We must remember that the Civil Rights Act didn’t come with any law that said that America had to care. They just weren’t allowed to hang black people up on trees or beat them in the city streets or segregate them from society anymore.
Another way to look at America’s view of black people perhaps is as an unfortunate token that America tries to make the best of. Americans have very specific token roles they place black people into: here’re our token black comedians. Here’re our token black singers and musicians. Here are our token black athletes. (This is very Romanesque, the way that white America sits up on their bleachers and in their private boxes making large bets on and throwing wads of cash at these modern day gladiators as they perform for everyone down in the center of the ring…) And look here: we even have a token black president! Okay well he’s half black anyway. But still! Doesn’t that surely prove that we’ve overcome our bigotry and racist tendencies and can formally announce to the world the heralding of a new more evolved America where all men truly are equal?
But again it’s all for show. It’s a token. A trifle. Smoke and mirrors. Take a look at the actual statistics revolving around the average black American and the image looks completely different. It gets skewed and blurred from the token affection we appear to show for black people on the surface. The PRIMARY purpose of African American males in America today seems to be to fill up prisons in order to generate profits for the industrialized prison business. This is not to say that ALL black men MUST serve this purpose. It’s certainly not mandatory. And no one is saying or implying that. It’s just made very easy to imprison black men. So much so that the majority of people IN prison in America are black men. This of course leads to an all too predictable absence of men in the black communities all over America which leads to a whole host of problems waiting to happen long before they do. It becomes a circular problem that can never resolve.
Now if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re of the same mind and spirit of the kind of people who DO care about black people. Not because they’re black. But because they’re people. But we mustn’t let that compel us to believe that the rest of the country feels the same way we do. The majority of people, or better put, the majority of the people in power seem to put up with them more than care about them… America throws them a little assistance here and there in the form of welfare, food stamps, affirmative action and Medicaid. That seems to make everyone feel like “it’s all okay with the black people”; but their lives don’t seem to be valued the same way that other people’s are. If they were, we certainly wouldn’t be in a situation like this yet again, another young black boy killed in cold blood long before the prime of his life and a country at odds with itself wondering what the hell are we going to do now?
See, we have to begin to get real about this issue. The plain simple truth of this issue is this: both Gardner and Brown were unarmed, did not pose a threat, weren’t even doing anything wrong in fact, but were both murdered. In reality it doesn’t really matter who killed them. White or black. Nor does it matter too much that the alleged killers happened to be cops. What really matters is what we are going to do as a nation about these deaths — considering that it’s against the law to kill people.
It seems that every time a black person gets killed in America — especially if it’s by a white person — their life means a little less than if they were white. The law against murder doesn’t seem to apply if the person who was murdered is black. This may or may not be the case in reality. But this is certainly how it seems to the world. Trayvon Martin was just one example — a very public one — of this anomalous exception to the law; it showed clearly how little we value life in America if that life happens to be of color. The Trayvon case shocked the country. And the world looked on with horror. How the hell can they allow a man to get off Scott-free who freely admitted to shooting and killing an unarmed teenage boy? Oooohhhh, he was BLACK…. Oh okay, we get it. And that seems to be how it is in America today. Not much different than it was one-hundred years ago. Look at this way: as of this writing, the four police officers who strangled Erik Gardner to death in broad daylight were still going to work every day. This is by all accounts an insane reality. And no, there’s no way in hell this would be the case if Gardner had been a white girl, as opposed to a black male.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
A private little world for me… a private little world for you. The online musings and journal of recording artist Ed Hale. The Transcendence Diaries have been posting since 2001